Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

But that’s not the movie I want to watch!

on April 14, 2013

As I was sitting on my couch on Monday night, watching the NCAA championship basketball game (so sad Michigan lost by the way) I was thinking, this really isn’t what I would choose to watch. This happens all the time in my home – especially when there are sports on tv. My husband enjoys watching baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf….and of course the countless hours of sports center on ESPN.

I, however would choose to watch shows on HGTV. And while my husband is really great most of the time when there’s Love it or List it or Property Brothers on, and I will watch a U of M game, Bills or Sabres game (Let’s go Buffalo!)….we have issues in choosing  the entertainment that we watch sometimes. And we don’t even have kids yet! This most definitely gets more difficult as a family expands. (and we need to filter our entertainment even more than we do already!)

After reading an article on the Focus on the Family website, this is what I’ve gathered:

Obviously, when we have disputes over what to watch we know that we need to make a plan. Something that worked for my husband’s family growing up was making a tv schedule: each person can watch 1 hour of tv a day, with their choice of what to watch. So, say you have 4 kids; Alan, Dan, Leah, and Morgan. You would schedule each kid for an hour a day, and they would rotate times. (This doesn’t have to be the way you do it….some families like more informal rules. It doesn’t matter.)

But, when it comes to content, that when things can get messy. Say it’s Friday night. The long-awaited, box-office-smash starts playing every 30 minutes at the local theater. Your oldest is begging to go because “all” his friends will be there. Your daughter’s been invited to a slumber party where some romantic comedy is the big draw. Your youngest is raving about a hot new band his buddies like. You just want to kick back with your spouse, pop some popcorn, and watch a new pay-per-view movie.

How do you and your family make decisions about these entertainment opportunities and know in your heart you’ve made the right ones? Is there a straightforward guideline all of you can agree to follow?

While there are factors like age appropriateness, spiritual maturity, and the possibility of being a “stumbling block” to a brother (Romans 14:13). Basically, as corny as it may sound…we need to ask ourselves What Would Jesus Do?! I actually prefer an expanded version of the question, something like this: If Jesus were walking the planet today with His 12 disciples, how would He respond if Peter, John, or Matthew asked, “Can we go see or listen to [fill in the blank here]?” Or “How about if we play this video game?”

These are questions we should always ask before choosing entertainment. And they’re questions we need to train our kids to ask as well.

Help your son or daughter understand that Christ’s answer to these questions would be based entirely upon His love for His disciples, not on a desire to squelch their fun. None of us knows what Jesus would do or say in every situation, but it’s our job to train our kids to prayerfully seek what He likely would do based on His holiness and character.

Here’s an easy place to start. Go to or and search the movie or music your kids want to see/listen to. Go through the list with your kids. Explain the violence, sexual content, and language that may be inappropriate for them. Explain what elements we believe Jesus wouldn’t want us to view or hear. Do this every time your kids ask to see or hear something. Even when it gets tiring and annoying. As your kids get older, you can have them review the material for themselves and see if they make the decision you chose for them. Once they reach driving age, have them read the material and make the decisions on their own. This is a practice that my husband and I have done for every show and music we’ve wanted to be entertained by. IT really helps to keep you on the right path!


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