Scooby Doo and other childhood disasters

My children are not allowed to watch Scooby Doo. Depending on your perspective, that either makes me mom of the year or crazy. They’re allowed to watch Disney flicks, all the Lord of the Rings movies, and a few others we keep just between us.

But not Scooby Doo.

They’re allowed to watch movies with—dare I say it—magic in them. They’ve seen shows that include the supernatural.

And I’m completely ok with that.

In 2 Kings 6, the prophet Elisha is facing the entire Syrian army, amassed outside his house for the sole purpose of kidnapping him. Elisha, being you know, prophetic and all, kept exposing the Syrian army’s strategies, foiling them at every turn. So the king sent his whole army to stop him.

Once you get past the craziness of that situation, we’re left with an account of Elisha’s response to this siege. He went to sleep. When he woke up the next morning, he looked out his front door at the “army with horses and chariots” surrounding the city. His servant began to freak out (you would too; don’t lie), saying, “Alas, my master! What shall we do? (v. 15)”

This is where it gets good. Really good.

Elisha comforted his servant: “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. (v. 16)” He then prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes that he would see—no, really see.

And God did it.

The servant opened his eyes, and saw this: surrounding the Syrian army were “horses and chariots of fire, all around Elisha (v. 17, emphasis mine).” As the army attacked, Elisha prayed that they would be struck by blindness. They were, and Elisha lead the entire army into the middle of Israel (the enemy of Syria). Long story short, they weren’t defeated or taken captive by Israel, but their eyes were opened to the reality of the power of the God of Israel.

This is one of my all-time favorite stories in the Bible. It illustrates a concept sorely lacking, I believe, in the Western church. We’ve become so “enlightened” and educated that we’ve learned ourselves right out of the supernatural experience with God. The Bible is full of miracle, signs, wonders, angels, etc. It’s the norm for biblical characters to dream, to prophesy, to be healed.

But to us, that’s something that either “doesn’t happen anymore” (I’m no theologian, but I do read my Bible. That ain’t in there) or something that because we’ve never experienced it, we have trouble believing that it can actually happen. Our culture is saturated with the message that there must be a “natural” cause for anything supernatural.

Hence the Scooby Doo ban.

At the end of every episode of Scooby Doo, there is the “and I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids” moment—the moment where the supernatural occurrence is explained away by natural means. This theme is pounded into our heads from the time we’re young children, and by the time we begin to explore the idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s something beyond this three-dimensional (yeah, yeah, I know; don’t go there) existence we’ve become so indoctrinated that we can’t see anything else. And because we don’t actually believe—despite statements we might make—in the supernatural, we don’t have faith to see the miracles we long for. When we continually don’t see the miracles we long for, our belief that they don’t happen is reinforced and we continue on our merry way, never really experiencing the power available to us in the Kingdom of God.

We are meant for more. As co-heirs with Christ, the full measure of the Kingdom is available to us—now. Yes, there is a measure of “not yet” in our experience; but nowhere is it defined how much we get to have while we’re still here on earth. John 14:12 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.” 

Greater works. I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing “greater works” than Jesus did; I have yet to see a head cold healed, much less anyone raised from the dead. I’ve experienced some personal healing, but when I lay hands on people, so far, nothing. I suspect that a large part of the reason we don’t see any greater works is because we’re so indoctrinated against the supernatural that we wouldn’t know it if it bashed us over the head. And I want more.

So no. I have no issue with the “magic” in movies like Brave (which, by the way, has many delightful—and bibical—qualities; not to mention that the magic in it is in close keeping with Scottish folklore). I have no problem introducing and reinforcing the idea that there is something beyond what my children can see/hear/smell/touch/reason. I do have a problem with shielding them from that reality.

Children have this wonderful quality called “magical thinking.” This gives them the ability to imagine that which they cannot see with their physical eyes (huh; sounds a little like “faith”); watch them play. Their minds are elastic, and can be stretched to encompass realms we as “mature” adults can’t fathom anymore. They can believe—and believe in—concepts beyond our physical world.

Maybe this is a part of what “faith as a small child” means.

So. Conclusions.

