Missing Mayberry

children and postmodernism

We certainly don't live in Mayberry anymore, and for those of us who are missing the simpler times that television of the past portrayed, we are not alone. What has changed? Many television shows, video games, and even music today are based on killing, death, cruelty, insults, and destruction. In addition, even a quick glance at television today shows that the person who does the right thing and tries to live a Christian life is often the object of ridicule. Certainly very few heroes in media speak without using profanity. Missing are the family values of faith, loyalty, concern, and neighborliness.

Social media can also be a very negative place for children. Although social media can be a great way to keep in touch, bullying is a real possibility for connected children. Discussions about parties and events from which our child has been excluded can be quite painful.

Even if the media doesn't get everything right, parents can provide godly things for their children. In the past, the church was a vital part of daily life. What does your church have available for children to do? In addition to Sunday services, many offer sports, field trips, and camps. Does your church have Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action? If those opportunities are not a part of your church, perhaps you could help to get them started.

Children of the past spent time playing with other children. Do you have a safe backyard or local park? Your child and his friends would enjoy spending time there. When the outdoors is not an option, indoor play can be fun. I have memories of some very elaborate forts built in our den from chairs, couch cushions, and old sheets. Traditional toys like trucks, blocks, dolls, jump ropes, and balls give opportunity for children to interact and to develop their imaginations.

Help your child to be busy with positive activities.

Try these suggestions.

  1. Watch television together. If something objectionable comes up in the show, you can point out what is not appropriate right away.
  2. Limit television time. Try to say this in a positive way such as, which of these shows would you like to watch?
  3. Play Christian music in your home and car.
  4. Accompany your child to hear Christian artists when they are performing locally.
  5. Be involved in your child's choice of video games.
  6. Establish family nights featuring board games or field days with outdoor activities. These could expand to include your friends and neighborhood.
  7. Take advantage of your church’s programs that involve children.
  8. Carefully assess when your child should be permitted a cell phone and access to social media.
  9. Encourage and help your child become involved in projects to help others.
  10. Recognize that children do not have to be busy with a planned activity every minute. Just as adults enjoy some “me time,” children should also experience times for themselves.
  11. Take them back to Mayberry. Many of the television shows of the past are available through cable, for rent, and even through the public library.

Kay Rollings works with her Girls in Action group to help each girl develop Christian values.

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