I never intended to get controversial with this blog. I don't like confrontation or bad news. In fact, I rarely watch the news at all in effort to avoid the bad news that will inevitably be reported. It's not that I want to be ignorant or that I don't care. I care very much...it's just that things seem to be so bad out there that it's hard not to revisit the whole let's-scoop-up-the-kids-and-move-to-the country thing. Or to a cave. Maybe an underground shelter. You get the picture.
What I'm trying to say is that all too often I want so badly to shelter my children from all the bad stuff in the world, to avoid what's hard, what's messy, what's difficult to explain or even understand, that I lose sight of the very reason we are here. And for a short amount of time, I'm able to convince myself that this is okay. That I'm justified, because it's a dangerous world out there.
As a mom who is also a Christian, there is a constant battle in my heart. The battle between living in the world and being of the world. I've been looking hard at myself lately. Looking hard at our family of 5, and wondering if we are doing anything at all that is making any kind of difference, and I know in my heart that I am toeing the "in" line and failing miserably at avoiding the "of" line. So as much as I hate to admit it, I'm pretty sure that we look like any other family out there, chasing the American dream, with the only possible difference being that we might go to church more often than some people.
This revelation disturbs me.
*Warning: this is where things might start to get a bit sticky.*
Over the years, I've listened and observed (whether in person, through facebook comments, etc.) to some interesting conversations between moms. These conversations are about all kinds of things....play dates, snack foods, nap times, when to call the doctor, etc. Lots of helpful advice being passed around, leaving me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside because of the love that these moms were sharing.
Sometimes the topic would turn to television, which shows their kids were allowed to watch, which were not allowed, and it was almost always a given that SpongeBob would come up. And I would listen. And I would (by some God-given miracle) keep my mouth shut.
It really is remarkable when that happens. ;)
But I thought it was important to keep quiet for two reasons:
#1- It's none of my business what shows their kids watch, and we have plenty of rules about that in our house too. As my mom often says, "to each their own."
#2- I don't think SpongeBob is a problem. In fact....I think he's hilarious.
But because of reason #1 for keeping my mouth shut, I didn't speak out about reason #2. See my problem? (picture me cringing while I picture you reading this, waiting for the shocked expressions, gasps, etc.
It's okay....I can handle it....I think;)
Let me explain.
I've watched several episodes of this show, (so many, sadly, that I can quote it....and often do. Right now my kids think that's cool. They won't always.) and this is what I've seen: SpongeBob is kind to others, even when others are not kind to him. He's a hard worker, always showing up to work on time, and often staying late to get the job done. He's a loyal friend. He's creative and has an incredible imagination. He's funny, and really fun to hang out with. He has unending perseverance....I'm starting to wonder if the poor guy is ever going to get his boating license. But he never gives up. Ever. And if there ever is an episode where he finally does get his license, I'm pretty sure I'll be watching earnestly from the couch, tears in my eyes, celebrating right along with him. ;) Maybe you think I'm opening up a whole new can of crazy,
but I don't see anything bad about these things.
Are there "questionable" episodes of SpongeBob Squarepants? Maybe. We try to skip those. Do they say words like "stupid" and "shut up"? Yes. Are we allowed to use those words in our house? Nope. Or to clarify further, we don't call people stupid. We say things are stupid if necessary...because some things just are. ;) That's not the point. When I watch the show, I see a guy (sponge, whatever) going through life, doing the best he can. And I like to think that when our boys see SpongeBob being kind to someone who has been mean to him, that something is registering with them. And then the boys and I talk about how the mean guy acted, and why that's wrong. And how it is probably really hard for SpongeBob to be nice in return, but that is how we should be too. And you know what? I think they get it.
My goal with this post is not to convince you to let your kids watch SpongeBob. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me if they do or not. I just worry that if we're so concerned with shielding our children from everything that has the slightest bit of anything that could be bad or offensive in it that they're going to be so sheltered they won't know how to handle mean people, or disappointments, or anything else that's not sunny and happy. By no means does that mean I let them watch anything they want so we can make it a "life lesson." Age-appropriate television only. Just ask Harrison, who just turned 11 and spends way too much time begging us to let him watch a PG-13 movie.
"Ask us again when you're 13." We're lame like that. ;)
Where was I? Ah yes....the in, not of thing. My husband is a pastor at a church. Our kids go to Christian schools. Most of our friends are Christians. And while, of course, all of these things are good, great even, I can't help but wonder how we're ever going to help change the world, to be love and encouragement to those who don't know Christ, to point others to Him, if we never spend any time with those people. If we don't bust out of this comfortable, happy bubble where everything is easy. And if I'm not doing that, how in the world can I expect my kids to do it? And while I crave spending time with other Christian friends, to love on and encourage each other (we need that), I long to have a heart who craves spending time with people who think that maybe something is missing in their life, who hopefully see that Something in me.
I've spent time praying about all of this, and I feel God is telling me that's it's time for us to step out in faith a bit. Or a lot. To spend less time worrying about what we might see or hear or are exposing our kids to, and more time out there being light, and love, and encouragement. Protecting them the very best we can, keeping them safe, loved, but also teaching them to love others. The ones that aren't exactly loveable. To lead by example rather than follow what's wrong.
This isn't a new concept. We have example after example of this, with Jesus being the ultimate example.
I don't want to be looked at as judgey and narrow-minded. I don't want to come across as one who thinks I'm better, or holier, or more godly than somebody else. That's not my heart, but I cringe thinking about how I may look exactly like that. Not to the ones who know me well, but the ones who don't. Who just have watched from a distance.
So you may not think things have gotten controversial with this post. I agree....they haven't really. But they're about to. I'm being challenged daily about what I believe, and why I believe it.This heart is changing. I'm tired of looking around at the world and the way Christians are being portrayed (and sometimes, if not often, rightfully so) and I'm officially done. It's time for a change. A big one.
More to come.
PS~ Why is this post called "Yellow", you ask?
Yes, because SpongeBob is yellow...
but so are chickens,
and I'm tired of being one.