Lessons from Berenstain Bears

Ruby has a favorite episode of “Berenstain Bears”, the cartoon based on the book characters created by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  It’s called “The Green-Eyed Monster”. It’s been out of the rotation On Demand for awhile.  Since we both stayed home yesterday due to her flu, we watched it several times. I know I’ve written about jealousy before and how it’s tied to love.  This episode is not loving.  It’s about Sister Bear and her lust for Brother Bear’s new bike.  She gets Brother’s hand-me-down bike because he outgrew it.  He gets a brand new bike, a beauty that causes Sister’s heart to ache with longing. 

Mama Bear, noting the look in Sister’s eyes, calls her on it. 

“It looks like you’re in the grip of The Green-Eyed Monster”, she remarks.

“What’s that, Mama?”  Sister wants to know.

Oh, Sister.  You don’t even know what hit you right between the eyes.

I’ve never cared much for bikes so this didn’t hit me so hard.  The last time Ruby watched it gave her nightmares.  She hasn’t watched it for at least a year and a half.  Now that Ruby is six years old, I thought maybe she could handle the content. Not because of the bike, but Sister’s nightmare. In Sister’s nightmare, she actually sees a green version of herself, complete with pink hair ribbon.  This creature is angry and possessed with a victim mentality.  She urges Sister to get on the bike and ride it; she’s not too small.  She needs to prove she’s big enough.

And she deserves a nice new bike.

Isn’t that the real issue?  We deserve what someone else has.  Why didn’t we get it?  Why did we passed over for something that’s so wonderful?

The angry green thing makes such an impression on Sister that the first thing in the morning, she gets Brothers’ bike out, mounts it from on the porch and takes off.  Only she can’t stop.  There’s such a great picture here of what jealousy can do to us – a speeding bike moving under its own power and  we can’t employ the brakes.  In the story, Brother catches up to her and tells her how to stop with the handbrakes, something she doesn’t have on her own bike.  She’s not ready for 3 gears and handbrakes. 

The story ends happily.  Sister repents of her bad attitude and almost crashing Brother’s bike.  Brother, in a bit of kindness, offers to help her doll up his old bike with new paint, a basket and ribbons.  Sister learns to be happy with what she has and to make the most of it. She knows she will continue to grow and when she’s ready, she will get a more sophisticated bike.  She trusts her parents will do right by her.

This episode still gives Ruby nightmares, so it’s officially off the list of approved shows. Last night, it took her a long time to nod off. We talked about it quite a bit yesterday. The green-eyed monster is not real. It’s not a bear. It’s not alive. It’s invisible. It’s the devil, whispering in your ear. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy. We have to choose not to let him in and not to listen to his lies. He’s only doing what comes naturally to him. 

Life is sometimes unfair.  Okay, a lot of the time it’s unfair.  But we don’t have to live like it is.  We could each rant about our circumstances nd those who did us wrong, even rail at God for not giving us specific advantages at birth.  But what about what we do have?  What are we doing with that?