Ah, the Power of (the right) Cartoons

Our family has traveled a lot by car this summer, from the mountains of Georgia to the mountains of Maryland to our nation’s capital and Baltimore and home again. We have also driven around our little part of Georgia, taking day trips to beautiful sights and to see my parents. We have some more long drives planned as well (to Little Monkey’s doctor’s appointment-2 hrs. one way and to Santaland for Little Man’s birthday-1 hr. one way and who knows what else). And we have two little boys…who can’t read yet and one who can’t really talk yet. Thank the Lord, for the men and women who invented DVD players and put them in minivans! This amazing convenience makes travel with small children much easier (and I’m sure they will continue to enjoy it as they grow). We put on their little headphones and they are happy and we are happy. The question has always been…what to show them?

At home, there are a few great stations on satellite that they enjoy, NickJr, KTV, Disney Playhouse. But on the road, it is more challenging. We have your typical cadre of Disney movies and various cartoons. And Little Man enjoyed them all. Some of his favorites were Bolt, How to Train Your Dragon, and Robin Hood.  Enter my Little Man’s issues with boundaries and doing what is right (ie not trying to act out everything he saw on unsuspecting people). After one particularly concerning incident, we decided to take action. We removed all PG movies from our everyday movie collection (because they tend to have fighting and things that really need to be explained to a 4 year old) and any toy that could be used as a fighting toy. There was some drama. We then had some serious talks about boundaries and doing what was right. And I said some serious prayers.

Enter VeggieTales. They are amazing! This crazy bunch of vegetables tells stories from the Bible and teaches character lessons. The overall message is that “God made you special and loves you very much.” Admittedly, I knew about VeggieTales when they came out in the mid-90s, but I was too old as was my younger sister to get sucked in to the world of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure they were still making them. And so we introduced a few VeggieTales videos from Netflix. It was an instant hit, with both boys. One of the words that Little Monkey says well is Bob. He knows when he wants his VeggieTales and how to get them. In April, VeggieTales was in concert at a local theatre. As a treat, I took Little Man and he loved it. (Partly because he got to eat some yummy fruit chews during the show, but hey, I’ll take it.) We left with a Bob watch and 4 more videos. And the boys love to watch them, at home, in the car, and on TV (there is a TV version). And we are finding success and behavior improvements.

The other day while Little Man was cleaning up some puzzles in his room, he asked what this one picture was of. It was a Bible story puzzle book. That particular picture was of Moses parting the Red Sea. I told him the story about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. And then he said, “Moses was a good leader of the people, but then he died and the people were sad. But he lived in their hearts. But Joshua was the next leader. And he marched around the walls for seven days and the walls fell down. The people thought he was a good leader like Moses and the water.”

Thank you VeggieTales!


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