A few weeks ago my sons were watching the popular children’s show, Doc McStuffins on television. I’m a big fan of Doc McStuffins. I like the diversity the show brings to the table. I like that the main character is a girl and a doctor. I like that she is African-American and portrayed in a positive light. I like that she is kind and helps people. It even holds my attention when my kids are watching it.
I wish I could say I always pay close attention to what they are watching. True confession: I don’t. While we don’t let them watch things that we haven’t vetted, I don’t filter every piece of content once we have approved it.
I learned my lesson.
I happened to catch the tail end of a scene, which I noticed seemed to include two moms. I was doing something else, but looked up for a brief second to catch the scene. I let it finish and then spent some time researching it online afterwards. Sure enough, it was intentional and it was a lesbian couple. It was subtle, and I doubt my children even noticed it, so I didn’t say anything. But it’s also subtle that the lead character on the show is an African-American girl who is a doctor. That’s the point. Over time, if children (with impressionable minds) see something they will begin to see it as normal. Television executives and show creators know this. So they include things in their shows that they want to shape culture and society. I get this. And in some ways I am for it. I want my kids to see it as normal for an African-American girl to be successful. But I do not want them to see it as normal that a family can be anything you want it to be.
But the point of this post is not to speak to the culture’s shaping of children, or even to talk about homosexuality in media. I am less concerned about that. There are plenty of people who speak to those things.
I’m actually more concerned with a better counter message to the ideas that are often fed to our kids. It struck me as I watched the show that the world is providing a message of diversity for our children. We don’t need to look for one. It’s already out there. And whether you are intentional about teaching your kids about God’s good design for diversity or not, the world will give them a message of diversity regardless.
It’s not just in television. It’s in the library too, where books on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are placed next to books on a little boy having two uncles and how his family grew to accept it (I saw this at our children’s library). We spend a lot of time as Christians fighting the messaging instead of presenting better messaging ourselves. We boycott. We protest. We write letters of frustration. And I’ll admit, there is a place for limiting our children’s access to this messaging and even protesting sometimes. I limit messaging for my children all of the time. But what if instead we embraced the heart for diversity and provided a better (more biblical) answer?
If we don’t counter the prevailing messages with something better, something biblical, then all we are teaching our children is that we resist, but we have nothing better to offer them. We teach them to fight, but we don’t teach them to think.
That’s why I was so excited to receive Trillia Newbell’s new book, God’s Very Good Idea. In this book she presents God’s plan for diversity in a way children can understand. Instead of letting the culture hijack diversity messaging, she is hitting it head on, and presenting a beautiful and biblical resource that reaches children on their level. We need more things like this. The messages on diversity are out there, and so often these messages get lumped in with diversity messaging that is hardly biblical. Christians have a better answer. Christians need to give this better answer.
God has spoken on diversity, and it’s a beautiful thing. It reflects his glory. It tells a story of who he is. It’s true, and right, and good. Christians should be the ones celebrating and speaking to diversity the loudest. We have a compelling story to tell. So get this book for your kids. Tell them the better story of God’s very good idea, so when untrue messaging confronts them (and it will), they will have words and categories for God’s good plan for us.
****** I have TWO copies of Trillia's book to giveaway to two lucky readers! To enter the contest simply share this post on either Twitter or Facebook (tagging me so I know you shared it). I will pick a winner by 8 PM CST on Wednesday, November 1
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