You, as your child’s parent, are responsible for stewarding their minds, hearts and spirits. You are their parent for a reason, and you are able to discern the best thing for you and your family; I’m not downplaying that. What I am asking you to do is to consider what you allow and what you don’t allow, and how you came to those conclusions. Is it cultural mores, things you were just taught were “right” or “wrong”? Or have you dug in, explored, asked the Lord, gotten to know your child and his/her specific needs, and considered exactly where your permissions and prohibitions come from and what they are accomplishing?

There is a reality beyond what we can see, beyond what we are currently experiencing. Spiritual warfare is real, whether or not we choose to admit it. There is a Kingdom that is more real than anything we know, that once was veiled to us but now is wide open through the work of Jesus on the cross. We are meant to go beyond this earthly life, experiencing more and more of His Kingdom and power in our lives—while we’re still here on earth. And I want my children to know that.

23 comments so far

  1. Connie Hill on

    Oh my gosh I freakin love this!!!!!!! AMEN!!!! This is one of those posts that STRIKES THE CORD in me.

  2. Debra on

    Love! You go, Nancy. And, I am whole-heartedly with you … I want MORE of the greater works than these!

  3. Lynette Sharp on

    Awesome. Very interesting stuff, thanks Nancy!

  4. Nancy,

    So, so so good! I have found that often times I make decisions with reservation concerning movies, cartoons and video games based off of the warnings or feedback of others. I don’t think that the feedback is unmerited but I love how you posed the challenge…

    “consider what you allow and what you don’t allow, and how you came to those conclusions. Is it cultural mores, things you were just taught were “right” or “wrong”? Or have you dug in, explored, asked the Lord, gotten to know your child and his/her specific needs, and considered exactly where your permissions and prohibitions come from and what they are accomplishing?”

    This post definitely makes me look closer at our decisions as parents and like you said stewarding their imagination and “magical thinking”. Their imagination is so magical and their ability to see beyond what is just in front of them is amazing! My youngest Kyra is so incredibly imaginative, as are all of our kiddos, and it is a constant flow of imaginary creativity. I never want to stifle or discourage that part of my littles.

    Loved this post Nancy, definitely gives me lots to think and pray about. Thanks for sharing!


    • nancysmithonline on

      That’s the challenge, Jessica–to be intentional as parents. WHY do we make the decisions we do?
      Thanks for your feedback!!

  5. Susan Bautista on

    Yes and Amen!

  6. BAHA! I just wrote my own article about being intentional parents but THIS is AWESOME! Next time someone challenges our “over-protection”, I am sending them right here!

  7. Crystal Righton on

    Love. This is great perspective on childlike faith. And relieved some guilt about letting my kiddos WONDER.

    I want to just be in awe of His wonder.

  8. jahdaddy77 on

    good post Nancy. I have walked thru this exact thing. jumping to conclusions about anything I had no knowledge of and putting the blinders on to it and strapping them on my kids as well. it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started reading the HP series because it was so popular and I wanted to be able to to have my own opinion. long story short, God reached in and showed me things about my way of thinking that was flawed and to put it bluntly, stupid. It wasn’t just thru HP that He has helped me see some really cool things but I don’t want to write a book here. I really didn’t know why I had these opinions of certain movies and shows but now I know it was all hype. whatever I heard I believed without exploring it for myself. that goes for my faith also. God is definately changing my mind so I can hear Him for me and mine. looooooooooooooooong journey, it is. But now God is leading me, not me or any other man. (uh hehe most of the time). any who, great reading your thoughts. love the Elisha story as well. Its my second favorite story. second only to the Elijah story and the Baal prophets. I digress, go buy coffee. peace.

    • nancysmithonline on

      I love Elijah. Snarky prophets rock!
      Thanks for sharing your journey; it looks a lot like mine. And oddly enough, God has often spoken to me through things others might shun. Seems He speaks “Nancy” quite well. He’s good that way.

  9. abitrendster on

    Great counsel Nancy! Let’s stop going over the cliff of religiosity and start exploring how God wants to redeem our imaginations and also what the Kingdom of God is and can be in our day to day realities! You always encourage me to shift my thinking! Thank You!

  10. Deborah Vinson on

    YESH….we were MADE FOR MORE!!! More than routine, more than just regulah coffee, more than Irish Cheddar!!! Made to select not settle…this entry hit home on SOOOO many levels…bless you, sweet friend!!!

  11. jonathandboles on

    Love it.. This is what I’m talkin about! You are a sprinkler full of wisdom.. Thank you.

