Can Your Kids Hear the Gospel?

As long as there is media, there will always be a debate about how it affects our children. Regardless of your position, there will always be data to support your view. The American Academy of Pediatrics just recently released a position statement regarding a recommendation for restricting TV viewing for children under 2 years of age. In an additional study released last month, researchers found that 4 year olds were much less likely to maintain self control and complete functional tests after watching Spongebob Squarepants compared to those who watched slower paced educational shows.

I’ve got four kids under the age of twelve, and two of them fall within the target ages of these studies. So, when I see info like this, I pay attention. Also, I consider our family “plugged-in”. Within the study, it was noted the average home has 10 media screens. I counted 7 in our home including the computer and personal electronic devices. It is obvious that kids learn differently in our technological age, but the essential question hinges on whether different is better.

My kids like watching Spongebob and my 5 year old watches along with the older kids on occasion. I must admit I have noticed a general change in behavior in my kids after they watch the show. It is not unlike how I expect to fall asleep after watching a suspenseful movie. They are “juiced” for a lack of a better term. The studies seem to focus on the intense pace of modern popular cartoon shows. It appears that the specific content is not necessarily the issue.

My main concern here is the cycle with which our culture typically patterns it’s educational emphasis after popular entertainment. Are we simply observing the quintessential evolution of the next generation or are we “dumbing down” our kids? The really difficult thing about problems such as this is finding a foundation for comparison. We tend to think all previous experience and wisdom doesn’t apply as the circumstances are always changing. Kids are just different these days, right? They are used to the constant stimuli, right? They learn better when they aren’t bored, right? Well, maybe not.

Can God’s word give us direction in matters like this? Do you feel the gospel is a foundation in weighing out the balance of things like your child’s education, media exposure, and discipline? Let’s position it this way; what better reflects the environment through which God speaks to his people throughout the story of the Bible? A flurry of images and sensations with a multitude of megaphone level sounds or a still small voice that whispers to an undistracted heart and mind? Do we really think we can raise a child on red bull and expect they will simply develop a taste for a warm cup of tea?

I am beginning to think maybe we are misguided in our concern that our kids will not be able understand the gospel. We should be concerned whether they will actually be able to stop long enough to hear it. I can’t help but think back to the story of The Polar Express where only the children who believe in the spirit of Christmas can hear the jingle of the sleigh bell. I want the gospel to ring in the hearts of my kids for a lifetime because they have been taught how to watch for it, where to look, what it sounds like and how to wait for it.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

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