Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekend Family Movies: WWJD II: The Woodcarver & VeggieTales: Robin Good

It's Lent. Stewart just said to me, "just think about God." We should be doing this all year long, but, if you're a Christian who observes the season of Lent, you probably do it more during this forty day (not counting Sundays) season from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Many people give up something during this time to remind themselves daily about the sacrifice of Christ. It might be coffee, chocolate, red meat, fast food, baths, or something equally luxuriant (bath forgoers take showers instead). This year I've decided instead of giving up something, I'm going to try and do something. It was spurred by the talk given by Stacie Wood in my previous post. I'm going to try and fill my mind with good thoughts so that I can be nicer to my kids. It's amazing how faithful God can be when a person decides to do something after God's own heart. It was as if the moment I made the decision, I got two emails about some great family videos that would help me do exactly what I was hoping to do.

WWJD II: The Woodcarver
The next installment in the What Would Jesus Do? series from Vivendi Entertainment and Nasser Entertainment stars John Ratzenberger (Cliff from "Cheers"), Woody Jeffreys , and Dakota Daulby.  Matthew Stevenson (Daulby) is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest (Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit since his wife's death, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church's beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.

As I watched the film, I noticed how the constant fighting between the parents was affecting Matthew. I'm guilty of this, Stewart doesn't want me to fight in front of the kids but I can't seem to control my anger sometimes. Maybe it's the constant flux of pregnancy, post-partum, and nursing hormones that have made me crazy but I can't get a grip on the rage valve. I really need to ask myself the question that Ernest has Matthew ask himself in the movie, "What would Jesus do?" Jesus would not be yelling at his spouse about some infraction (not putting clothes away, asking me for the millionth time where something is, forgetting to take H to school) in front of his children. I need to CUT. IT. OUT. The craziness of Matthew's dad (Jeffreys) in the movie also made me hear myself. It does affect children and if I don't change, then there is no telling what kind of acting out will happen with my kids. I'm really glad to have watched this movie so I can remind myself to act in a more loving way, even when I am disciplining the boys. This film really made me think about how parental behavior affects kids. 

VeggieTales: Robin Good & His Not So Merry Men
The faith-based animated series takes on the Robin Hood legend in this newest VeggieTales adventure. When the evil prince of Bethlingham oppresses the have-nots by stealing their food, do-gooder Robin Good and his fearless associates launch a project of stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

The boys have been watching too much secular TV and this film came at the perfect time to give us a dose of goodness during this Lenten season. The boys could clearly see how ridiculous it was that Sir John was taking away hams from people, saying he didn't have enough, when he had hams coming out of every corner of his palace. A teachable moment--greed is NOT good, kind people share, and sometimes when people are grouchy they are just hungry (SPOILER: there is a giant in the movie that is supposed to be terrorizing the villagers but it turns out all he wanted was something to eat). One thing I found interesting was that the villagers were commenting on tough economic conditions, so it felt like the situation could be analogized all too real to real life. It would be nice if those holding all the hams would share so that the hungry in our society could get enough to eat.

The other features of the DVD that my boys enjoyed were the Leapin' Leap Year Lesson, "Bubble Rap" (Silly Song with Larry), and the bonus short "Lenny and the Lost Birthday." H said the best part of the short was when Lenny was crying in bed and then his mom came. Of course after he told me that, hugs were shared, then H told me, "you're the best." The power of talking and singing vegetables! We wanted to share all the great things we learned from the DVD, and H&R agreed right away when I asked them if we should send it in a care package to a missionary family in Japan. If you need a video to spread some warm fuzzies in your family this weekend, this is definitely one to consider.

The lessons from these two great videos will stay with me for a while. Thank you to Vivendi Entertainment and Big Idea Entertainment for providing them to our family!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did receive product samples to facilitate my review.

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