No. 244



The other day a lady sent me something in the mail that had such a deep and profound message that I want to share it with you. She begins by saying, A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our entire family spellbound for hours each evening. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didnt seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up--while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places--go to her room, read her prayer book and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But the stranger never felt the obligation to honor them.

Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house--not from us, not from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My Dad was a teetotaler who didnt permit alcohol in his home, not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much, too often) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger. As I look back, I believe it was by the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more.

Time after time he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. But if I were to walk into my parents den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His Name?____ We always just called him T.V.!!.

In my own life, I can still remember when we first got a T.V. as well. Shows like Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Happy Days, Ozzie & Harriet and even Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies were good wholesome entertainment. Along the way, since those days, something happened and our whole culture changed. Dont misunderstand, Im not saying that all T.V. is bad because that would be wrong, but I am saying that we should be very selective in what we watch and what we permit our children to watch. It may be a cheap babysitter in the beginning but in the end the cost may be more than we are willing to pay. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)