Monday, March 10, 2014
Christan living in a highly sexulized world
I hope that it is not just me, but have you noticed that the message that sex sells has gone into every part of life and it is aimed at a younger and younger age. I am overwhelmed at the challenge of keeping my kids modest and virtuous while living in such a world. It is everywhere.
Clothing styles send mixed messages. I have become frankly disgusted at recent clothing styles. Even clothes for baby and toddler are "suggestive and provocative". We have people who think that a two year old girls with "sexy" written in big letters on their chest or butt is acceptable, not in my world. Have you tried to find decent underwear for a young girl? At the beginning of the school year I went to buy underwear and there was nothing to be found for my two girls age 4 and 6. There was an abundance of really skimpy undergarments (even black lacy little things and thongs)Why would a little girl of this age need lacy thong underwear? All this was at a big box store during the back to school sales. I couldn't believe my eyes. Then I finally found some briefs that might fit but they had such vulgar pictures and sayings on them. We continued to look until we found something that was more appropriate. I could not believe that they would market such things to the young kids and their parents, and by the way I was not the only one. There was another mother at that same store that was struggling like I was. She finally gave in and purchased the least offensive underwear for her girl.
It is everywhere. Our young people are bombarded with it. Here in Utah where I live, a mother took it into her own hands. She was in the mall with her young son and was disgusted at a clothing display in the front window of a store. She went in and asked the manager to remove the display. When they refused, she bought up the supply of offending clothing so that it could not be displayed. You can read an article about it by clicking the link below.
It is not just in the clothing styles it is in the toys marketed to our children. In a recent article from Huffington post I was surprised but not shocked to see what is happening I knew it, but this article really spoke to me. It was interesting to see the pictures of how classic toys (dolls in particular, and it is more than Barbie) are modeling what is happening in society. Toys have changed with the attitude and behaviors of society. Our society is ever changing and with new technology it is even more prevalent then ever.
What do we do when the average age that a child is exposed to pornography is 8 years old? The kids are exposed to it way before they are ready to understand it. I just recently read a disturbing blog post on the Matt Walsh blog about our children in the school system. In some parts of the country there is a little book that is required reading for 4th grade (9-10 year old) students. This book is all about exploring sexuality. It is a cartoon book that explains to children about their sexual body. It endorses and teaches children how to explore their body and how to masturbate, along with how to put on a condom etc. I will warn you it is not easy to write this nor to read about such books. There are some real disturbing things about it, some may turn their heads at it and not wish to read, but I think it is important to start a discussion.
We have to continue to fight. We have to fight for our own virtue and that of our children. Immorality, highly sexual behavior, pornography these things we are seeing all around us are considered vice (an older word that we do not use anymore). Vice is defined as evil, immoral, or degrading practice or habit. Virtue on the other hand is the polar opposite. We have to know one exists to fully know the other. In order to become virtuous we have to be aware of vice. We cannot ignore that it is there. But we have to beware that we do not become too familiar with it. Alexander Pope in and essay on man writes so beautifully a warning on this.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744) An Essay on Man, 1733-1734
Epistle II, line 217
Here is an article that explains this so well.
Vice is a monster
Our society has come to embrace these evil things. The trouble is that many of us are well on the way to embracing it ourselves . Like the mother cited above who gave up the fight to buy decent underwear and bought the least offensive of the bunch, It was a pain for me to make the efforts to go to a different store but I wanted to set the example for my children. I hope will last a while. I was in discussion with my neighbor about my girls wanting to take dance lessons. They very much want to participate in dance, but it seems that there are no dance troops in our neighborhood that are decent and that I want my children to participate in. My neighbor says she has had her girls in local dance troops and before her girls even begin lessons she makes the leaders very aware that her girls will be wearing modest outfits. They haven't had too much trouble. It is just a part of family life. They have been taught what is acceptable and what is not. She did have one daughter that had to quit a dance troop when she stood up and said "I will not do that move". There was discussion between the girls about the dance move, Several of the girls said they were uncomfortable with the move, yet they gave in. She was the only one that refused.
