As a man thinketh, so he is. - Proverbs 23:7
A man is what he thinks about all day long. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
A man's life is what his thoughts make of it. - Marcus Aurelius
Protecting our kids' minds and engaging ourselves fully as our kids' "ear and eye filters" to slow down the media zoo that seeks to fill their mind with immoral garbage is definitely one of the most challenging and surely among the most important jobs we have as parents. The average eighteen year old has taken in over 80,000 illicit sex scenes (implied or viewed in various stages of display) from television alone in his/her growing up years, and studies show that 92% of those scenes are with extramarital partners.
A quick scan of the TV Guide ends the mystery of why so many teens and pre-teen kids are falling into sexual temptation and activity. "A pair of daring incest plots has soap fans in a tizzy." "Jonathan woos his cousin Tammy and takes her virginity." "Whitney discovers that her long-time lover is really her brother." Are you kidding me? This is mainstream television! Mainstream rock, rap and hip-hop music is every bit as morally degrading.
What's a parent to do? How do we CLOSE THE ZOO on Hollywood's assault on our kids' minds? My Labrador retriever taught me an insightful truth about my responsibility as a dad once upon a time. If he had a dangerous chicken bone in his mouth, no act of Congress or California earthquake could make him give it up. But if I offered him a juicy piece of lean meat in the palm of my hand, then, like any dog, he will drop that bone every time. Are you worried about the attraction some tantalizing but dangerous "Chicken bone" might cause to choke your child's moral character? Then turn your home into a king's cut of prime rib to entice their taste buds. Make life at home a celebration for them; a homecoming party every evening after school, and a holiday every weekend.
"The best way to make kids good," Oscar Wilde said, "is to keep them happy." Kids will be home when home is the most fun place to be.
A picture I saw on a giant billboard years ago on Interstate 40 continues to stay in my mind. A family of five was holding hands and walking together, all smiling. Big colorful letters read, "Get your good times together."
What else can a family do together? For starters, try a few of these: Homemade carnivals in the living room, with prizes for the winner in each event: throwing darts at balloons, pitching pennies, tossing a hat on a broomstick, or a Yahtzee, scrabble or dominoes tournament (with prizes)!
Try homemade miniature golf. Balloon volleyball over a king-size bed. Pillow fights. Decorate Christmas cookies together. Mix in table games. Puzzles. Checkers. Charades. Coloring contests. Make popcorn balls and caramel apples together. Create leather or wood crafts. Try family baseball, football, volleyball (we always handicap the better athletes to keep the competition close), BB gun contests, bow-and-arrows in the front yard popping balloons. Enjoy shuffleboard. Go-cart racing. Roller Skating. Go window shopping with scavenger hunts at the mall.
Spoil Mommy Day. Date Night with Dad. (I loved giving my daughters a memorable date—as well as teach them how a girl should be treated by a guy—by opening the door for her, seating her, giving her preference, and talking about the love, admiration, and respect I have for their mom.) Take hunting trips. Fishing. Camping. Hiking. Horseback riding. Mountain climbing. My kids still think I'm nuts for the day we packed a picnic basket with a white tablecloth, china, and candlesticks for breakfast at McDonald's!
One beautiful spring day many years ago I was tied up at the office until dark. My youngest boy had his best friend over, and they romped and played G.I. Joe for hours. Boy, were they having fun! I dragged into the house just before bedtime and picked up my happy boy, told him he was a champ, and bounced him like a basketball into the bed two or three times. It must have lasted all of twenty seconds. Then it was time to brush his teeth, put on his P.J.s, and hit the sack. As I tucked him in, I asked, "What was the highlight of your day today, Cooper?" I thought I'd hear tall tales of soldiers at war. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Getting bounced in the bed."
"Really?" I asked, half-shocked. "Why is that?" He sunk in the truth: "'Cause you were there, Daddy . . . 'cause you were there." CLOSING THE ZOO is hard work sometimes! I'll admit to a lot of failure in my home. Now that the kids are building their own homes and beginning to close their own zoos, I believe it was well worth the effort! Your scrapbook pages will be filled with great memories and your hearts will treasure the countless good times shared together as a family. Your grandchildren will carry the "shield of faith" from your intentionality as you CLOSE THE ZOO and, as a family, "got your good times together".
Dr. James Dobson interviews Joe White on the daily broadcast.
On Day 1 of the two-part broadcast, you'll hear a conversation Dr. Dobson had with Joe White, President of Kanakuk Kamps. They share how memorizing Scripture can root Biblical principles in our children.
Then on Day 2, Dr. Dobson continues his discussion with the President of Kanakuk Kamps, Joe White. The two explain why quality family time is important and how parents can reinforce where their kids are insecure.
Learn More about the Guest
Joe White is the president and chairman of the board of Kanakuk Ministries. He is also the author of more than 20 books including Pure Excitement, Wired By God, and Spiritually Mentoring Teens. Joe speaks across the country for Men at the Cross, Kids Across America, Cross International, and NFL chapels. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and holds two Honorary Doctorates. Joe and his wife Debbie-Jo reside in Branson, Missouri and are the parents of four grown children and the grandparents of thirteen.