I Don’t Like Veggie Tales…

Granted, it’s an adorable show. I watched a single episode once, when I was much younger and can still laugh at the memories (it’s a lip!). I do NOT however think that the show is good for children. No, it isn’t going to teach them to do anything wrong, per se. But it will give them a false impression of the Bible. I mean really, do you really want your kids to associate the Biblical David, with a cute piece of broccoli?! It is, in my opinion very essential to start teaching our children that a the Bible is not a Fairy Tale. That it is not a book of entertainment and cute jokes. It is a book more precious than ANY they will ever own. It is the Word of God. I don’t think any cute cartoon, can improve upon God’s Word. Yes, some might say that the Bible is too deep for children to understand. But in my opinion, children listen. If their parents are willing to teach them and explain things…break down words as neccessary, etc. Then I think that even children can understand it. The Bible wasn’t just meant for grown-ups. Children can glean a lot out of it too, I just don’t think cartoon recreations are the best way to teach them. It goes hand-in-hand with my opinion regarding images of Christ, and re-writing Bible stories. There are some things you just shouldn’t do.

As a side note: My parents bought me a story book about Esther once (when I was really little, obviously). It even came with an Esther doll. The characters in the book were all animals who wore clothes and walked upright like people. Esther was a pretty sheep, so was the doll that came with the book. To this day, when someone talks about the Biblical Esther I still think first of a sheep wearing a blue dress. Heh

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24 Comments.

  1. I think the idea is to get children interested. Once they understand that there are interesting stories in the Bible, they might want to read it. If they start reading it for the stories, perhaps they’ll start to pick up on the deeper message.

    Honestly, if you take a six year old and try to read them the story of David and Goliath straight out of the Bible, they might very quickly lose interest.

    One of the coolest things I ever got as a kid was a comic book version of the story of Joseph. I wanted to know more details than the comic provided, so I started reading that part of Genesis.

    I also got a choose-your-own-adventure book about the Daniel. I really liked that, which motivated me to read the actual Biblical book of Daniel.

    Veggie tales is to the kids of today what Superbook was when I was kid. It’s all about getting them interested and involved. Portraying all of the characters as vegetables is a fun way to do that. It’s clearly absurd. If your kid is going to actually think that David was a piece of broccoli, then you need to lock him in a padded room and make sure he never reads fiction, because he’s obviously one of those disturbed children that can’t seperate fantasy from reality.

    What it boils down to, is you can have the story of David and Goliath be something fun that you kids want to watch over and over again, or something they hear about in Sunday school occaisionally and a boring story that mom and dad want to tell them for some reason.

    Children don’t yet possess the emotional or intellectual maturity to appreciate the Psalms. They like stories. The drama, the conflict, etc. That’s all there, man, especially in the old testament. All veggie tales and many other children’s Bible-based products are trying to do is take all that good stuff and unpack it from dry translated prose into something that children can understand. Good for them, I’d say.

  2. Puts a new spin on “feed my lambs.”

  3. I think we don’t give kids enough credit if we just assume they won’t understand the Bible unless it is turned into a cartoon. I remember hearing stories like David and Goliath, and how Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. Granted, young kids aren’t going to appreciate Romans or most of the Psalms, but the old testament is full of exciting adventure stories. Back in the day, so many kids learned to read by reading the Bible. That was the only book in many households.

    I like Veggie Tales, but I see Mel’s point of trying not to portray anything in the Bible as just a story. On the other hand, parables and fables have always been a way of relating morals and truths.

  4. While I agree with your sentiment, I think you’re being too harsh on Veggietales. (Aside: You may note that both Ryan and I are parents, unlike the others who have posted here, so perhaps we are both corrupted and therefore not able to have an objective opinion on this issue. Just a thought).

    No, we don’t have to “dumb down” the Bible to teach it to our children. My kids primary teacher isn’t Veggietales, it’s me. And in my opinion, Veggietales is at least a harmless supplement to what I teach my children about Scripture. I don’t particularly want my 2-year-old to understand the story of David and Bathsheba. I’d much rather that he learn some of the Biblical principles that the story teaches us, even if that means substituting a cucumber and a ducky for David and Bathsheba.

