I’m not a doomsayer. I do not believe society is trucking at 150 miles an hour towards the nether world. I see so much good in the world, and I know that much of the evil that we see day to day is done not through malice, but through ignorance.
So I would say that the world is travelling south more at 65mph.
Even I, the eternal optimist cannot pretend that it is remaining steady. It seems our nation is wealthy not with cash, but with sin.
Rather than list all the terrible things that are going on in the post Christian world, I will get to the point. How can we protect and prepare our children for the madness they are destined to walk into? How can we make them vehicles of change, help them to be the brakes that slow this caravan down?
Well, the way i see it, we have three options:
Hide your children in the closet.
Yup, that’s about the only way to stop the endless onslaught from movies, billboards, internet ads and Facebook commentary. You better make sure your closet is in the basement too, just in case. The moral evils in the world are so pervasive that underground is about the only place you can hide. Yes, I suppose you could go hide in a commune off in the wilderness somewhere, but those folks always end up a little crazy. St. Francis was thrown in a closet by his parents, and it seemed to work out okay for him.
(Just so that I am clear, this is jest. DO NOT PUT YOUR KIDS IN A CLOSET. I am speaking metaphorically, with heavy sarcasm)
I have some issues with this approach. Eventually, they will go off to college, and even if you send them to the most moral college out there, they will still eventually be exposed to all that you shielded them from. It comes as quite a shock to realize that the world is quite different from the way your parents presented it, and rebellion is all to often the chosen reaction.
This is just way too risky for me, and feels like putting my head in the sand. I understand why people do it, but I also think It is my responsibility to tell my kids about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and where babies come from.
There gonna see it anyways, let them have it.
Ahh, now here is the good ole American way. Let’s just let them figure it all out on their own. We’ll let the schools teach kids about sex, and out job is to make sure they have a nice dress for the prom. Yes, if we find out they are having sex and smoking marijuana in the bushes, we’ll get mad at them for not knowing better, ground them for a bit, and then let them decide whether or not they would like to go to church with us on Sunday.
No need to shield them from movies, they are going to see it all anyways, and I’m not exactly going to preview everything to make sure they can handle it. Their Facebook is their business, they need a safe outlet anyways. They are tough, they will figure it all out.
The trouble is, you are right. They will figure it all out.
Catholic Guilt Version 2.0
Praise the Lord for guilt. Guilt is a dang good thing. You should feel guilty when you are doing stupid things. I don’t know when guilt got a bad name, but in my house, we give it another name. It’s called conscience.
Yup, that’s right, conscience. This one is way way harder to practice then the other two, but It’s the way I’ve chosen to go. We pretty much have open rules about films, and I don’t cover their eyes when the bad parts come. (Okay, use sense here, 9year-olds don’t need movies rated R) But I don’t just let them watch willy nilly, oh no. I watch it with them. Yup. And here comes the magic part.
I put my voice in their head.
Every time some nudity comes on, I’m ready. “Wow, do they really think I’ll buy that toothpaste because she has cleavage?” Now at first, this was followed by, “Eww daaaaad!” Not anymore. Now they beat me too it. They see it right off, and it’s like I’m hearing my own voice coming out of their mouths. It’s awesome. “Hmm, I wonder why they decided to add this completely irrelevant sex scene to this movie.” now garners me the response, “So they could put naked bodies in the advertisement.” or “So they can get you to believe normal people actually act like that.” or “I’m gonna make some popcorn, you want some?” It’s like clock work.
The best part is, this is permanent. Even if they go and screw up later, they will still have dad’s voice in their head the whole way. Ten points for Catholic guilt.
The other day we were driving down the road and there was this huge provocative billboard, and I hear their conversation in the back seat. “Ooo, big naked people!” “Yea, really makes you want to drive to that casino and let them steal all your money huh.” Followed by girlish laughter.
I love these girls. As cynical as their father.