“If my friends dressed like Barbie, I wouldn’t hang out with them anymore.” My sister’s comment made me snort-laugh into the phone.
“I did find one Barbie with full-length riding pants,” I said, “and a horse! She would love the horse.”
“Yeah,” my sister reasoned, “but then you might as well just get her the horse. Forget the Barbie.”
Ah, Barbie. My five-year-old daughter wants one for Christmas, so I’ve been scanning the aisles, considering my options. Heaven help me. Have you seen these things lately?
Short skirts, bare bellies, rock star glam. It’s like they stepped off a bad Motley Crue video.
For a mom trying to teach humility and gentleness, toy stores are riddled with pitfalls. Dolls show too much skin, action figures pack heavy weapons, and Justin Bieber’s face is plastered to lunchboxes and pencil kits.
Sex! Murder! War! Idolatry! Greed!
We should shield our kids from all this, right?
Well, yes and no.
Because it’s in the Bible, too.
A couple months ago, we bought our kindergartener her first “real” Bible—the NIV Adventure version. She totes it to Sunday school and reads it with Dad at bedtime. She loves this Bible. We love that she loves it. Of course it never occurred to us that her Bible might be scandalous.
Until she brought it to show-and-share at school. When her teacher asked her to read for the class, my sweet, unassuming daughter flipped to the page where her dad left off the night before—Genesis 4:1—and announced to a room full of five-year-olds:
“Adam made love to his wife Eve.”
“You read that?! In front of the whole class?” I wheeled through the carpool pick-up line and shot a glance at my daughter’s face in the rear view mirror.
“Yeah, Mom.” She beamed with pride.
“What did Mrs. L say?” Besides roaring with laughter in the teacher’s lounge.
“She said I did a good job.”
“You did, sweetheart. I’m proud of you.” And slightly mortified. God bless her.
By Hollywood standards, many Bible stories could be rated R. Cain killed his own brother. Dinah was raped. David seduced a married woman. Nation battled bloody nation while parents sacrificed their children to false gods. Mary was a virgin, but try explaining virginity to preschoolers. And Jesus, our beloved Bible superstar, was tortured and nailed to a tree.
Touchy topics for kids, if you ask me. And yet, this stuff is real. It’s God’s Word, the source of wisdom.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right,” (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT).
I confess sometimes when my husband and I read the Bible to our girls, we skip parts. Or we paraphrase, for example, “Adam
made love to loved his wife Eve,” (Genesis 4:1, Mommy and Daddy Translation), because age-appropriate lessons can be explained without gory detail. But as our children grow older, I hope and pray we can explore the touchy stuff from the context of the Bible first—before they glean it from the toy store, TV or Internet.
“Mom, I don’t need a Barbie anymore.” My five-year-old leafed through the latest Toys R Us catalog and circled photos of Lego sets with a blue crayon.
“You don’t?” I looked over her shoulder and wondered what other glittery object had usurped Barbie. Please don’t say a Bratz doll.
“Nope. But I really, really, really want—a Slinky.”
A Slinky! What a deal. You’re on, kiddo. One shiny Slinky under the tree—now there’s something I can handle.
If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like The Case of the Purple Car, Birthday Musings from a Sappy Mom, and When You Want What They Have.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Mommy Moments, Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Living Well Wednesdays, Grace at Home, Things I Can’t Say, Thought Provoking Thursday and Faithfully Parenting Fridays.
Heidi Maranell says
HAAAAA! Well I didn’t hear anything about this from Carter so I’m sure it was “over their heads.” I can only imagine Mrs. L. trying to just glaze right over that. Thanks for the smile this morning. 😉
Oh, Heidi, I sure hope they had no idea! I know our little Bible reader didn’t have a clue what that sentence actually meant. Mrs. L told me she smoothed it over by saying, “Yes, Adam loved his wife, didn’t he?” Ha!
Ashley Ditto says
I loved this Becky!
donna oshaughnessy says
Oh my! That was a good read. It reminded me of a situation a dear friend of mine had when teaching a children’s SS class. She “paraphrased” the account of the times of Noah and what was um…expected??? of the angels were they thrown out into the mob of sinners. one student raised their hand and said “My bible says they wanted to have *ex with them.” 0_0!!! No beating around the bush with some translations, huh?
Another verse that comes to mind:
“…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Is 55:11
Still…I have done some creative editing myself!
Great verse, Donna. And oh my, I would not have wanted to be the Sunday school teacher that day. Yikes!
I think it is especially difficult with girls, as you’ve pointed out here, Becky. Of course, there’s the whole war and destruction thing for boys. But I have to say that was easier to navigate with our three sons, than when I had to explain to our pre-teen foster daughter that her outfit was “not going out the door.” Kudos to you for tackling the tough and controversial issues, Becky! Great post!
Thank you, Beth. Those conversations are coming for me in a few years, I’m afraid. Or maybe the lessons we’re teaching now will soak in deep enough to prevent the fashion challenges down the road. I can only hope and pray!
You have no idea what that laugh did for me this morning.
My parents solved the Barbie problem with Tammy and Skipper–both flat chested and younger. Of course that was almost 50 years ago. I made and crocheted clothes for my own girl’s dolls. And we also used the Barbie aisle for quiet modesty lessons. When they found an outfit that answered our modesty rules they were happy. But I heard a lot of, “I wouldn’t want my doll to wear that!” I’m sure it’s much harder today. A slinky is a great substitute!
I remember Tammy and Skipper! Whatever happened to them?
Lorien's Leaf says
So good! Yes, we say that Adam and Even had “consequences” instead of died.
Ooo, consequences. We’re in this together, Jen. 🙂
Oh so sweet. I am still laughing. I am sorry was I supposed to laugh? I can just see her reading to the class. And she did a good job. I am glad she wants a slinky.
Thanks for sharing. You made me laugh today. I needed it.
Have a Beautiful Wednesday,
Thank you for reading, Sherry! And yes, by all means, laugh. My husband and I sure did! (To keep from crying in shame, of course, ha ha.)
What a cute story! Children are so precious and I love their innocence. I miss that now that my kids are older.
Found you at Women Living Well and hope to stop by again. 🙂
Thanks for navigating here from WLW, Cathy! Welcome!
This is such an encouraging post to me. (funny too!) I still feel uneasy at times not sheltering my girls from the real world but continue to press on and obey God in the path we believe He is guiding us.
I think a lot of moms feel that way, Megan. I’ve spoken with a few just this week who want to protect their kids yet be honest about the junk they’ll face in this world. It’s a fine line, I think, but gratefully we have the Bible as our guide and example – of what to do and what NOT to do, right?
Lacey Newman says
What a great post! Thanks for the laugh 🙂
I was a nervous wreck when Barbies entered this house, but so far, we have fared well!
Lacey @ And They Call Me Mommy
I grew up with Barbie and had many of the dolls but hadn’t looked at them in ages until my nieces era and they are wanting them now too. I wish I could dig my old ones up and give them instead of the new ones. They just don’t make toys the same anymore!
Stopping by from Shell’s PYHO
I bet the kindergarten teacher was trying really hard not to laugh. Barbies and toys/clothes for girls these days really need some more thought put into them.