Friday, June 6, 2014

Family Friendly Viewing

When it comes to entertainment for our kids, there are a plethora of choices. I'd say that most American's lives revolve around some form of entertainment.  It's a difficult era we're living in with a strong undertow. But I don't want entertainment to take up any more room in our lives than it has to.

Interestingly, the word "entertain(ed)" is found only twice in the Bible - and it's in the same verse.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  - Hebrews 13:2  

Young children are very absorbent learners, particularly through imagery. Perhaps due to their limits of language, their visual sense is heightened?

It would follow that media - movies and television mostly - are tremendously influential.  When mine were under 5 years old, my goal was to minimize TV and movies as much as humanly possible.  As my kids have grown, my husband and I have constantly reviewed and adapted our viewing choices and searched for appropriate ones for their maturity and development.

Babysitting with TV

There were times when we used wholesome programming to babysit a toddler. But not very often. Whenever possible, I used a play pen for my babies and toddlers. That way they were safely contained while I showered, etc.  Along with patience, my kids learned to occupy themselves contentedly.

As my kids grew a little older, I tried to sit with them during any programs we did watch, and I regularly fast forwarded any parts I found inappropriate. We didn't watch the popular shows like Sesame Street. That one in particular I found to be absolutely laden with a politically correct agenda. We did like most of the Mister Roger's Neighborhood shows and several of the Saturday morning kids shows on TBN.

As they got too big for a playpen, I transferred the same idea to the floor. I set them up with something to do and we would practice quiet play times during the day. If you've never taught your kids how to be content and self-occupied, just start slowly and build up their skills in it. At first just make a goal for them to occupy themselves (blocks, crayons, legos, baby dolls, etc) for 5 minutes. Slowly build up to 10, then 20, then 30 and more if necessary. They will be learning a very valuable and important skill that will come in extremely handy in the future.

Husbands and TV

Many husbands like to watch tv when they get home from work so we can't always prevent unwanted exposure to TV viewing. But the evening represents only a small portion of a child's day. To combat that, a wife has a few options at her disposal.

1. Plan to have dinner ready when he gets home and enjoy your meal at the table.
2. Keep the tv off all day so the little bit in the evening won't represent too much.

Old Movies

My husband and I have always enjoyed good old movies, most of them black and white. So our kids have grown up with them. When our kids were younger, any romantic innuendoes went right over their heads. But as they grew older, we either monitored those sections by muting and/or skipping.  Or we just put them on the "when you're a little older" list.

Now that our children are in their mid and late teens and understand a wider range of concepts, we all enjoy them together and any unsavory portions are held up as the bad examples they are. (In older movies cigarette/cigar smoking Sometimes drinking, drunkenness, kissing outside of marriage are our most frequent objections. We still usually skip over these scenes because they're not appropriate at any age.

So without further ado, here is a list of some TV shows and movies we have enjoyed, categorized for the various ages and stages. If you have Netflix, you have some good documentaries and a wider array of family friendly options at your disposal.

Ages 0-5
Very informative science videos in humorous family settings.
  • Mister Rogers Neighborhood 
  • Veggie Tales (selected titles)
  • Gospel Bill, Davey & Goliath, Faithville, and others (TBN Saturday Mornings)
  • Documentaries (Beavers, for example)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Milo & Otis (still one of my all time favorites)
  • Newtons Workshop (Moody Bible Series videos)
  • Fascinating IMAX documentary 
  • ML Baseball and NFL football games 
Ages 5-10
  • Moody Science Videos (set of 19)
  • Newton's Workshop Vidios
  • The Fox & the Hound
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Bambi
  • Fun & Fancy Free
  • Make Mine Music
  • Melody Time
  • Lambert the Sheepish Lion
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (skip kissing scenes)
  • Toy Story
  • The Tigger Movie
  • Heffalumps
  • Finding Nemo
  • Aristocats
  • Pollyanna
  • Lady & the Tramp
  • Old Yeller
  • The Yearling
  • Flicka (the original)

Ages 10 -14
  • Moody Science Videos (these are great for all ages)
  • Newton's Workshop (Moody)
  • I Love Lucy (selected episodes)
  • The Andy Griffith Show (only selected episodes)
  • The Donna Reed Show (wholesome family series - my absolute favorite!)
  • My Three Sons (Season 1 & 2, selected episodes)
  • Roy Rogers Westerns
  • Flicka (original 1940's version)
  • Original MGM Tom & Jerry cartoons
  • Wallace and Grommet
  • Lassie (original movie)
  • Lassie Come Home (Elizabeth Taylor)
  • Hills of Home (wonderful original Lassie movie)
  • Toy Story 1, 2 & 3
  • Planes
  • Cars 2
  • Flywheel (14 yrs)
  • Facing the Giants (14 yrs)
  • Davy Crockett
  • Runners From Ravenshead
  • Follow Me Boys (Fred MacMurray)
  • The Million Dollar Duck (Dean Jones)
  • The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit (Dean Jones)
  • The Ugly Dachshund (Dean Jones)
  • MGM Classic Tom & Jerry Cartoons
    (We introduced these around age 14
    which may seem late to some. But I
    didn't want the violence and snide
    humor influencing my children's
    character until they were more mature.)
  • The Spirit of St Louis (historical, James Stewart)
  • National Velvet (Mickey Rooney, Elizabether Taylor)
  • Donna Reed inspires me in homemaking
    as well as being a good wife and mother.  

