I am tired of my 8 year old son being b-o-m-b-a-r-d-e-d with sexual imagery!
I want his biggest concern today to be whether our new puppy was the one who dug the ugly hole in our backyard. (That was his crisis of the morning!)
I want him to be a pre-adolescent innocent kid!
Not someone who has to have an opinion on the rainbow draped White House and Chobani yogurt ads.
Problem is....he is living in the same world that I am and you are. And we know his ears will pick up on the cultural talk.
So here are some helpful ways I have found to give him the childhood he deserves!
1. Get my definitions correct.
Jesus says we should be "innocent as doves but wise as serpents." (Matthew 10:16)
Notice He did not say we should be naive (meaning gullible and easily tricked) or ignorant (meaning uninformed of something you should be warned about.)
In our parenting today, it will be up to us to sort out this important difference!
Miriam Webster online has these definitions of innocence:
a : freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil : blamelessness
b : chastity
c : freedom from legal guilt of a particular crime or offense
d (1) : freedom from guile or cunning : simplicity (2) : lack of worldly experience or sophistication
We want our kids to be free because they have no personal experience with evil.
And we want to celebrate their lack of worldly experience or sophistication as good!
2. Remove media as needed.
Every family must make their own decision about the use of television and movies. But make no mistake about it. Every random unsupervised hour of viewing challenges our kids' innocence like nothing else.
3. Go back to having real fun!
Getting dirty in the back yard. Building a fort. Making a horrible mess in the kitchen inventing a cake. Dragging out the picture albums. Playing the board games.
What if you intentionally turned the hands of the clock back a few years and did not do something electronic! (Warning: you will have more mess to clean up. Hmm. Could that be one reason we allow them to plug into the media stuff anyway? Perhaps as parents we better decide what kind of mess we would really rather have!)
4. Frame… but don't remove human drama.
Some parents in an effort to do #3 and #4 inadvertently sanitized their kids’ world into a state that made them even more curious (and vulnerable) to the television and movie industry! I have watched this in myself and others.
The fact is, we cannot keep our kids in a nursery Winnie the Pooh land. Their own human curiosity will break them out!
Instead, frame the drama with a biblical perspective. Start by checking out the Old Testament. It is full of drama and disaster. It is not sweet and sterile and cute. It reveals history in all its flare. Good vs. evil. Obedience vs. rebellion. These are true stories, which according to 1 Corinthians 10:6 & 11, “occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did….These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”
Over the years I have noticed books can be a real help in this area. But what if you have a child without reading skills or desires?
When Josiah, my eight year old, was five, I got him interested in audio books. I gave him a bucket of Legos and let that imagination of blood and guts and drama be satisfied with classical books of the past. Boy stuff like Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson.
5. STOP the images...in your own mind and reject them in others who influence your kids.
I was appalled when I read about the Facebook post by Hillary Clinton affirming a gender-confused child. What could have led him to identify himself as homosexual at such a young age? He needs counseling, prayer, love and truth… not more confusion.
Then I read the outrageous story of the lesbian teacher who intentionally altered kindergarteners view of sexuality!
I have made up my mind these things will not define my kids...(or grandkids!) I will do what it takes to protect them. (Think mama bear here!)
Take an inventory in your kids' lives. Who is in danger of stealing their innocence right now? Who do you need to back them away from???
6. Pray for them every day
In reality....only God will protect my kids from this mess. My job is to pray, trust, and act on the leading of the Holy Spirit.