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Hermie to the Rescue! A Great Alternative to TV Cartoons

My Friend Debbie_Hermie      For many of us parents, it is difficult to keep tabs on what our children are watching on television. While I try my best not to employ the TV as a babysitter, there are those times in the day when I need a few moments to myself in order to accomplish a household task or two. During these times, I have tried to set guidelines for what programs are "decent" and do not contain a lot of violence. I am amazed at how many cartoons today are filled with fighting and gunplay. Another stipulation I have for children's programs in my home was given to me by our family pediatrician. She warned us against the growing numbers of ADD and ADHD in children being linked with the way in which cartoons are "filmed." Because the scene changes picture angles every two to three seconds, it causes your child's mind to be wired in a similar manner, making it hard for him or her to maintain a steady thought without rapidly changing tracks. She recommended shows like Dora the Explorer and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood as being easy to follow and good for keeping a logical train of thought.

     These two major guidelines, however, (no violence and a steady thought process) did not filter out one of the most significant intruders to my son's mind . . . negative content. I had to ask, "What was a show teaching my son?" It wasn't until I had the following conversation with my son, Jeffrey, that I realized how important it was for me to know what the shows were about.

(Keep in mind my son was just about to turn four years old.)

Jeffrey: "Hey Mommy. I just learned how to spell a new word."

Me: "Oh yeah, Buddy. What is it?"

Jeffrey: "P-O-O-P"! (and yes, he knew what it said).

Me: "Wow! Who taught you that son?"

Jeffrey: "Sponge Bob!"

     Ok, so not a big deal right? It was slightly cute at the time but highly embarrassing when he spelled it in public. I can only imagine the internal reaction of the other mothers in the Sears checkout line as these four letters came bursting out of my son's sweet little mouth. It was then that I added rule number three for television viewing: All shows must contain age-appropriate content and build positive character in my children. With the addition of this new rule, I quickly found out that our options for children's shows were very limited.

My Friend Debbie_Hermie     The answer to our little dilemma came in the form of a gift that Jeffrey received at his fourth birthday party. My cousin, a fellow Christian woman and home schooling mother, brought my son a video entitled Hermie & Friends: Webster, The Scaredy Spider. (The Hermie and Friends series is produced by Max Lucado and is available in Christian book stores). One day while doing some laundry, I unwrapped the video and put it in the DVD player for my son to watch. He was mesmerized. As I walked in and out of the living room, I heard sound bites from the cartoon and I was so thankful for what I heard. At one point in the movie, the characters (who are all bugs) raise their voices to pray to God about being scared. The "voice of God" answers them, calling each creature by name and says to them, "If I am for you, who can be against you? I am with you all the time, even when you are afraid!" YES! This is what I want my children to be exposed to: the working and active God that cares even about the worries of little bugs in a garden. I sat down next to Jeffrey as he watched the rest of the movie. We even spent some time talking about how God listens to him when he prays.

     When the boys went to sleep that night, I spent some time online investigating the Max Lucado series for kids and found a number of Hermie movies, each dealing with a different topic, including: Being Truthful, Following the Rules, "Bee-Having," Friendship, and Prayer. My husband and I discussed purchasing the entire series and knew it would be a wise investment in the development of our son's spiritual life. So, needless to say, Jeffrey opened up a lot of Hermie movies on Christmas morning, which was just one month later.

     It is very important that we not only guard our own hearts as to the things we allow into our minds and homes, but we must also guard our children's hearts as well. I am so thankful that the Hermie and Friends series is available to families who are concerned about what comes across on their television sets. I highly recommend this series to all families with young children. I know that I will see the benefits of these teachings in my children for years to come.


Copyright © 2008-2015 Carrie Neely

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