  12. Christan on

    This is a breath of fresh air.

  13. Patrick Conboy on

    Nancy, I love you. You have a sharp mind and such a wonderful style of writing, I can read you all day… Even when I disagree, as I do here. First off, holding “Scooby Doo” up as a learning experience may be a bit of a stretch, but if you will, I will as well. If there is a message of Scooby Doo, it’s to teach kids not to take everything at face value… to confront your fears, and to look deeply into the questions that we are facing. Scooby encourages us to think logically and critically and follow the clues that are all around us to penetrate the man-made fog and find the deeper truth of any given situation. I don’t believe such thinking kills the “magical” in our children, but rather makes it more wonderous when it can’t be readily explained.

    • nancysmithonline on

      P – you make a good point. But I suspect we might be coming at this from different angles–as is our prerogative. 😀

      And yes, Scoob does have some redeeming qualities. But I as a parent have to make choices as to what lessons take priority over others. Actually, SD is just an example of what I see as an overriding problem in our “enlightened” society. It’s a microcosm of a worldview I disagree with.

      Love that you read my stuff!!! 😀 Who knew, eh? 😉

      • Patrick Conboy on

        Well, I suppose we’ve happily disagreed with each other for over a quarter century now! 🙂 What’s interesting is that I don’t think, in our case, that it matters which side of the SDPD we fall on (that’s Scooby Doo Philosophical Divide, by the way :))

        The reason why it doesn’t matter is that our children benefit not from the show that they may or may not be allowed to watch, but rather the involvement, thought, love, and care shown by their parents in making such decisions.

        Keep up the great work, Nancy!

  14. Jon on

    This is a load of crap. If the Bible were completely true then why has it been re-written x ammount of times? Why was it “revised” x ammount of times by kings,lords, and other “nobles”. You want to teach your children NOT to think for themselves and come up with explanations for things? Sounds like a good way to set your kids up for failure in the real world.

    • nancysmithonline on

      Hi, Jon!
      Thanks for your feedback.
      Since you’ve made some assumptions here, I’m going to make one of my own. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you and I probably don’t share the same worldview/philosophy/opinions about this subject.

      Now to your arguments.
      One – the Bible has not been “rewritten” it’s been translated–as any other historical document from antiquity would be. It’s in a constant state of study by scholars and experts all over the world, who diligently search for the most accurate way to translate the ancient languages and historical data (since none of us were actually there to witness it), comparing it against its contemporaries. Actually, it’s been found to be amazingly historically accurate, and we have more proof of its “truth,” if you will, than many other documents we hold dear.

      But as I stated in my blog, I am not a theologian, and nor am I an historian. There are many, many others who can argue such points better than I. I encourage you to seek them out.

      And as for shielding my children from the “real world,” as you put it, if by “real world” you mean the one in which the dastardly neighbor/politician/professor/old man sets up the fake supernatural happening to cover up his/her bank heist/jewel robbery, then I’m completely ok with “shielding” them from that.

      Thanks for reading!

  15. KT on

    Thanks for sharing Nancy. This leaves me stirred up in many areas, but not ready to write them down. Keep writing. I love your stuff!

  16. Carey Valderrama on

    Ok not to completely undermine myself here but here is a simple comment I’d like to make and hopefully gain insight on. I have a mature 4year old whom I expose truth and light to at any given opportunity. I may throw slightly more serious things her way than I should, but I figure….train a child in the way he should go and when he is…..proverbs 22:6 gives me permission from God to shed light early. Ok so having said that, I am quick to call magic a counterfeit of what God does miraculously. That way she will know just because she sees something supernatural it doesn’t mean that it is good. There is also evil which can play tricks. For this reason I limit her exposure to magic unless I’m there to explain good from evil. She sees magic (which is usually used by the bad guy to steal from the good guy) and we try to discern the intent. having said that we pray healing and are expectant for miraculous signs and giftings here on earth daily. Love you and your husband. Kairos and freedom classes are awesome at gateway. My husband and I are experiencing the fruit from worship at gateway. Thank u for being such an amazing woman for God!

    • nancysmithonline on

      Hi, Carey!! Thanks for your comment! Sounds like you’re doing a great job training your child. And thanks for making my last point for me–every parent needs to know their own child and hear from God!

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