The Berenstain Way

We are on a Berenstain Bears kick in our house right now. I find myself skipping words when the bears name call and cringing a little at the parents behavior. Reading these as a parent for the first time is definitely enlightening. I realized tonight though, that I may need to reflect a little bit more on what is making me uncomfortable about these books.

The lessons are moral. Someone makes a weak choice, experiences the consequences of his or her actions and then discovers a better path. What is making me itch is that the parents are just as likely to fall into a negative behavior as the children are – why should that make me nervous? I suppose it is because we, as a society, don’t tend to put our flaws out there for everyone to see. Flaws – and morality lessons – are for children.


I think I have been missing the point Stan and Jan were trying to make over and over again. It is not only children who need repeated reminders about kindness, sharing, compassion and humanity. We need to remain teachable from the time we are cubs until we are grandma and grandpa grizzlies. My sobriety and my humanity depend on it.

I make weak choices. I experience consequences. I am always capable of choosing a better way. The Berenstains had it right – we don’t do our children any favors when we imply that the lessons are only meant for them.

Light, help me be an example to my children of the importance of remaining teachable. Grace and Peace.

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