Enough of those nice blog posts. Let’s talk about something controversial today.
I know you might disagree with me, and that’s OK.
Since I was a teacher before I became a stay-at-home mom, I really believe that reading is important, and that it’s important to surround my children with, among other things, a variety of good books from which they can learn, and which they can enjoy.
Mr. Monkey is at that in-between stage where he is past the baby board books, but not quite ready for paper books with full stories. He recently received these books for his birthday: Little Blue Truck, and the much loved classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We really enjoy reading these because they are still board books, yet they have more of a story line to them, than just pictures with words together.
Anyways, I have a couple boxes downstairs where I’m collecting books for Mr.Monkey as he gets older. Since we want to homeschool, I want to make sure that he has plenty of reading material here at home. So, when I’m at thrift stores, garage sales, and such, I like to look through the childrens books and pick out some good ones.
Since my husband and I are believers in Yeshua (Jesus), one of our most important goals in life is to raise children that will follow God’s ways, and not the ways of the world. For that reason, we want to make careful choices about what kind of entertainment and literature we enjoy, and allow our children to enjoy.
We have to be careful. Some children’s books are innocent and fun, and some teach them good moral lessons. Others teach about nature or science, and yet others have an agenda behind them which is not aligned with God’s word.
Some obvious choices of books we don’t allow into our home are books about the occult. We are children of light, and not of darkness, therefor, books about ghosts, witches or vampires are obviously out of the picture. I also don’t like books that portray disobedience to parents as something that’s OK, and books which show parents as being dumb and out of the loop, while the kids are smart and witty. We have enough trouble with rebellion in this world. I want my children to read stories that strengthen their faith and build their character. See the fifth commandment.
This brings me to my problem with Rubert Munsch. I know that it may upset some people, as he is a dearly beloved children’s author. And I get it. I grew up public schooled and read or heard many of Munsch’s stories. I enjoyed them as a child. They’re funny. But, as I grew older, I realised more and more a common theme among his books that wasn’t so Godly. I found that a lot of his stories are in essence about children who are disobedient and get away with it. The disobedience isn’t even portrayed as something wrong, but as something funny, or even normal. It might not seem a big deal, but I believe that we have to be extremely vigilant about what we allow to influence our children’s minds. Obedience to parents is one of the Ten Commandments. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul even warns us that in the latter times, disobedience to parents will be common, along with other sins. It’s not really a laughing matter. It’s not something I want to encourage, or present as normal and acceptable.
Here are just a few of Robert Munsch’s stories where disobedience is presented as acceptable:
Mortimer: A little boy is told to go to bed. He makes lots of noise in his room. His parents tell him to be quiet. He makes more noise. His parents find more impactful ways of telling him to be quiet. He keeps increasing his noise. (Um, I don’t want my kids to be like that when they go to bed…)
Up, up, Down: A little girl gets into various climbing mishaps. She is told by her mom not to climb. She doesn’t listen and her parents end up looking stupid.
The Snowsuit: A little boy willfully refuses to be dressed in his snowsuit. His disobedience is portrayed as funny.
Purple, Green, and Yellow: A little girl disobeys her mother by colouring on herself with permanent marker.
There’s really a lot more, and I’m not going to make a long list, but you get the idea. Now, I know that children are naturally inclined to have their own way, and every child is disobedient at times. However, it’s the concept of teaching that disobedience is OK, or that it’s acceptable, not big deal, or even funny, that I dislike. We want to instill in our children the concept that our actions, whether good or bad, have real consequences. Sin (disobedience to God) has consequences. While we as parents want to emulate God by being loving and merciful, we also want to teach them to be upright and to make good choices.