It isn't always fun to share. It's not. Do I sometimes feel good after? Yes. It's it always fun? Nope.

So, I was watching a kid's show with the little boys today. They don't watch much TV and only watched about ten minutes today, but when I need to distract them enough that I can eat lunch, I'm okay with them being entertained. Today's episode was about sharing, and I thought, "Great! Even if they don't understand it, sharing is a part of their lives right now. They have to share almost everything."

In the show, a character expresses reluctance to share and is encouraged by talking trees that "sharing is FUN!" They even sang a song about it and everything was happy.

Except it's not true.

The problem with moral relativism and the separation of church and life (you know, when church stays in church and everything outside of church is free from church) is that it compels people to attempt to create catchy or encouraging phrases to espouse the values we all feel deep down we should have, apart from any real basis for those values.

If not for Christ, then for what?

So, we end up with children's show after children's show (and even some adult shows, when they feel like they can get a message in there) that happily bombards kids with those moral foundations we instinctively know we must have to exist as a society: Sharing is FUN, isn't being nice NICE, don't be afraid there's nothing to be afraid of because MONSTERS are silly and probably afraid of you!, stealing is WRONG because you feel bad, lying is wrong because it HURTS you.

I realize I'm starting to sound a bit like my grandfather and I'm okay with that. Because you know what?

Sharing isn't always fun.
Being genuinely nice sometimes hurts like nothing else.
Monsters are freaking scary.
When we are apart from Christ, we do have something frightening to fear.
Stealing is wrong because our Judge decided it was.
Lying is wrong because it hurts others.

And all of these things can be summed up pretty simply by a passage in Matthew 22:37-40:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The ultimate problem with teaching these values (which are important values) apart from any basis of Scripture or faith is that eventually it becomes extremely evident to a child that there is no basis for these rules as they've been given.

If one's only moral obligation to share is to share because it's fun, then what happens when it isn't fun?

Truth is, we should share because we recognize that what we've been given isn't ours anyway. We should share because God wants us to bless others, and to tell you another truth, I'm a little bit afraid of God. He's pretty mighty and I'm pretty small.

We should share because I recognize that He is mighty and I am small and He has chosen to be gentle and loving to me anyway. I am compelled to do the right thing out of a desire to please Him, not out of a desire to make myself feel good about doing the right thing.

That's a lot to cram into a kid's television show. That's why we're called to be the primary educators of our children. It isn't the media's job to get the message right. It's our job.

Because those slogans will not be true. Those slogans will prove false time and time again. If it is all a child has for a moral foundation, expect that foundation to crumble at the first challenge. When sharing isn't fun, they will decide not to share. When lying hurts them a little less than it saves them from real discipline, they will lie. When something scares them in the dead of night, "silly monsters" will not comfort or save them.

But we don't even have to lecture our children on sharing or not lying or being kind. We can sing scripture to catchy tunes, instead of fluffy little slogans. We encourage a child to share with, "This is the right thing to do," instead of, "Won't it be fun?" Sometimes, we say simply, "Share," and don't give them a whole lot of say in the matter. (Like for me, right now, when my little boys lack the understanding or self-control to even decide if they want to do the right thing or not.)

And as they grow, that greatest commandment will, in every situation of their lives, prove true over and over again. Those words they have stored in their hearts will never fail them. They may challenge them, try to rebel against them, question them, struggle with them, but they will always, always, always be true.

When they share because it's the right thing, to please Christ and not self, it will be true.

When they decide not to cheat on a test because they fear God and not because a few people might be mad, it will be true.

When they decide not to cheat on a spouse because they know, despite any emotional or physical neglect, that God will honor their self-denial, it will be true.

This is a challenge to me, even as little TV as my kids watch. What am I filling our interaction time with? What am I saying, how am I acting? How am I building a foundation for them, a foundation on the Cornerstone that is Christ?

How are you building? What do you do?