Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why I Love Patch the Pirate For Children

We all know how difficult it can be to find quality anything for children. From toys that break in a day to mindless shows like My Little Pony (which, unfortunately, my daughter loves), it seems that we have just dumbed down life for our children compared to generations past. Instead of tackling normal issues in a realistic but age-appropriate way, we have decided that being ridiculous and superficial is the way to go as long as we try to tack on a general moral at the end of the story. And the pickin's are even more slim if you are a parent trying to teach your kids how much Jesus loves them, and you are fervently praying every day for them to choose His best plan for each of their lives. 

So when you find a gem, it's just gotta be shared. When the musically talented Ron Hamilton was in his 20s, doctors discovered cancer in his left eye. He went into surgery and woke up with his eye removed. Tough break for a guy so young. The hospital staff told him he was going to get to wear a pirate patch, and according to his own testimony, all the kids nicknamed him "Patch the Pirate" once he got back to church. What came from this trial was a yearly stream of character building stories and songs for children dating all the way back to the 1980s.

My own history with Patch the Pirate comes from being in the same generation as his children and growing up listening to and loving the stories myself (on cassette tape, of course). It was amazing when I bought Patch Goes to the Jungle for Cora when she was two. She didn't really give me much feedback, but I'm telling you all those songs came right back to me. I'm sure I enjoyed it more than she did. Most nights I still sing "My God is a Righteous God" to the kids while they are falling asleep.

In the beginning, we got the ones I had listened to as a child, but we have since branched out to the latest Patch the Pirate adventures, which include Alberta Einstein with her "Ein-phone" and all sorts of culturally relevant references. The older ones are a little less PC, much like everything from 20+ years ago when people weren't offended by everything imaginable. For instance, in Camp Kookawacka Woods, the Native American chief has a deep voice and says, "mmmm." But he is also representative of Jesus at His return, so you know there is nothing truly negative to be inferred by that. 

I'm not sure why more people have not heard of the Patch the Pirate stories. Maybe because they aren't marketed a ton. Or maybe because he identifies more with the musically traditional denominations and has spoken openly about not wanting to embrace contemporary Christian music in the children's songs he writes. Fine with me. His convictions are his convictions. I love me some contemporary worship music, but I actually prefer the songs like they are. There is obviously talent behind every song, and you can hear and understand the words, which are pure gold for your children to be hearing. 

Absolute treasures. 

From silly songs, to songs teaching kids about hygiene, to theologically rich songs about the gospel and the Christian walk, your kids will truly be "setting their minds on things above" (Col 3:2) and learning basic truths.

Some of the earlier songs are even Scripture taken from a KJV Bible version, since that also was more prevalent back in the day. But again it really is ok to want to lift our children to a higher understanding and knowledge and widen their vocabulary a little. Coming from someone who appreciates the older hymns still, throwing in a "thee," an "abide" or a "shall" every once in a while never hurt anyone.

I love these stories more all the time, and I have heard them A LOT. I'm telling you. A lot. My kids listen to them in the car, in quiet time every day, and sometimes just when we are doing things around the house. They are always asking me, "Mom, can we listen to Captain Patch?" I love having something they are interested in that doesn't involved a screen, so I barely limit it at all. 

I highly encourage you to check it out. Even if you are not completely blown away listening for the first time, just wait a few more times. You will probably be just as blessed as your kids. 
I'll leave you with the words to just one of so many awesome songs. Cora's latest fave is The Custard's Last Stand, during which the silly, fainting, language-challenged Sissy Seagull (Shelley Hamilton, Ron's wife) sings "Thank You, Lord" along with a choir of children. As I was listening to the song to write out the words (there is no Google for most of these lyrics), Jack said, "Hey, Mom, you wuv this song!" Yes, I do, Little Man.

Loving Shepherd of my soul
Keep me close, I love you so
Lead me where the waters flow
In Your rich, green pasture
Be my Guide, I'm in Your care
Keep my feet from every snare
I will follow anywhere 
You call me to go

Thank You Lord; Thank You, Lord
I will thank You Lord
In Your will I'm content
I'll not wish for more
I will seek Your Kingdom first
I will trust all that You do
Thank You, Lord; Thank You, Lord
I rejoice in You

Shepherd of eternity
All my future You can see
Show me what is best for me
I trust in Your goodness
In the valley I'll not fear
Through the storm 
Your voice I hear
Your strong hand is always near
I rest in Your love

I don't know about you, but I want my kids listening to words like this every day! 

Find the Patch the Pirate stories at or on iTunes. And feel free to ask me for any recommendations for newbies to the Patch world!