Lessons From Captain Underpants

My seven year old & I had one of those awesome teachable moments today. First of all, this child is all boy. And he hasn’t found his reading genre yet. Let me get those two pieces of information out right now. He’s a very good reader, but my older two had already found several series they loved by the time they were this age. Anders, my seven year old, likes action more than sitting & reading in general. When he does sit & read, he reads what I tell him to & that’s about it. Enter stage right, Dav Pilkey.

If you haven’t seen a Dav Pilkey book, I’d have to say count yourself lucky. To say he’s geared to the six to eight year old boy is an understatement. Check out his site to see what I mean. Anyway, our oldest boy happenstanced upon the Pilkey shelf one day at our library, much to my chagrin, & Daddy said he could check out a few of his books. Six plus years later, he still likes them. The legalist in me wants to ban them entirely, but I try not to say anything about it – it’s a boy thing between the boys & their dad who by the way is a very godly man so for me, it’s a trust issue God’s teaching ME here. Anders does every once in a while get them out & sits to read/laugh at them. He pulled out a stack of them just this morning.

I sat down beside him & read a few chapters & laughed with him. They are funny if you put yourself in a seven year old boy’s world. I have to admit, there is something great about a cute little seven year old boys giggle. Even if it’s at a certain Captain Underpants. Okay, so I thoroughly enjoyed & laughed heartily at the chapter where a robot drinks prune juice & the people he ate are “released”. The drawings got me. And I got carried away with the moment, I’ll admit it; I was intoxicated by Anders’ giggle. Anyway, something possessed me to show Anders the website to let him color some pages, activate a few flip-o-ramas on line, hear a song or two. Nate showed me that site years ago, but Anders has never seen it. We enjoyed a good laugh over the burp song (the real title is s bit more crude). He had Super Diaper Baby dance a few jigs. I assured him that if I ever caught wind of him singing the burp song, etc. at church, in front of Grandma, etc. he would never get another Pilkey book out again NOR see that site again. We talked briefly about discretion & a few more minutes went by.

I wanted to make sure he understood the difference between “bad” & funny but only in the right context & place. I mean, I dont’ want our children thinking we’re hiding stuff here. I don’t want them thinking there are two sets of rules or that we are faking it out & about. You have to admit, discretion is a difficult concept for a little guy. We talked about how there’s nothing bad about tooting or burping – God made our bodies to do that. And it IS funny! I’m sure Jesus laughed a time or two about those things as a little boy growing up. We talked about the songs & how the one song that did bother me was the one about Mr. Krupp, the principal. It didn’t talk highly of him; not horribly disrespectful, but enough to make me talk about it. I asked Anders if Jesus would be happy or sad about anything we listened to or read today. We talked about how Jesus IS here with us. Does He think this is funny or if not, what would He be sad about? We talked about the “funny feeling” you get in your heart when something’s just not right. I explained how right now, Dad & Mom are Anders’ protection & when we feel something’s not right for you, you’re not allowed to watch, read, hear it. Once something goes in the brain, it’s pretty much permenant. As he gets older, the goal is for him slowly but surely, a little at a time, take that over until when he’s in college, he needs to be able to hear God & know that “funny feeling” when something’s not right, turn it off, close the book, etc. all on his own without Dad & Mom’s protection. That takes practice. He mentioned Runescape, a game Nate plays on line that makes Anders feel funny. I explained that Runescape is one of those areas we are letting Nate practice on right now. What is wrong for Anders may or may not be wrong for Nate. It’s between God & Nate right now. THAT’s why it’s so important to be in God’s Word every day & talk to Jesus about everything. The Bible doesn’t say “You can listen to the burp song, but the principal song is bad.” We need to know what the Bible says about honoring our authority & to everything there is a season, etc. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to let us know when something’s not right using God’s Word. We need to listen & respond every time we feel that tug. THAT’s how the Holy Spirit guides us. Our job is to be “in tune” to Him.

It’s very easy to just ban something or tell your child something’s bad. And many things are in the world today. But there are some opportunities for us as parents to loosen the reigns a bit & let them find out what the Holy Spirit’s conviction feels like. Knowing most of Pilkey stuff is just really gross, I let Anders hear a few songs & dance a dance or two. It didn’t take long before the funny wasn’t quite so funny & you could tell he didn’t feel real good about it. We talked about how Seeds songs are different from say, these Pilkey songs, because God’s Word is living & unique & straight from God. Those words never make you feel weird or gross & it’s never wrong to sing them in any circumstance. Lots to chew on. He thought about it & took it all in. So, when it’s all said & done, I thank Pilkey for our discussion today. Thanks for giving us a springboard to talk about discretion, discernment, and conviction. Great lessons there for a seven year old or a forty year old!

A side-note conversation I wanted to remember was Anders saying he wanted to share Jesus with others, but everyone he’s ever around already knows Jesus. SO, we also talked about how that is why it’s so important for us to be on our best behavior when we’re out & about running errands, etc. We represent Jesus to those around us who may not know Jesus or us, but they see us pray before we eat, etc. And if we are then nasty to little brother, disobedient to Mom, or just disrespectful in general to others in the store, they see that! Likewise, we witness to them when we show patience with brother, love to Mom by instant obedience, have a joyful heart, are gentle, self-controlled, etc. Those fruit of the Holy Spirit are what we want those around us to see in us & know that Jesus makes a difference in our lives. THAT’s how we share Jesus with those around us.

Yep, good conversations today. : ]

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