What Can the TV Show Blue Bloods Teach Us?

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Why is CBS’s Blue Bloods my favorite TV show? Is it the thrill of detective work, the sporadic courtroom drama, or the unique glimpses of New York life? None of the above. Rather, I enjoy the family dynamic presented each week.   

The Reagan family has “blue” blood, meaning police life runs in their veins. The patriarch is Grandpa Reagan (Len Cariou), a retired New York police commissioner who manages the house. His son, Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), is the current commissioner presiding over the family. Frank’s middle son, Joe, was killed in the line of undercover duty. His daughter, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is a district attorney and a divorced mother of a young adult daughter. The wife of Frank’s oldest son, Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) was murdered in a helicopter “accident.” Danny’s two teenage sons are also in the picture. Frank’s youngest son is Jamie (Will Estes), a recently married and promoted police officer.

The Reagans gather for Sunday dinners at Frank’s house, where the primacy of family is displayed. Strong arguments and lively family exchanges happen as opinions or observations regarding a variety of topics are aired. No matter the disagreement—and there are many—each family member supports the others.

Their loyalty and commitment to one another are striking. Apologies are offered when necessary, and grace is given. They say a brief prayer at the beginning of each meal, even when disagreements aren’t yet settled. What’s touching and encouraging is the way brother and sister come together, how brother and brother work things out, or the way father and son come to a resolution, always showing strong respect for one another, as do daughter and dad.

What often moves me to tears is the family bond of love. Frank is patient even when he does not agree. Erin, a district attorney, respects her commissioner dad. The sibling’s love surmounts even heated disagreements, and after the chairs are straightened out and the dishes are back on the table, the family enjoys a meal and each other’s presence. Disagreements and misunderstandings are worked out. Love and respect intertwine as they should. We viewers can take some of the Reagan family’s lessons about closeness to heart. 

Watching Blue Bloods, I wonder if I’ve been a father like Frank Reagan, who’s not afraid to show toughness and tenderness. Have our sons learned to disagree while remaining committed to one another? Have we accepted personality differences while remaining intensely loyal and committed? Do we grab flowers and head over to apologize when we’ve been stubbornly wrong? How can I learn from this show as a father, a leader, and a pastor? Is our bond of family love, a commitment to each other, strong enough? 

I’m wondering, what do the Blue Bloods have to teach us as blood families and as the family of God?

About the Author

George Vink is retired after 50 years as a Christian Reformed pastor. One of his sons is an accident investigator for the Calgary (Alta.) Police Service, and his two brothers are retired from that position. He and his wife, Shirley, are members of Covenant CRC in Cutlerville, Mich.

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