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    “It’s Not Gonna Kill Him”

    January 6, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    I‘ll repeat it in case you missed the title: “It’s not gonna kill him.” We hear this phrase from people very often. Sometimes, it is in reference to letting our son watch television. Other times, it is to encourage us to let him eat candy. The person who says it is always well-meaning, and usually thinks we are a bit too…something…too strict, too religious, too over-protective, too something. They can’t quite pinpoint it, but our parental activities make them uncomfortable.

    It is true, you know. If I gave him candy, he wouldn’t keel over and die right there at his little white table with matching little-boy sized chair. If I sent him to preschool, he wouldn’t die there, either, and he’d probably have a lot of fun. TV doesn’t seem to kill me, and I confess I do turn it on once or twice a week. So why not?

    Why not place these things in his life? The fact is, whether or not something kills my sweet boy isn’t really the deciding factor we use when making decisions. Our litmus test {or one of the many, more like it} is found in Hebrews 13:17 which tells people to obey their leaders because “they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.” Parents are a type of leader, and we firmly believe these little souls are entrusted to us for a time, and we will be required to give an account for how we cared for them.

    Which brings me back to TV, preschool, candy, and whatever else may be on the menu for today. Though all three of these things can and do cause harm in their own way, I’m not sure that the reason we “forbid” them {if we must use such a word, and I suppose we must} is not the harm we try to avoid, but rather the good we try to accomplish. Take candy, for instance. It’s not that I don’t want him to eat candy, but that I do want him to eat healthy foods and develop healthy habits. Therefore, he is rarely given candy.

    Or, to use a recent example, let’s think about television. I recently wrote here about my day on the couch, experiencing the flu with my son. A couple people were dismayed when I explained that we just layed there {in misery}. I was informed {again} that it won’t kill him to watch a video or something when he’s sick. It’s not that I was trying to avoid anything, but think of what I would have missed! TV can and does distract a child from his pain. But we don’t have a TV in our living room, so instead I held him, I consoled him, and in the end we were closer because of it. This cannot be replaced.

    So it’s true. Again, I say it: watching TV won’t kill him. But it will change him. And it might cause his heart to stray a bit. And though “entertaining” a child in such a way is indeed an easier path, the easy path is hardly ever the best.

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