About a year ago, my daughter who was two at the time found Veggie Tales. Fruits and vegetables that tell stories from the Bible using modern twists, including Indiana Jones and The Princess and the Pea. It does mention god and Jesus throughout the entire show. One episode later and my daughter was hooked. She completely fell in love the cucumber. She calls him "Pickle".
A few months ago, Veggie Tales Live! came to my grandmother's "non-denominational" Christian church. She invited us to go and I said that would be awesome. I love any chance to hang out with my grandmother. This particular church is a mega-church. So, we walked into the auditorium's lobby. Immediately, Ivy runs toward the Veggie Tale booth with all of their stuffed animals and toys. She picks out a flashlight toy and a stuffed pickle. We sat down near the front and waited for the show. Most of the other little kids were sitting quietly as if this was a real church service. As the lights dim, men dressed as giant vegetables stumble onto the stage singing their opening song..
If you like to talk to tomatoes,
If a squash can make you smile,
If you like to waltz with potatoes,
Up and down the produce aisle...
Have we got a show for you!
Immediately, all of the kids just gasp in awe. My daughters eyes lit up and she couldn't believe she was seeing the real Pickle! Before long, she was jumping in the middle of the isles and dancing her little heart out. Most of the other children were standing by their parents, not sure if they were allowed to move from their spot. Soon, they couldn't stand it and joined my daughter in the isles. They were all having a blast and it was nice to see my daughter getting the party started! In the end, it was a great show and a great way for my daughter to spend precious time with my grandmother.
Why, you may ask, would I let my kid watch something that I believe is utterly false? If asked, Ivy knows Pickle is just a cartoon. She'll also say the same of Elmo, the Iron Giant, and Woody from Toy Story. To be honest, I don't think she even gets the concept of god that is mentioned along the storyline. She sees veggies dancing around, sing songs, and being polite to everyone. I will say that it does teach good values and some of their songs are quite catchy. It leaves out all the gory stuff about hell but hey, it is a kid's show after all.
My daughter also watches science documentaries, The Blue Planet, Planet Earth ect ect... She loves them too. She's fascinated by monkeys and tigers. When asked, she knows these animals real. We can visit a zoo and see, and sometimes even interact, with the animals. She knows that these do exist in reality.
I don't want to keep my child in the dark about the Christian religion. The majority of my family would label themselves as Christians and Ivy will begin to hear about the many religions as she gets older. So, what's the best way to introduce a three year old to religion? In it's basic form, a fairytale.