14 -17 
At this age, entertainment choices get a little more tricky. We have tried to pay careful attention to what our kids could handle. And I used every opportunity I could without seeming overbearing to inject a little lesson here and there. 

These are silly and might not be everyone's cup of tea.
But we have found them mostly wholesome, hilarious
 family entertainment. "Come 'an Get It!" (tag line from Ma). 
Westens are sometimes violent (old-movie-style) but boys love them.
They usually carry some a strong moral message.
  • Ma & Pa Kettle movies
  • The Honeymooners (just plain funny)
  • Born Free
  • Looney Tunes Platinum Collection (mostly appropriate for 15 yrs old and up, imo)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (James Stewart)
  • Sullivan's Travels (Joel McCrae)
  • Cheaper by the Dozen (original version with Myrna Loy)
  • The Happiest Millionaire (Fred MacMurray)
  • Now You See Him, Now You Don't (Kurt Russell)
  • Little Women (Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson)
  • The Glenn Miller Story (James Stewart, June Allyson)
  • You Can't Take It With You (Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore)
  • It's a Wonderful Life (James Stewart)
  • Pardon My Past (Fred MacMurray)
  • The Absent Minded Professor (Fred MacMurray)
  • The Stratton Story (James Stewart) 
The following movie titles are some of my husband and my favorite movies. And with parental discretion, they can be good choices for teens. They are also useful for a glimpse into a little history and a bygone era. I consider these  the 'cream of the crop' of old movies.

  • Sergeant York (true story, Gary Cooper)
  • The Talk of the Town (Cary Grant, Jean Arthur) 
  • Destination Tokyo (Cary Grant)
  • Father Goose (Cary Grant)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (Henry Fonda)
  • Holiday (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn)
  • Pat and Mike (Tracy & Hepburn)
  • The Court Jester (Danny Kaye)
  • George Washington Slept Here (Jack Benny, Ann Sheridan)
  • I Remember Mama (Irene Dunne)
  • Pride of the Yankees (Gary Cooper)
  • If You Could Only Cook (Jean Arthur)
  • Meet John Doe (Gary Cooper)
  • I Love You Again (William Powell, Myrna Loy)
  • I Was a Male Warbride (Cary Grant, Ann Sullivan)
  • Listen Darling (Judy Garland)
  • Every Girl Should Be Married (Cary Grant, Betsy Drake)
  • Bringing Up Baby (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart)
  • Too Many Husbands (Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (James Stewart)
  • Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson)
  • Father of the Bride (Original version with Spencer Tracy)
  • Father's Little Dividend (sequel; original version with Spencer Tracy)
  • The Devil and Miss Jones (Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, Charles Coburn)
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (Cary Grant, Myrna Loy)
  • My Favorite Wife (Cary Grant, Irene Dunne)
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Greer Garson)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth)
  • Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn)
  • 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (Howard Keel, Jane Powell)
  • Summer Magic (Haley Mills)
  • Parent Trap (new & original versions)
  • The White Cliffs of Dover (Irene Dunne)
  • My Man Godfrey (William Powell, Carole Lombard)
  • It Happened One Night (Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert) 
  • Cheaper By the Dozen (Myrna Loy, Clifton Webb)
  • Life With Father (Irene Dunne, William Powell, Elizabeth Taylor)

One of the things my family appreciates about old movies and tv shows is the greater discretion that was employed in delicate subject areas. Plus, modest dress and respect were far more common.

When we watch old movies with our children, we point out how nice the men and women dressed and how common good manners, wisdom and intelligence were. We also draw their attention to any virtuous or historical points. Many of the lines from these films/shows have become funny catchphrases in our home, which bonds us even closer together. 

TV and movies aren't going anywhere and unless we lived in a hut somewhere, I haven't found it feasible to eliminate them altogether.

In our family, modern sitcoms and tv dramas are not an option because of their totally anti-God agendas. They are dishonoring to God and increasingly profane and blasphemous. And most if not all of them have relentless liberal agendas.  We don't watch reality shows either (other than the Duggar show when we had cable, which we don't anymore) since they only represent ungodly people trying to make sense of life without God - a lesson in futility, not to mention an impossibility. That leaves some news, an occasional game show (Wheel or Jeopardy) and travel and cooking shows on Create TV which are entertaining and educational.

My prayer is that when our kids are grown and on their own, even if they try out some of the newer stuff, they will quickly see it for what it is - sinful and blasphemous - and uphold the conservative standards we have taught them. Maybe even supersede them! What a blessing that would be!

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into our favorite family friendly viewing choices. If you care to share, I'd love to hear about any good family viewing you've come across!


Anonymous said...

This is so great!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I haven't watched many of these and am eager to watch them now knowing they are good to be in the home! My children will also thank you :)

Alyson said...

Love the Donna Reed show! This is such a great list. Maybe you could write a series of books you and your family have enjoyed over the years similar to this post. I am new to homeschooling and feel like every time I pick up a book for the children I find something challenging to Christian beliefs. Just a thought :)

How to Get Rid of Anxiety

Have you noticed how much we're hearing about anxiety lately?  Soooo many people are expressing their battle with anxiety. I do not want...