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Unhelpful Impressions  
Unrelenting action, high-tech weapons and exotic locations. Stingray had it all. At least it seemed to when I was five. The mid-1960s television drama featured high-functioning marionettes, not live actors, to portray a futuristic submarine fleet of crime fighters. Powered by imagination, laced with explosions, Stingray delivered a solid half-hour of undersea thrills.
I loved it then.  I love it now.  Enough that I bought the entire five-disc series on DVD and now share this magical underwater past of mine  with our grandkids.

You’d think that in an age of green screen, CGI and 3D animation Stingray would be sunk.  But the kids love Captain Troy Tempest and his sidekick, “Phones.”  Then there’s Marina and Atlanta, who share a competing love interest in Troy.

Firmly in charge of “Marineville” is the gristled gray haired Commander Shore.  The grandkids often mimic his recurring comment,“Stand by for action.  Anything can happen in the next half-hour!”

There's something else about Commander Shore the kids have unfortunately observed.  The boss smokes an occasional cigar (looks strangely believable in the mouth of a marionette).

Recently our daughter texted us a photo of her kids who were munching on apple sticks—long skinny treats that admittedly resemble…well, a cigar or cigarette.  Recalling their Stingray pal, they clenched the apple sticks between their teeth claiming, “Now, I'm Commander Shore!”

I chuckled. Then cringed.  And thought deeply.  We are picky about what videos we let our grandkids watch.  Stingray’s story lines champion courage, selflessness and goodness. Still, Commander Shore has apparently made a deep (unhelpful) impression on our little grandkids.

I wonder—how many other “unhelpful” impressions do we leave with our little ones?  What other useless or damaging habits, words and actions do we expose them to?  We tell them they cannot watch something on television but we ourselves are glued to that same forbidden show.  We tell them church attendance is vital, but we ourselves may have a spotty record.  We tell them they cannot have a glass of this or that, yet perhaps we indulge freely.

Proverbs 22:6 counsels, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”  Notice that phrase, “the way they SHOULD go.”  If we I gnore this warning, despite our highest hopes, our parenting will almost certainly…get sunk.

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016