    The other reason I consider Veggietales to be harmless at worst is because TV is a very, very secondary teacher in our household. Our kids watch less than 3 hours of movies a week (and absolutely no commercial TV), while they spend at least an hour a day being read to or just playing with books.

    I know how you feel, though. The problem of teaching Scripture to children in a way that they will understand, without corrupting it, is a difficult one. But there are two opposite, and equally dangerous, ways to respond. One is to let anything go — if it sells in a Christian bookstore, let ’em have it. Bad approach. The second approach is to censor anything that isn’t strictly factual. In which case, you run the risk of irrelevating Scripture (the Wordsmith strikes again!). Okay, I’ll stop now. I don’t mean to attack your position, Melissa, as much as I want to caution you against unnecessary censorship.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys. It is nice to hear different takes on this, and having children gives one more of a right to say how they feel concerning this matter instead of the opposite.

    If TV shows are a good supplement to what a parent is trying to teach a child, then I still don’t think VeggieTales should be a first choice. There are other good Christian kids shows, I am sure that don’t deal with turning Bible stories into something they are not. I still think kids shouldn’t be shown that the Bible has its cutsey, funny side. It’s hard to have a lot of respect for something that doesn’t seem serious. I agree with Elizabeth that most people probably don’t give kids enough credit when it comes to comprehending and understanding the Bible. I still think that if TV has to be limited in a household (because the parents want to have control over what their children are exposed to), then maybe it isn’t that important or neccessary to have it there to begin with.

    I just hope that if I ever have children, they would come to respect and cherish the Bible, and to think of it seriously as a treasured gift from their loving Father.

    THERE are cases when VeggieTales is more appropriate than anything else. For instance, I know two little boys who’s parents are decidely NOT Christians. I know that if I bought those boys a VeggieTales movie, that it would be perhaps the ONLY time that they will have heard anything about God ever. And that is better than nothing at all. Like Ryan, they might one day become interested in those stories for themselves.

  6. I agree that Veggietales is not perfect, and isn’t even the best “Christian” stuff for kids out there. I’ve heard a lot of good things about “Adventures in Odyssey,” for instance. In general, though, it is pretty difficult to find quality Biblical videos for kids. You typically get fluff or super-fluff.

    I have thought a lot about the concept of a completely TV-free household. There are two reasons why we don’t do it. First, no matter how hard we try, if we want our kids to have any interaction with people outside our family they will eventually be exposed to TV. I would rather that we be the ones to expose them to it in a controlled manner, so that it isn’t as appealing when they see it somewhere else. Second, we like watching movies. It’s one of our favorite things to do when we get free time (basically, on Friday or Saturday nights after the kids go to sleep). The first reason is practical and (I think) only sensible; the second is pretty much selfish. ūüėČ

    Just out of curiosity, why shouldn’t the Bible have a cutesy, funny side? Would that necessarily diminish the serious nature of its contents? I’m not disagreeing with you per se, just questioning that assertion.

    Personally, I’d rather have my kids watch Veggietales than have them read illustrated Bible stories where all the people are blue-eyed caucasians. Which distortion is more likely to cause long-term damage, one that pretends to be an accurate representation or one that is obviously a caricature?

  7. Just FYI about Adventures in Odyssey: the old school stuff is pretty good, but a lot of the newer ones tackle some pretty mature topics, so screen them carefully.

    Jacob, I completely agree that the “blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus” stuff can be very detrimental. I think finding illustrations portraying Jesus from various cultures’ points of view is a good idea. I don’t see a problem in portraying him with a familiar ethnicity, but making sure kids see pictures that at least show him with the more likely Jewish-looking features.

  8. I generally have a lot of respect for James Dobson and his projects, but Adventures in Odyssey rubs me wrong because of its outright misportrayal of fantasy role playing games. There’s a whole AiO about FRPGs that only reinforces Christian urban legends about them.

