innocence or purity: the state of being unsullied by sin or moral wrong; lacking a knowledge of evil
This has been on my heart so much lately. Due to some recent conversations with my youngest sister, I just have to vent....
So, I have 5 sisters and 1 brother. Our family is blended ("his, mine, ours" type of thing). There is a 5-1/2 year gap between the "older kids" and the "younger kids" (ages: 17, 15, 13). The "younger kids" aren't so young anymore. They are being raised so differently from my teen years. They have so much authority in the house. They can pretty much do what they want, say what they want, watch what they want, etc. It partly has to do with this ridiculous culture of ours, and it partly has to do with some type of mid-life-less-parent-more-friend crisis my mom is going through. (I am not writing to bash my mom, I just need to give a little background.)
The thing that's bugging me is...kids these days, including my siblings, aren't given a chance to be kids anymore. I mean, all music does is glorify multiple sexual partners, and kids clothing designers are making thongs, mini-skirts, and tube tops in size 2T... And adults, they are just letting it happen. Like my mom, she has just reliqueshed her authority over her OWN children! Not to mention, that since adults aren't being good examples, the kids aren't being taught the TRUTH. As in God's truth. The only truth that exists in our lives. For example, the other day my younger sister was in the car with me. It had just stopped raining and there was a rainbow. I exclaimed, "How gorgeous is that rainbow!" and "Rainbows always make me smile!"....and she said, "Ew! Why would the gay symbol make you smile, you aren't gay." I was floored. Did my very own sister not know what a rainbow truly represents? My heart broke for her. I explained to her the true, Biblical meaning. She was actually interested but honestly had no idea that meaning even existed.
WHAT is going on here?!?
I am a parent now. This issue bothered me before but I felt powerless to make any impact. Now, I just cannot believe that to be true because I have to fight it. I have to fight it for my son. I am most definitely not a prude. I have made many mistakes (and still do). But, I cannot and will not allow Alex to have these mainstream, anti-religion, selfish people be his idols. How can I possibly do that when they are everywhere?!? I am not going to be one of those parents who shelters their kids becasue then they cannot hold their own in adversity. I just hope and pray that I can educate him and be a good enough example that he can stand strong when his faith is tested.
As of right now, Camron (my 19 month old nephew who I watch all week) and Alex are only allowed to watch the younger cartoons on the Disney Channel (Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Imagination Movers) and the Christian movies I watched as a child. I don't want them watching cartoons that use violence and subtle adult humor (which, sadly, is most other cartoons). Also, I have found that the Noggin channel has some decent things. And this is when I let them watch cartoons. I don't think that cartoons let children develop their imagination and I think that is one of the key elements of innocence.
How can we ever expect children to live a happy, content, fulfilled life when at the age of 7 they no longer have the innocence necessary to be optomistic. I can't honestly believe that a 13 year old girl who is pregnant by her boyfriend of two weeks, a 15 year old boy who just found out that he has an STD, or a mother who just found out her middle school kid has a drug problem is happy. Those short-termed "highs" never last. Kids shouldn't even be allowed to be pressured by these things. It shouldn't even exist in their minds.
On the other side of this innocence problem, there are children who are out there trying to fight this. They are not being heard. For example,my youngest sister. She is having such a hard time in middle school. She sees herself as (these are her words) a "weirdo", someone who can never have a real friend, ugly, unattravtive, and a dork. Now, I have posted a picture of her. She is absolutely gorgeous. She is very smart, gets good grades. She believes in the Lord. She has a good sense of the difference between right and wrong, and becomes overwhelmed with guilt when she does break His rules. She loves her family. She loves her friends. She loves some of the most unloveable people. So why doesn't she love herself? Because the culture today doesn't agree with her. The mainstream society doesn't recognize these people. Her family ignores her... (The kids who cause the problems get the attention...negative attention, but attention nonetheless.) Only on God's power this girl has not faltered and still stands up for her beliefs, but it is taking a huge toll on her self-esteem. I know that people shouldn't do good things just to be recognized for it, but she is a KID. She needs encouragement. She needs to know that she is doing the right thing. No one tells her how great her ideals are. Her peers think she's weird that she doesn't do some things they do.... I can't stand it. I told her that God knows her worth. He loves her and appreciates her for all she does for Him. I told her that there are some people who are in their mid-40s who don't even know themselves as much as she knows herself. I am so proud of her. I want Alex to be like her. It's a miracle she has gotten this far on her own. Her innocence in the midst of all her wordly knowlege inspires me. I hope I can help Alex preserve some of that innocence as well.
Alright, now that I have written this novel, I think it's time to head to bed.
I have listed some books that I have found extremely helpful:
Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson
Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson
Saving Childhood by Michael & Diane Medved