My daughter is obsessed with music. We can’t be within one foot of the living room before she is doing her dancing sign. It’s very endearing, especially because she looks like she’s trying to throw some gangster signs. Yesterday I had to pause The Fancy Dance, and when I did, some how it switched to a different station, and a man came on singing sweetly, “hey everybody, shut the !@*% up.”
I nearly had a heart attack and peed my pants at once. I frantically tried to turn it off while, of course, Micah kept asking, “what was he saying, mommy?”
My kids never hear language like that, but what bothered me the most was the fact that even in the safety of our own home, the filth of the world can still assault their innocence. I try my best to keep them from unnecessary exposure to the grossness out there, but despite my efforts, the stink crept passed me and threw itself on my kids.
It makes my blood boil. I know one instance won’t destroy them, but that’s not the point. The point is, we have a real enemy out to corrupt. To steal. And however dramatic it sounds, I felt that perverse word hit my home like a slap. I don’t like to hyper spiritualize, so don’t get me wrong here. But I do love the truth. The truth is, my kids are in my charge, and the enemy doesn’t want them to grow up loving Jesus. That means, we’re both going to be hard at work.
I know I can’t keep the world away from my children. Just walking in the mall with them yesterday, I was surprised to see how many perfume ads contained mostly naked people. Who knew that you had to wear hardly any clothes to sell perfume? Jesus didn’t tell us to run from the world, so I can’t expect to hide my kids from it. But that doesn’t mean I have to sit back and simply bemoan it’s perversity either. I can make decisions for my kids.
1. I can decide to address these things early. Micah’s old enough to understand the right/wrong concept. I can (and have) say that something we see or hear is wrong. We have turned off multiple shows that aren’t up to our standards, and we definitely talk about it afterward. And we have had one or two conversations about why people need to wear clothes. (and not moon other people…)
2. I can decide to steer our conversations to be about values. Not the sit-down-and-learn-this-value awkward kind of conversations, but incorporating values into our play and our everyday interaction. The other day I missed a call back from the Dr.’s office, and, feeling frustrated, I said “dangit!” Micah solemnly told me, “Mommy, you should not say that ugly word. Please use a kind word instead.”
3. I can decide to be the watchman. There is nothing more effective than prayer, and it is not only my job, but also my joy to pray for my kids. As their parent, I have the authority to stand in front of them in the heavenlies and do spiritual battle on their behalf. No, I cannot cover their eyes from billboards as we drive, but I can cover their little souls in prayer and trust that Jesus will preserve them. I feel like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings sometimes, who stands before the enemy and declares “you shall not pass” in the lives of my children. With the Lord on my side, we draw a line and battle at that line until we have won.
4. I can decide to confront and correct. If you know anything about me, you know I hate confrontation. But in being a parent, I’ve realized that I have to confront a whole lot of things all the time. Just today I confronted Micah on trying to control who I get to talk to and when I get to talk to them. We’re a very open family. We talk things through and we don’t leave things unsettled. We don’t have secrets from each other, and we accept correction because it’s given in love. By creating this open atmosphere for communication, we set the stage for being able to address issues later on. We believe strongly in being transparent with our kids, and letting them know that sin is wrong, but that we CAN overcome it.
I didn’t intend this post to be long, but the more I write, the more I can say. Our world is hostile to innocence, but our God joys in it. In becoming a parent, I can understand some of God’s heartbreak over our sin – the mere thought of my kids’ encounters with this corrupt world is enough to drive me to my knees. Let’s be on our children’s side and be strong in spiritual matters for them. Let’s make decisions to guide them to Jesus and the freedom He offers as they mature and encounter perversity. Let’s live lives that show satisfaction in Jesus so that they want what they see. And let’s allow the Lord to burden us for our kids and bring us to our knees often. No, we can’t shelter them from the world forever, but we can point them to Jesus. And He is enough.