Sometimes I wish that we could wrap up our children in bubble wrap and keep them safe. we cannot do that. These things will come into our lives. They are there but we can limit the exposure so it is not so familiar to them. We can fill their lives and brains with the good things. We can encourage those around us to be good. We can get involved with our schools. We can write to the tv stations and radio stations expressing our concern. We need to speak up. We can, and will be heard if enough people speak up. We have forgotten, we have become complacent in the fight against evil. We have begun to embrace it. We have to speak up, and/ or refuse to participate.
We need to take control. We need to have the courage to stand up and teach the children to do the same. It begins with you and me. We have to start a discussion long before we ever thought possible. Gone are the days of having "the birds and bees talk" when the children begin to reach puberty. It is not enough to talk about it once. We have to let the children know where we stand from a very early age and we have to stand firm. We have to talk with them often about the rules, but most of all we need to give them the skills to navigate these things. We cannot go about being snow plow parents clearing the way for them. Our children will be exposed to evil, but what they do when exposed to evil is very telling of the principles they have been taught.
Take the opportunities around you to teach the children what you believe. I know one mother who took time to talk with her kids recently during the super bowl when there were some commercials that were not appropriate came on. It was a good opportunity for her and her family.
I think we would be wise as parents and leaders to talk about modesty in a manner more than just clothing rules and behavior rules. I think it is good to establish clear boundaries of what is acceptable in the way of clothing and behavior, but then to follow that up with a discussion of why we have those rules and how it protects us. It is important for our young people to understand the why behind the rules. They are more likely to keep the rules if they know why they are expected to keep them.
Above all. Teach the children to love the Lord. Teach them to have a desire to serve him. When the desire to be modest comes from within themselves and not from rules imposed by others it is much more easily enforced. In church this week the speaker made a great point. She said "We do not need to teach the children to know both good and evil, but to know good from evil." We were warned in the bible about this. Jesus taught this in Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Be carful that you are not holding to the things of the world which are really of no worth. Teach correct principles and the children will govern themselves. I have to thank my parents for their efforts in teaching me this way. My siblings and I turned out pretty good because my father worked hard to instill in us a testimony of Christ and a desire to be good, in turn we governed ourselves pretty well, needing only a few course corrections along the way.
MY PRAYER FOR YOU TODAY IS THAT YOU WILL TAKE THIS POST TO HEART. THAT YOU WILL BE AWARE AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST EVIL. THAT YOU WILL EMPOWER THOSE YOU LOVE TO BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THEIR WAY THORUGH THIS WORLD, AND THAT YOU WOULD SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY OF CHRIST ALONG THE WAY.
As an added note.
Opening a discussion on this kind of a topic can be very hard. It is not always easy to begin especially if this kind of thing is not a regular part of your family life. One thing that may be of use is to institute a safety bubble. The safety bubble is a place that your child can go to and be able to discuss anything and ask any question without fear and anxiety. In this place your child can be free to discuss anything on their mind and get it out in the open air inside this bubble. All the child needs to do is say. "I want to ask you something or talk with you inside the bubble." You then find a place where you can be alone and let them talk.
There are some absolute rules to the bubble. Your only job as the parent is to listen and try understand the concern, not to lecture, or judge. What was said during these conversations absolutely stays within in the bubble.. It is not to be let out, not to be discussed in your office or elsewhere like your book group. The bubble can be anywhere, but be sure that is a trusted environment. This is the place where you can find out the heart and mind of your child. The information collected in the bubble may be very enlightening to you as a parent to what is really going on in the life of your child. It can then be used to guide and direct the child to finding answers. Please do not misuse the bubble to get the child to admit to doing something or for other reasons like this. It can lead to damage in a relationship. This is a trust thing and is meant to help families stand strong and to foster understanding.
There is a book written by Napoleon Hill Called "Outwitting the Devil" It talks about how the Devil gets us in his grasp and is a good warning for us today. It has some great ideas for how we can win the battle. I have included links below for a paper version or a 5 CD set.