Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Recommendation: Recommended

As I've stated before, I'm not a fan of the Berenstain Bears, however I would say this story is worth reading as it covers a topic seldom dealt with for children.

Brother and Sister Bear have a case of the gimmies, "the worst case of the galloping greedy gimmies" according to Papa Bear. A trip to the mall reveals the severity of their selfishness as they beg for candy, plead for a ride and throw a temper tantrum for a special toy they want. Upon returning home, Papa Bear sits them down and explains how they can't have everything they want and that they should count their blessings. It has no effect on the young cubs as Gramps and Gran show up and the cubs immediately ask if they brought them any gifts.

In the end the family comes up with a plan, one treat can be purchased each time they are at the store and they must not ask for anything else. The plan seems to work and the cubs stop begging and pleading for more and more stuff.

Positives: I believe this story is worth reading for one reason - it deals with selfish, greedy behavior, something every child, and adult too for that matter, struggles with. Although I don't agree with many things in the story, it does give us an opportunity to discuss these behaviors and attitudes with our children. I did appreciate as well, that Mama and Papa Bear recognized how they contributed to the Cubs problem.

Negatives: Papa Bear is not respected. Not only does he give in continually when Brother and Sister Bear whine, he gets angry and yells to no avail and when he speaks with the cubs, they don't really listen and learn. His parenting is ineffective. The cure for the gimmies, given toward the end of the story, is quite ridiculous in my opinion. The cure for selfish behavior is not to get one "treat" every time you go to the store. Lastly at the end when brother and sister seem to be over the "gimmies" they are quite proud of themselves and show disgust for another cub who has the gimmies.

Talking Points: At the beginning of the story they ask the question of how and/or why Brother and Sister Bear got the "gimmies." They come up with all sorts of reasons. This is a good time to discuss sin with your child. Explain that the reason we behave selfishly is because we are born sinners (Rom. 3:23, 5:12). You will also want to talk about the attitudes and behaviors Jesus desires of us. Use passages like Phil. 2 and look at the example of Jesus' unselfish attitudes. Also use Matt. 6:19-24 and discuss our love for worldly goods. I Thess. 5:18 is an excellent verse as it very clearly states that God's will for us is to give thanks in all things! Lastly, I would discuss pride. At the end of this story the Cubs are very proud of themselves for having victory over their problem. I would talk with your child and let them know that any victory they might experience over sin is only by the grace of God (Phil. 1:6)./

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