Secretsofmommyhood

Using Television Shows to Teach Our Children Valuable Life Lessons

Posted on: May 24, 2017

 

I recently posted about children’s programs that I love. But for as many shows that I love, there are an equal amount I dislike and do not want my children watching.

Some shows we just don’t watch at all for a variety of reasons. But then there are those shows that we start watching that seem innocent enough, but suddenly turn into something I don’t want my children to see. As a parent I have a choice to either ban these middle of the road shows or use them to teach my children right from wrong. I’ve chosen the latter.

Recently, we began watching the new Netflix Original show, Spirit. Spirit follows the story of a young girl named Lucky who moves from the big city to the West with her father and aunt. In the process, Lucky adopts a horse named Spirit and has a variety of adventures with Spirit and her new friends. Innocent enough. In fact, it’s actually a pretty cute show. However, episode 5 caught my attention pretty quickly when I realized what was happening.

In episode 5, Lucky wants to help her friend Turo find a horse of his own. Turo decides he wants a horse that belongs to a man they dislike. So one night, Lucky sneaks out of her house (using the old tie the bed sheets together and put them out the window trick), meets Turo, steals the horse, then sneaks back into her house. She then proceeds to lie to her father and aunt about the incident when the man she stole the horse from comes to her house to tell Lucky’s father what has happened. So here we have a young girl who has just snuck out of her house, stolen something, and lied about it. Three actions I most definitely do not want my children to emulate.

After the episode ended I took the time to sit down with my six year old and talk about what he saw. Here’s what I did:

 

I Asked Him What He Thought Lucky Did Wrong

The first thing we need to address in these situations, is the wrong doing; the sin. We should give our children the chance to recognize the incorrect action. See if they can determine right from wrong for themselves, instead of just handing the answer to them on a silver platter. When I asked Giovanni what three things Lucky did that she shouldn’t have, he was pretty quick to point out that Lucky had stolen a horse and snuck out of the house. When I added that Lucky lied, he acknowledged that as well.

 

We Discussed Why These Actions Were Wrong

Giovanni knew what Lucky did was wrong. He was able to tell me that it’s not ok to lie to his parents (or, at all, for that matter) and to steal. We talked about how lying and stealing are both in the Ten Commandments and are sins. Giovanni told me that when we do those things it makes God sad. I also pointed out to him that besides these actions being a sin, they also cause hurt to those around us. When Lucky made the decision to sneak out, steal a horse, and lie about it, she hurt her family and the man she stole from. Every action has a consequence. Our children must learn that each decision they make will have consequences that follow.

I Asked My Son What Lucky Should Have Done Instead

Here is where our children can exercise their little brains. When we ask them what should have been done, it gives them a chance to really determine what is right from wrong. They are able to think about what they could do in that situation; they can determine how to make a good decision instead of a bad one. If we just tell them ourselves, that does them no good. Children need to be able to figure things out on their own so they can learn from mistakes others make and from their own mistakes.

 

I could have easily turned Spirit off and said we wouldn’t be watching it anymore, with no explanation. But, turning it into a lesson is far more valuable for my children. As parents, we need to use situations like these and turn them into teachable moments. Each time we do, it will give our children the opportunity to recognize right from wrong and allows them to learn how to make good decisions in life. And that’s what we want, isn’t it? For our children to make wise decisions and learn to follow God’s will for their life and not sin.

 

Do you use television shows (or something similar) to teach your children? How so? Share in the comments!

 

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