  9. Originally posted by Jacob S.:
    Our kids watch less than 3 hours of movies a week (and absolutely no commercial TV)

    *sheesh* You make me feel like an overly indulgent mommy. My boys watch Sesame Street on weekdays, so that’s already 5 hours a week there… ^_^;

  10. ME WANT COOKIE!!

  11. yeah, but have you ever heard cookie monster singing with Limp Bizkit (sp?), doing their song “I did it all for the COOKIE” (the cookie, the cookie)?

    funny stuff. Also a good indication of how low sesame street has come. (:

  12. Why does that necessarily make sesame street low?
    I think its kind of funny.
    Is Limp Bizkit the preffered choice? no, but its not like they were singing the actual song.
    Will a kid make the connection? Maybe, but i never did growing up and watching the muppets(they used the actual songs most of the time) and i dont think it influenced my life negatively in any way.
    I mean sure, a 5 yr. old and up might know who limp bizkit is, but until kindergarten they should only know what you want them to know.
    It was just fun, and good music.
    The bad comes when they are listening to the real song and seeing the fun song on SS. Then they make an association between the two and that is bad.

  13. just curious, what do kids do all day?
    I honestly don’t remember pre-kindergarten.
    Did we just play and nap?
    Can kids really play for like 12 hours per day?

  14. Originally posted by travis:
    Can kids really play for like 12 hours per day?

    Yes.

    But eating, napping, and sleeping are also important. =)

  15. sweet,
    i wanna be a stay at home dad,
    i wanna play for like 12 hours per day.
    i wanna eat COOKIE!!

    i just had a really great idea on raising children. Just tell them that if they don’t behave an evil monster will come out of thier closet at night and rip off their little precious heads and eat their brains. Then hire a friend to hide in their closet one night dressed in a ridiculously scary monster costume and then come out and attack them. On cue, you run in and save them from the horror. But tell them to behave or next time it will get them. Then, whenever they act up, simply remind them of the monster. I bet that would work for a few years.
    Oh, and also put a few dollars into a medical fund to pay for the shrink when they get older.

  16. Ok, so my husband will never be able to see our kids. Maybe I should save some money to pay for a shrink for Travis. . .

  17. Actually Travis, my parents and cousin John DID do that to me. When we’d go visit my Aunt and Uncle, my parents would stay FOREVER. I remember getting riled up a few times while trying to entertain myself. One day my (much older) cousin John went and got this hideous mask of an old man, and put it on while I was playing in another room. He came out, and I was so scared. My parents and aunt and uncle addressed John as “Frank” when he wore the mask. John would just sit on the couch with the mask on and he NEVER said a word. My family would talk to him and he’d nod and respond that way. But he never spoke. I think that was the scariest part. For years they tormented me with it. Probably from ages 3-6. I behaved REAL well when Frank was around. If I did forget for a minute and start getting rowdy my mom would say something casual like “So when is Frank gonna be here?” That was John’s cue. Eeep.

  18. Ahh, C’mon,
    You know I would never hire someone to scare my kids. I want to be the one to see the fear in their little faces!!! AAHHHAAHHAHAHAHAH!!!

    Seriously though, i would never do that. That can actually seriously mess up a kid(i.e. melissa(I AM JUST JOKING!)).

  19. The other thing my dad did was beat up my imaginary friend (Agnes) and throw her in the street where she got hit by a semi. My mom later heard that that is one of the most traumatic things you can do to a kid. Injure or forbid imaginary friends. Hehe I’m scarred. =)

  20. actually,
    i think the way to control kids is with an invisible hand. Unfortunately not everyone has one of these.
    My mom does though. She can look at me, and squeeze my heart/lungs/brain with her invisible hand. It is absolutely awful.
    Her physical hands are amazing also. She has rubber extendo arms. She can smack me from clear in the other room. I think she(and a lot of other moms) have superpowers. I think she could kill about any living thing in the wink of an eye if she wanted. Once in high school, i did something real bad(really really bad, that I shant do again) and she slapped me. Open palm across the face. I didn’t ever actually see her move it was so quick. It felt like someone knocked me upside the head with a sledge hammer. I literally about passed out. It dazed me for several minutes. I”ve been in fights, had bad bike wrecks, etc, but nothing has hurt as bad as that. Definitely superpowers.

  21. I dont think i ever had an imaginary friend.
    Atleast, not that i can remember.

  22. I want superpowers!

  23. Moms definitely have super powers. They just know instantly when you did something wrong; I think they can smell it.

  24. You’ll get superpowers angel.
    Just be patient.(You probably also already have some that you don’t even realize, I mean, I don’t think moms really know they have super powers, they just have them)

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