Redeeming Storytime: From Neverland to the Gospel

For the last few days, my boys have been all about Peter Pan.  We let them watch the live action version from 2003  this weekend and the questions about Neverland and the duels with Captain Hook have yet to cease.  Since Saturday, every night before bed they want to hear another story from the world of the boy who never grows up.

How is a responsible father to deal with this near-obsessiveness?  There are two options I can think of.  On one hand, I could cut them off, telling them, “Boys, now that’s enough of Peter Pan for now, too much of a good thing is bad for you, so let’s talk about something else, okay?”  This tactic is not necessarily wrong, but I think a second option is better.

On the other hand, I could affirm the fun and wonder of Neverland that they latched on to and use it to point them beyond Neverland to a better place; an actual, non-fiction place and the way that will lead them there.

My boys and I talked about heaven last night after my oldest expressed that he wanted to go to Neverland because he didn’t want to get old.  After I explained to him that we must get older in this world, God gave me the wonderful privilege of telling him of the reality that, in heaven, “death shall be no more” (Revelation 21:4), which means we won’t get old there.  Our bodies will be young, strong, and vibrant in heaven and there won’t be an evil Captain Hook there to threaten our joy.  “The reason for this”, I told them, ” is because Jesus is there.”  He is the way to get there and He is the One who makes it all so wonderful!

Parents, our kids may be more enraptured by books, movies, and video games than the things of God, but the reality is that those things are not better.  It is our job to show them the reality that God’s story of redemption exceeds all the competition.  Search for ways to use the things they love to point them to what is supremely fantastic.  Use the shadows of their world to draw them to the substance that is the Gospel.

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

One response to “Redeeming Storytime: From Neverland to the Gospel

  • David

    That’s an excellent use of the story (besides the main one of pure enjoyment)! I also think the 2003 movie was exceptional in showing the underlying sadness in Pan’s choice not to grow up, how despite the wonderful nature of Neverland, he was supposed to grow up and not stay a boy forever. When I was young, I too wanted to be Peter Pan and live forever in adventure, but in watching the movie there’s no escaping the loneliness Pan feels as his friends leave for real life. Not even Tink can banish that loneliness. In fact, I think J.R.R. Tolkien said it best in his essay “On Fairy Stories”:

    “Children are meant to grow up, and not to become Peter Pans. Not to lose innocence and wonder, but to proceed on the appointed journey: that journey upon which it is certainly not better to travel hopefully than to arrive, though we must travel hopefully if we are to arrive. But it is one of the lessons of fairy-stories (if we can speak of the lessons of things that do not lecture) that on callow, lumpish, and selfish youth peril, sorrow, and the shadow of death can bestow dignity, and even sometimes wisdom.”

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