So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
Have you ever noticed how very observant young children are? They notice every tiny detail about you. They notice how you comb your hair, what you wear, how you do your nails and absolutely every little thing that you do and say. So – what a great opportunity (and responsibility) that brings to parents and teachers to help kids learn about the way to live in this world.
Children are bombarded every day by images of super heroes and other fantasy figures. During their early years, they’re working so hard on making sense of the difference between “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong” and “real” and “pretend”.
I had a conversation just yesterday with a four-year-old who is fascinated with Power Rangers. The conversation went something like this:
me – What does Red Ranger do?
child – He fights bad guys.
me – How do you know if someone is a bad guy?
child – Well, bad guys fight.
me – Power Rangers fight, so they’re bad guys?
child – (getting frustrated with my obvious ignorance) – (Sigh!) No … They fight bad guys!
me – Well, if fighting makes you a bad guy and Power Rangers fight, doesn’t that make them bad guys, too?
child – walks away, shaking his head.
It was a fun conversation – but it illustrates how confusing the world is for little kids. How can we help make things clearer for them?
Let’s start by going to the greatest reference book ever written- the Bible! Read and teach your kids about real heroes. Regale them with stories of Daniel and Moses, Noah and Jonah, Esther and Ruth. Read and talk about the incredible things that we know about the only real superheroes – God the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Explain that we know the stories in the Bible are real and true because the Bible is God’s own word.
Power Rangers, Spider Man and their cohorts are everywhere we turn, so you can’t ignore them. Kids are attracted to them because they are so powerful and can overcome obstacles in amazing ways. The very nature of childhood is feeling small and powerless, so superheroes are very appealing to them. Instead of avoiding the conversation, use fictional superheroes as a springboard for conversations about what is real and what is not real. Help the kids understand that those are imaginary characters, but family members are real. Friends are real. The natural world is real. And God is real.
Talk together about things that superheroes do. You might include questions like, How does the superhero solve problems? Do you think that is the best way to solve a problem? What would you do if you were that superhero? What are some peaceful and kind ways that people can solve problems in real life? What does the Bible tell us to do when we have a problem?
Have fun with the conversation and remember that it takes a lot of time and repetition for new ideas to take hold and grow. Just be calm, patient and stay in the conversation. It will be worth it in the long run and you will have the joy of knowing that when you lead your child to Christ, you are giving him a real Hero he can look up to, admire, worship and love for the rest of his life.