I think sometimes as parents we forget we are still training character in teens and tweens. Sure, we begin when our children are little (and it’s very important to start young), but the character-training does not end ever, and surely not as our kids enter adolescence.
Two of my favorite ways to train Ben’s character are through natural consequences and situations that pop up spontaneously.
The other day, Ben was listening to the radio theatre version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from Focus on the Family. He came running to me asking about Turkish Delight.
A quick Google search landed us on the WikiNarnia site, where the opening description goes like this:
Turkish Delight (or Lokum) is a sweet, made with starch and powdered sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater or lemon.
It was Edmund Pevensie’s favourite sweet, and a magical (enchanted) version of it was offered to him by The White Witch. Like all of her magical food, it was highly addictive, making those who ate it want more and more, thus making them easy for her to control. With it, she was able to get information about Edmund’s siblings from him, as well as learn about the Faun Tumnus who had helped Lucy escape, and easily trick him into betraying his family and attempt bringing them to her.
Ben really just wanted to know what Turkish Delight was and to ask if we could try it sometime, but after reading that description aloud, he made a surprising comment:
It sounds an awful lot like the devil.
Me: “Turkish delight?”
Ben: Not really the Turkish Delight, but the way the White Witch used it against Edward. SHE sounds an awful lot like the devil!”
Me: Tell me more.
Ben: “It’s like me with computer games. But they aren’t the devil either.”
Me: “Really? What do you mean?”
Ben: “Some computer games are like magical lands — you know, like Minecraft and Roblocks. They are very addictive to play — every time I play, I want to play more and more. Sometimes that makes me disobey you and Dad. I’ve even been tricky about it, sneaking on the computer when I shouldn’t.”
Marcy: “Those are great analogies, Ben. Do you have other thoughts about that?”
Ben: “It sounds an awful lot like the devil was using the Turkish Delight to trick Edmund. And he uses the computer to trick me.
Our conversation continued off and on throughout the day. There was discussion about the consequences of Edmund’s inability to resist the candy, and Ben’s inability to resist the computer. And what we do as Christians to arm ourselves against satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6, Philippians 4).
I share this story to illustrate the power of great literature, like C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and for some kids, the radio theatre versions of these books, in convicting our children of their own seemingly unrelated sin, as well as training character. Ben is currently spending much time reading and listening to audio books as he suffers the consequences of some pretty restrictive time in his room after several incidences of disobedience and deception. These are important lessons for him to learn, and while I can talk all day long, and even quote Scripture (and I do that, too) that illustrates the exact same point — satan loves to use our weaknesses against us — having the lesson taught through Edmund’s love of Turkish Delight was priceless that day.
Don’t miss these opportunities to challenge your children with great life lessons learned in literature and audio drama.
Benefits of Radio Theatre include:
- Radio theatre is fun and engaging for kids (adults, too). Great for those times when you need them to settle down. Better than any movie! And they can quietly draw or play with Lego at the same time.
- Radio theatre encourages imagination and creativity. As your kids are listening, they are seeing the scenes unfold in their mind’s eye. It will come out in their creative play, art, and conversation.
- Radio theatre engages those kids who are struggling readers and think they hate reading.
- Radio theature inspires reading in kids who don’t struggle, too. Ben does not struggle with reading, but he is often inspired to read the book after listening to an audio drama. That most recently happened with Under Drake’s Flag (warning: if your kids are like mine, they will listen to this one about 15 times the first week)
- Radio theatre teaches critical listening skills.
- Listening together is fun, and will likely provide opportunity for great discussion you might otherwise have missed.
Times to Engage Your Kids in Radio Theatre:
- Bath time
- Quiet time
- Car time
- Room time <ahem>
Here are a few great online stores that carry these kinds of character-building radio theatre audios for you and your kids:
Lamplighter Publishing (start with Charlie’s Choice)
Heirloom Productions (G.A. Henty books) — Under Drake’s Flag and In Freedom’s Cause)
Jonathan Park (creation adventures)
Does your family listen to radio theatre? Have you found training character in teens and tweens with radio theatre a useful tool in your home? What are your favorites?