We are long-time VeggieTales fans. WHO DOESN’T LIKE VEGGIETALES?! Our kids grew up watching them, singing the silly songs, leaning about right and wrong and soaking up the Bible stories presented in a fun and engaging way. We thought, what could be a better way of introducing Bible stories to unchurched kids in our neighborhood than watching VeggieTales together?! So yesterday when 4 first and second graders showed up on our patio to play – in 97 degrees in blasting sun – I told them to run home and ask their parents if they were allowed to come into the cold room instead to watch some cartoons with Bible stories. They ran back with their “OK” so we started our VeggieTales Club … or so I thought.
With the little ones we watched the episode about Madame Blueberry, who had a lot of stuff, but wasn’t happy. She learned that it was a thankful heart and loving people that made you happy, not stuff from the StuffMart. A little later 5 other kids came, mostly fourth and fifth graders, some of them regular church goers. So I thought we could try to watch the VeggieTales movie about Jonah. Well, I was in for a shocking revelation. Neither the little ones were able to sit through 30 minutes watching their cartoon, nor the older ones the 82 minutes long movie. They were so nice though. They did their VERY best trying to sit nicely, but it looked like it was physically painful for them. They kept standing up, stretching, jumping, or laid down on the floor, rolled around, stood up and sat up onto the couch again. Anything BUT sitting in one place. And even though I saw that they got engaged with the story, the characters and the colorful visuals of the video, they were not able to pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time. They watched it, then they looked at me and asked a question that had nothing to do with the cartoon, then watched it again, danced for the music, then asked me another question again about something completely unrelated to the story. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do.
I remembered that our kids used to watch all VeggieTales, short and long, glued to the couch, paying attention to every word. … That was 10-15 years ago though. … Having only taught in college, I haven’t experienced yet how short the attention span of many kids is today – and was not prepared to handle it. I will have to talk to some of our teacher friends and figure out a better setup. Right now I can’t imagine how, but we won’t give up!!!