Summary: It has grown increasingly more difficult to keep the world from influencing our families. What can we do to counter that influence?
OPEN: A man was once hired to go and take a census in the hills of east Tennessee. He came to one ram-shackle home, knocked on the door and was greeted by a young girl. Brandishing his clipboard, the interviewer asked the girl, "Is your mom home?"
She said, "Nah, she ran off with a moon shiner."
The man continued, "Is your father home?"
"Nah," she replied, "He Pokes his head in once a month to take a bath."
The frustrated guy said, "Do you have an older sister?”
“Yep”, she replied.
“Well, is she home?”
"Nope, she’s in jail for shooting the sheriff."
“Well, do you have a older brother?”
The guy said, "Well then, is your older brother home?"
She said, "Nah, he’s at Harvard."
The astonished census taker gasped and said, "Harvard? What’s he STUDYING?"
The girl said, "Nothing. They’re studyin’ him!"
APPLY: Somehow it makes sense that a university would end up studying one of them… because they OBVIOUSLY weren’t normal people.
But we want to be normal people with normal families. Over the years, the task of Christians trying to raise a “Normal” family has become harder and harder. And the reason is this: we are trying to raise G rated families in an increasingly “R-rated” world.
Some friends of mine compiled a list of TV sit-coms about families that have been popular over the past 50 years or so.
Father Knows Best
I Love Lucy
Leave It To Beaver
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Family Affair - single father, with a butler, raising two kids
Brady Bunch – “blended family”
Happy Days which focused more on the kids than on “family”
All in the Family – highly dysfunctional family headed by Archie Bunker
The Cosby Show
Full House – 3 men raising a family together
Kate and Allie – 2 divorced women raising their kids together
Married with Children
Simpson’s (Prime time Cartoon family)
2000 til now
“Family Guy” (Prime time Cartoon family)
Two And A Half Men
Now, if you noticed - clear up through the 1980’s there was always at least a remnant of shows that shared family values we could model our homes after. But by the time we got to the 90’s it seems to have become more difficult to watch TV with our families and find something we could be comfortable enough with to call a “good role model.”
In fact, “Family Guy” has taken to advertising itself as a “G-Rated” show. The “G” they say, stands for “Grown Up”. In reality, of course, the show is less about being “Grown up” than it is about being infantile and offensive. But that show’s creators exemplify the mindset of many of TV’s most popular writers.
Ellen Goodman (a liberal feminist) wrote in The Boston Globe
“Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to them.
Once, the chorus of cultural values was full of ministers, teachers, neighbors, leaders. They demanded more conformity, but offered more support.
Now the messengers are violent cartoon characters, rappers and celebrities selling sneakers. Parents are considered ‘responsible’ only if they are successful in their resistance.