Concluding Thoughts: A Cautionary Tale from the Berenstain Bears


Have a seat on your carpet squares, folks: it’s story time today.  This little excerpt is from “The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule,” which Abby got in her Chick Fil A kids’ meal a few months ago.

“What’s the golden rule?” Sister wondered.

Mama’s eyes widened. “The golden rule is one of the most important rules there is,” she explained. “That’s why we have always had it hanging up on the wall of our living room.” She pointed to the framed sampler above their mantel.

Sister gazed up at it in amazement. She had seen that sampler every day of her life. No wonder the words seemed familiar! “Oh,” she said, a little embarrassed. “I never really thought about what it said before. What does it mean?”


Poor Mama Bear. She’s trying to do right by her kids, but she’s made a classic mistake. If she believes that the Golden Rule is one of the “most important” things for her cubs to know, it’s going to take more than a sampler over the mantel to impart it to them!

I was excited to stumble upon this page the other day, because I can use this example without worrying that the person in question might accidentally click over here and recognize herself. But I could have just as easily have used myself as an object lesson, and probably most of you.

It’s easy to think that the atmosphere and decorations in our home will speak for themselves, or to assume that our kids’ ability to recite prayers or Scripture means that they understand what they are saying.  We mistake compliance, general pleasantness, and participation in our family traditions for the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our children.

But the gospel of Jesus Christ is too important to leave to chance osmosis. We cannot trust our samplers and playlists to instruct our children in the way they should go!

Don’t forget the lesson of that famous Not-by-Saint-Francis quote, “Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words”: Your example is important for establishing your credibility, but in order to preach the gospel it is ALWAYS NECESSARY to use words!

So have fun creating a liturgical home that is full of symbols and metaphors, images and smells and auditory cues, but don’t forget to talk, talk, talk about what and why you are doing!

Keep Reading: Butter and Cream for the Soul



2 responses to “Concluding Thoughts: A Cautionary Tale from the Berenstain Bears

  1. Carolyn Dickinson

    I have read your entire series and loved it. I am guilty of thinking that a Christian atmosphere in our homes will inspire our children to receive Christ. Your words today remind me that WORDS are necessary! I have enjoyed the examples you’ve given this month of the liturgical home, something I had never thought about “growing up Baptist”. Thank you for enlightening, educating, and encouraging us to incorporate these practices into our daily lives.

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