Do you want your children to read novels with wholesome content; books written by a person who shares your world view?
When my children were old enough to read chapter books, I asked some friends for advice on finding Christian novels. Many of the popular children’s books at the time were centered around witchcraft and false deities. I wanted my kids to read stories where God is the only source of miracles and “magic.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get many suggestions. Feeling discouraged, I began to seek out ways to track down some Christian titles. I knew they were out there, I just had to find them. Christian Book Distributors became a wonderful resource. I found multiple novels that interested my children.
Yet, I continued to ponder why other parents weren’t bothering to purchase Christian novels. To me it seemed only natural. What we read stays with us for most of our life, and it’s our responsibility as parents to protect and nurture our children–which includes reviewing their entertainment. Was I being paranoid in assuming the world’s sinful influence would seep into the books on the shelves of the school library, and possibly cause my children to stumble in their faith?
It turns out I wasn’t.
Here is some disturbing content I have personally seen in mainstream novels marketed to children/teens:
Kissing at age 13
Cuss words and sexual slang
Divorce is no big deal
Picturing a person without a shirt
Contemplating how to get hands up someone else’s shirt
Description of feelings/physical reactions during a kiss between 16-year-olds.
Many parents feel that a novel labeled for children must be age-appropriate, and sadly, that is not the case. These are issues I would rather my children not read about until they are older–if at all! I don’t want to arouse their curiosity about adult issues, or instill the desire to violate God’s standards because they saw something in a novel. I caution you to review all books your children read, because one day we will have to give an account to God for what we allow them to consume.
As my children get older, I’m more careful about the mainstream novels I choose. I skim most books or question other parents about the content. When God asks me at the end of my life about my children, I don’t want to be ashamed of the entertainment I allowed in my home. It seems out of date these days, but I try to use the WWJD question. If Jesus was nearby, watching my child read the hottest title on the best-seller list, would He approve of the content? Would I be able to tell Him what’s in it?
It seems integrity is in short supply these days. I’ve had conversations with my children in regards to God’s standards, and being careful about what they select from the school library. I’ve taken away books from my children when they informed me of questionable content, and I’ve allowed them to read books that were borderline because they were courageous enough to ask me first.
That’s why I focus more on the Christian arena when I purchase books for my kids. Many people, including Christians, are skeptical of inspirational novels. The two biggest reasons I’ve heard are that they contain too much preaching and scripture, or the writing isn’t as high quality as mainstream novels.
While this may be true for a few stories, the vast majority of the current novels in the Christian market are quite competitive. With the assistance of organizations like the Christian Writers Guild, and the American Christian Fiction Writers, authors are refining their craft and turning out compelling stories in multiple genres. The stories I’ve looked over have very little preaching, but plenty of Biblical truth.
Bottom line: be sure you know exactly what your children are reading!
Coming soon: In part two, I’ll explain 4 benefits of reading Christian novels, and offer several resources for finding wholesome books for your children.
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