Living Books

“Children should be influenced by books that vividly portray life in
all its trials and victories. Divine providence should echo
throughout its pages. Characters who suffer wrongfully in a righteous
manner, and display humble dispositions, will lay a secure foundation
for the time when childhood may be stolen away; perhaps through the
death of a loved one, sickness, calamity. children need informed
instruction, and models of heroes and heroines of righteousness to fill
their reserves for such a time. In literature as well as in history,
God who doeth all things well, must be seen through the filter of His
divine love and tender care for His children and as an avenger of all
who harden their neck.”“

Francois Fenelon 1687
Education of A Child, The Wisdom Of Fenelon

This week we have been having several discussions about what a good book (or movie) is. My oldest daughter is noticing that what we approve of is not the same as what her friends’ parents choices are even though her friends go to the same church we do. She began by saying that I don’t like anything she wants to see or read. Of course, there are so many things that are inappropriate material for our children but I tried to change the conversation to what are the things that we do approve of and why.

I decided to write out some guidelines for what we consider appropriate material for our children and I thought I would share it here.

Our family has 2 defined purposes that we try to filter everything through:

1. Glorify God

2. Bring Joy to Others

1. Does reading this book or watching this movie help us to fulfill our defined purposes?

2. Does the material inspire us?

3. Is it a living book?

I love this quote from Ruth Saywer which I think gives us a good picture of a living book:

Stories that make for wonder.

Stories that make for laughter.

Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true

nature of courage, of love, of beauty.

Stories that make one tingle with high adventure,

with daring, with grim determination,

with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end.

Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence;

Stories that show the tenderness of true mercy,

the strength of loyalty,

the unmawkish respect for what is good.

Not everything we watch or read falls in line with this but it is our goal to keep to these guidelines as much as possible.

Do you have any guidelines for what you allow your children to watch or read? I’d love to hear them.

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