Aidan and Gresham playing Angry Birds on Dad’s phone – a coveted privilege!
There are many issues to consider when it comes to electronic media (amount of time spent being entertained, etc.), but in this post I want to share with you one challenge that we have been dealing with at our house lately…
The Trouble with “Smarty Lines”
Our boys seem to have amazing memories. Maybe it’s my age, or the amount of things that my brain has to keep up with on a daily basis, but I just can’t remember things the way they do! It only takes one or two viewings of a movie for the boys to zero in on a few of the many “smarty lines” in the movie, memorize them, and recite them at the most opportune times such as the dinner table or even, heaven forbid, Sunday School. You know the ones… things like, “Get out of the way, you moron!” Humorous insults and name-calling are like magnets for little boy brains.
I am purposefully not going to mention any movies by name in this post, because I really feel like this is an issue of conscience. It’s an area in which you must prayerfully consider what your children’s hearts are drawn to and how you should shepherd them. I don’t think that it’s wrong to watch a movie in which the characters say things that don’t line up with Scripture. There are times when analyzing the actions and attitudes of movie characters can be very helpful. However, Jordan and I have made the decision to take three movies out of the boys’ rotation because of the “smarty lines” in them and how those lines have become a part of the everyday thoughts and conversations of our boys. I’m not sure when, if ever, we will get them out again.
Here are some verses to consider when it comes to family entertainment:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
“Let no unwholesome (literally, rotten) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Do the things your children watch make it easier or more difficult for them to obey these commands of Scripture?
We talked about this topic at the dinner table the other night. I asked the boys to think about what it is that makes it so fun to repeat the sassy things that movie characters say. Aidan (age 9) said, “It’s funny because they say the things that we really want to say, but we aren’t allowed to!” His statement told me a lot. When sin is made into sport on TV, how can they resist it?
“Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.”
“Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, But a man of understanding walks straight.”
A sarcastic comment or a stinging insult seems so satisfying in the moment. It is a “joy” to “him who lacks sense.” However, like all sin, the pleasure is for a moment and the consequences are lasting. Many of us can probably recall moments in our lives that someone hurt us with something they said. I don’t want my boys to walk in the path of foolishness! Ultimately, they need the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to convict them of sin and to give them hearts of obedience that love the Lord, but woe to me if I make it easier to view sin as a joy by feeding their minds with things that glorify a sharp tongue. Ephesians 6:4 commands us to bring up our children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord,” not the influence and instruction of the world!
Again, this is an issue of conscience because Scripture does not provide us with a list of approved movies and TV shows. We each need to look at the principles laid out in Scripture and then make decisions for our families. I will say, though, that we have found that older TV shows and movies are much more mild in general than the options that are around today. We have Netflix for our Wii, and that has been a good way to find decent options for the boys to watch.
Are “smarty lines” a problem for your children? Have you had trouble with this issue?
If you’re interested in the rest of the “Biblical Boyhood” series, you can find the posts here: