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What to watch? Christian moms offer vacation video guide

Getting ready to head to the beach or the mountains for that summer vacation?
Don’t forget to pack some DVDs that the entire family can enjoy.
Just in case you’ve about worn out the movies you keep under the television set, we asked five Christian mothers from across the nation to name four videos they recommend.
Amazingly, there was not one duplication. Consider this your video guide to a great family vacation. Look over the list, stop by the video store and enjoy summer vacation!
Katherine Cooper worships with the Pitman church in Sewell, N.J., where her husband, Dan Cooper, has ministered for 23 years. She works part time in the church office. She has four adult children and a granddaughter.
“When Zachary Beaver Came to Town” (2005). Zachary Beaver, “the Fattest Boy in the World,” is stranded in a small Texas town. Two local boys befriend him — and discover that Zachary longs to be baptized. I wish this movie had been around when my children were considering being baptized.
“The Gospel” (2004). This movie is a modern retelling of the Prodigal Son story of Luke 15. The story shows the futility of a worldly lifestyle and upholds the importance of the nuclear family. Our family especially loves the music!
“Evan Almighty” (2007). This is not just a movie about building the ark — it is a family devotional waiting to happen! This movie is a great tool to make the story of Noah come alive for children, while you enjoy family laughter in the process.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (2006). My children and I read the books together — and now I will be able to watch the movie with my grandchildren! C. S. Lewis created a fantasy world where evil reigns — but the Lion is coming to save them. This tale explains good and evil in terms that children can understand.
Melissa Roe has served on the staff of the Harpeth Hills church in Nashville, Tenn., for nine years. Married to Phil for 25 years, the Roes have three children. Her father is Bailey McBride, editor emeritus of The Christian Chronicle .

“No More Baths” (1997). Keagan McPhie is a 10-year-old with a heart for helping others. When an older man who has befriended the children in town is treated unfairly, the children support him through a peaceful protest. This film models healthy family and parent/child dialogue.

“Rudy” (1993). Rudy wants to play football at Notre Dame. He doesn’t have the physique or the athletic ability, yet his love of the game inspires him to follow his dream. This movie reminds us that value is in a person, not the job he performs.
“The Kid” (2000). Russ is a selfish and greedy image consultant. As his 40th birthday approaches, he encounters himself as an 8-year-old boy named Rusty. Together they face the past and reassess priorities for a better future.

“Fly Away Home” (1996). Amy finds herself living with a father she has never known after a tragic car crash takes the life of her mother. This is the story of a father and daughter finding a relationship with each other as they nurture a flock of orphaned Canadian geese.
Loventrice Farrow is working on her Ph.D. and teaches Bible classes at the Naperville, Ill., church. She speaks at Christian women’s conferences and other events. She has a son and a grandson.

“The Lion King” (1994). This one I saw on the big screen and later added to my personal video collection. The adventures of a young lion cub who comes of age and eventually takes his place as king of the jungle.
“The Incredibles” (2004). I love the animation in this movie and sharp dialogue between the characters. This is the story of the emergence from retirement of former superheroes who work together with their children to save the world from an evil villain.
“Cars” (2006). If you want a good laugh, see “Cars” — a very charming story of a self-assured hot rod, Lightning McQueen, who learns some valuable life lessons about what is important from the residents of Radiator Springs.
“Toy Story” (1996). A good all-around story about pride, jealousy and friendships. Yes, toys illustrate the story, but there are lessons to be learned about togetherness, being a good neighbor and relationship restoration.
Tamie Ross is online editor of The Christian Chronicle . She and her husband, Bobby, have three children.

“Charlotte’s Web” (1973). The animation is choppy, the colors are less than vibrant, but that could be because we’ve almost worn out our VHS tape of this classic. The story illustrates so well how extending a hand (or leg) in friendship can affect so many lives. It’s also an age-appropriate lesson on life, death and legacy for anyone.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971). We know Charlie’s going to pull that golden ticket out of the candy bar wrapper, but feeling his “all or nothing” moment, seeing him conquer the establishment and overcome the entitlement of the other four winners is such a rush. Just desserts aside, hope is the essence of this Ross family favorite.

“Field of Dreams” (1989). Plowing up thriving cornstalks, laying down a baseball field and putting the family farm on the line: Strength of conviction is a powerful motivator. This movie teaches with a nice blend of history and baseball — giving ghostly legends a chance to right wrongs while keeping present-day characters from making the same mistakes.

“Back to the Future” (1985). This film moves fast and tosses lots of characters in youar path, but we love the challenge of keeping up with equal parts nostalgia, science fiction and teenage angst. Marty McFly teaches us that parents can always learn from their children, that it’s never too late to stand up to a bully and that it’s always possible to fix mistakes.
Judy Square is an adult education teacher in San Leandro, Calif. She and her husband, Woody, have served the San Leandro church for the past 16 years. They were missionaries in Papua New Guinea for six years. They have two children.

“Remember the Titans” (2000). A newly integrated high school football team overcomes many obstacles on the road to acceptance and unity. Inspirational, funny and moving, you see different characters display self-sacrifice, humility, courage and a change of heart. Great ’70s music throughout. Our family’s favorite movie!

“Akeelah and the Bee” (2006). An 11-year-old girl’s quest to become the national spelling bee champion explores themes of perseverance, overcoming odds, self-sacrifice, dealing with being different, telling the truth and loyalty. Heart-warming and uplifting.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1947). A man contemplating suicide is shown by an angel what the world would have been like without him. Great for showing how ordinary people with a heart for serving others make a huge difference. Elicits discussion on values and what really matters in life. Although an oldie, it is fast-paced and engaging enough for modern kids. Guaranteed to make you cry at the end!
“Scrooge” (the 1970 musical starring Albert Finney). No child should miss seeing this tale of a miser who is visited by three ghosts and learns the error of his ways. One of the greatest stories of redemption ever written! This musical is my favorite rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” While fun and entertaining, it loses nothing of the poignancy of the story.

HAROLD SHANK is the Chronicle’s reviews editor. He is a professor of Old Testament at Oklahoma Christian University.

Filed under: Reviews

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