A father, concerned about the influence that TV had on his children, sat down one night to watch a western with his children. It happened that the movie featured a lot of drinking in the town saloon, and the father felt compelled to call a “family meeting” afterward. He explained the many negative aspects of drinking and how he never wanted his children to ever start something so bad.
Later that week, the father’s 6-year-old son drew a picture of a cowboy entering a saloon. Noticing the concern on his daddy’s face about what he had drawn, the little boy quickly piped up, “Don’t worry, Daddy. He’s not going in to drink. He’s going in to shoot someone!”
It is certainly true that there is a lot of programming on TV about which we all need to be concerned. My wife and I are constantly trying to pick out good, clean shows for our family to watch. Most of the time we are successful. Sometimes we are not. However, there is not a show on TV that our family watches of which we are not aware and do not approve first.
Why so much concern? Simple. Children learn from the things by which they are surrounded. Surround them with love, and they will learn love. Surround them with hate, and they will learn hate. Surround them with the TV, and they will learn the values displayed on TV. For those who are unaware of the current values depicted on TV, they include explicit sex, graphic violence, cursing, drinking, and a general lack of respect for anything that is good and decent. Do you really want your children exposed to this kind of influence?
Let me offer three tips toward healthier television viewing. First, take the time to know what your kids are watching. It is really not that difficult or time-consuming, and it creates great quality time with your children.
Second, limit the amount of TV that your children watch (this can go for cell phone use and video games, as well!). TV can be an excellent source of education and entertainment, but it should not be the only one. Introduce your children to the real world around them instead of only the make-believe world on the television.
Third, and most importantly, teach your children to decide what they should watch based upon an understanding of the good, moral values that come from God. Look to the Bible to help you know what is good so that you can pass this same goodness on to your children. One day, your children will be grown, and when they are, the decision about what they will watch will no longer be yours but theirs.
Proverb 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” In other words, help your kids to know and do what is right while they are young, and when they become adults, they will hold onto the training they received as a child. Surround your children with God’s love, and they will learn how to love...and live.
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