Why Every Pastor Should Watch Daniel Tiger

daniel tiger's neighborhood

One of my daughter’s favorite TV shows is a PBS show called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It is a modern spin-off of the classic Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

When my daughter first started watching it, I didn’t think much of it. But then something amazing happened.

She began singing these little rhymes in different situations to help her make good choices.

She would get mad at her little brother, but before she blew up at him, she would sing, “When you get so mad that you want to ROAR… take a deep breath and count to four. 1, 2, 3, 4.”

We would be busy doing something and suddenly she would stop and say, “Daddy I need to go potty.” Then she would sing, “When you have to go potty STOP, and go right away. Flush, wash, and be on your way.”

My favorite is when I tell her that she doesn’t have a choice for dinner. She has to eat whatever we are eating. Instead of getting upset she sings, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” (pronounced “git what you git”)

These phrases have now become part of my family’s vocabulary. For example, my wife and I often find ourselves reminding our daughter that “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

Daniel Tiger is my new favorite show, not only because it has helped my daughter, but because it has mastered the art of the Sticky Statement. (I wrote about the 6 Principles of Sticky Sermons here)

Every episode has a sticky statement that it repeats again and again, often in the form of a song. The fact that these statements have stuck with my four-year-old girl, and actually helped to change her behavior is nothing short of amazing.

Every pastor should watch this show and take notes. What would happen if every pastor preached more like this?

What if we all were as good as Daniel Tiger at using sticky statements?

  • What if when people in our church were about to face a tough situation a phrase from a sermon popped into their heads?
  • What if every youth pastor was able to craft these kinds of statements into their sermons so that teenagers could recall Biblical teachings when facing peer pressure?
  • What if our children’s ministries used memorable statements like these to teach our children Biblical principles? (although most children’s workers already have this down more than anyone)

This practice is nothing new. For centuries Christians have created songs and sayings to help people remember Biblical teachings and theological principles.

I’m not saying that you have to break into song in every sermon or start writing jingles. However, sticky statements are powerful.

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it: Watch Daniel Tiger. Take notes. And think about how you might be able to make the message of your next sermon stickier.

(If you want to learn more about crafting sticky sermons, check out my new book)

, ,

4 Responses to Why Every Pastor Should Watch Daniel Tiger

  1. Jesse 03/13/2014 at #

    As soon as I read the title, I knew where this post was going. My daughters watch the show as well. I’ve seen one episode, and it was probably two months ago. The one thing I remember from the show was the ‘sticky statement’ of “when you’re sick, rest is best.” It was repeated over and over to the point that my daughters say it when they or anyone else isn’t feeling well. Great reminder.

    • Brandon 03/13/2014 at #

      Thanks Jesse. You totally get this then! That is exactly what I’m talking about. The show just sticks with you.

  2. allen 03/13/2014 at #

    What a wonderful post. I love it. Thanks!

    • Brandon 03/14/2014 at #

      Thank you Allen. Glad you found it helpful.

Leave a Reply