A Question Every Parent Must Answer

a question every parent must answer

 

Can Our Children Be the Exception in a Sex-Obsessed World?

This isn’t a post about Miley Cyrus.

And it isn’t even a reaction to all the reactions.

I read this more than a week ago and then I immediately sent it to my husband and rechecked the filters on our computer. I sat my 11 and 13 year old down for (another) conversation. I had to.

If you have the Internet at home or your child has access to it at someone’s home, if you ever leave them with family or friends, send them to public school, homeschool them in a co-op, if you are a parent and you have children, you should read this post, too.

It’s always painful learning what my kids are up against in our sex-obsessed world, but I can’t pretend my kids are the exception. I believe if you are breathing, you have seen an explicit image in your life time or heard about you know who’s raunchy twerking this week. Sex is a hot topic in our world (premarital, homosexual, extramarital, and pornographic).

And being sex-obsessed is a cultural norm in our society.

Doubt that bold statement? It’s the most recent facts: 1 in every 5 searches on mobile phones is for pornography and that’s not even counting home computers. And it’s not just the bad boys or girls searching. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women who attend church say they are addicted to pornography.

We talk regularly with our kids about purity, sex, lust and pornography.  (What we are teaching them). I firmly believe in sharing God’s standard for purity and sex before the world begins to tell our children what everyone else is doing.

When I shared the post on Facebook, a friend of mine asked, “Can our children be the exception?” My heart pounded at her question because I think the world would tell us no. But here’s what I answered: “I believe with all my heart it IS possible to raise kids counter culture to this “norm.” But I will say If you encourage your kids NOT to be the norm, they won’t fit in and be like everyone else and that presents an entirely different kind of hard, but it’s for their good.”

I know kids who are the exception and I’m sure you do, too. There are teens who aren’t sexting dirty pictures on their phones. Boys who aren’t experimenting sexually. Young adults who marry as virgins. Husbands and wives who aren’t hooked on pornography.

How do we raise children who are the exception? I don’t know. I believe we are on the path, but it’s a hindsight kind of journey. Here’s what I believe will lead us to children who are the exception:

  • I believe it starts with acknowledging what’s really going on in the world and talking to our kids about it.

  • I believe if we allow an atmosphere of grace in our home, our children will come to us when they make mistakes or have questions. (But we still need to open the conversation regularly)

  • I believe we need to let our children wrestle with God and His words on sexuality. We can teach them, but they have to decide if they will embrace truth. And when they make mistakes and give in to temptation and act human, we need to offer grace and forgiveness.

  • I believe we should say no to allowing social media privileges (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etc) too early: Social media is the perfect breeding ground for sexual promiscuity–from sending, receiving and viewing inappropriate images to interacting with people we don’t know (and our children don’t know), it can be very dangerous.

  • I believe it is our obligation to limit the influence of the sexual revolution in our homes. It is okay to check your child’s phone. It’s okay for them not to have a phone. It’s okay for you to put filters on the computers and devices in your home. It’s okay for you to control their access as long as they live in your house. It’s okay to turn the TV off and not let trash in.

  • I believe our children want us to know what they have done, what they know, what they are tempted to do, what they don’t want to give in to. I believe we should be their dictionary, not Google. Not only has satan bombarded our kids with graphic images and access at every turn, he has convinced parents not to talk about it.

  • I believe we can defeat cultural norms from becoming normal in our home by sharing our own struggles and experiences with our kids in an open, loving, God-filled environment of forgiveness and hope. It might even start with getting help ourselves first.

I pulled my 13 year old aside and asked what she thought about Miley Cyrus a couple of months ago after I heard about the new video to one of her songs. I even offered to watch a quick portion of the video with her because I believe if we teach our children right from wrong, they immediately know wrong in their hearts when they see it. I’d rather sit next to my kids and help them make that decision than discover later they watched something like her performance on a friend’s phone at church. (Because y’all, it happens everywhere).

Thankfully, my daughter didn’t have any desire to watch it. Her words, “I don’t want that trash in my mind.” I overheard she and her best friend say they were going to pray for Miley. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Because really? Our society has failed these good girl teen movie stars who are now proud of their bad girl image. Our girls have been oversexualized for years in our culture and then the world is surprised this is how they go about shedding their good girl image? Sex sells and the same people who buy it are now bewildered. I have to say, I’m not shocked, just sad at what’s become normal in our society. (Okay, so maybe this was a little bit about Miley).

With God’s help, I believe we can raise children who know right from wrong in a culture that is constantly changing the definition.

If we’re not asking ourselves if our kids can be the exception, we’ve already decided the answer.


WFMW: Amazon Mom

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I love Amazon. I love being a mom.  So, being an Amazon Mom  is a no-brainer for me.

Here’s why I love it:

  • It’s free
  • The first 3 months of your “trial membership” include PRIME membership
  • With PRIME, you get FREE 2 day shipping on all “prime” items during those 3 monts–which is a like a million things, seriously, from diapers to books to copy paper. You cannot beat quick free shipping.
  • You can do a lot of necessary shopping from your pajamas and not be judged. Ahem.
  • 20% off deals (always on diapers and wipes (not for my house, thankfully) like this:

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  • Unlimited instant streaming of gobs of movies. Um, hello.
  • Borrow a Kindle book a month for free
  • If you’re already a Prime member, you can join Amazon mom and get the above benefits

Sign up here today 

It definitely works for me!


For Every Mother’s Daughter

It was more than an hour past her bedtime and she appeared at the edge of our bedroom door. Again. It had been the same dance all summer. And my feet were tired.

What I really wanted to do was point my finger and march her back to bed.

But I knew one day she would stay in bed.

She saw my indecision and her lip trembled.

So instead I invited her to come to me. She walked slowly to the side of my bed. Her face streaked with tears and I knew she was afraid again.

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As soon as I tenderly touched her, the sobs came and I held her. What is it baby? I whispered. And the what if’s poured out…

What if your car breaks down? What if you can’t pick me up? What if you don’t come? What if I am alone?

Her fear was unfounded, irrational–this fear of being left and forgotten. I tried to calm, convince, comfort. But fear doesn’t make sense.

And in the moonlight, I knew this fear was bigger than even a mother’s love. I longed to promise her the world, give her everything, except pain and heartbreak, and guarantee life wouldn’t allow her what if’s

This moment-this was the astonishing hard place of motherhood.

Because I knew deep down from her first breath, the second the cord was cut, she breathed on her own and her first steps away from me came too quickly.

It happened with my own mother and I, she curled my hair every Sunday until I was 9 and then in a blink, I walked down the aisle into my best friend’s arms. I never looked back. Years later as I labored with this same daughter, my body racked with pain, doctors concerned, my mom chased my bed down the hall as they prepped me for an emergency c-section. Later she told me how she trembled and vomited in the bathroom…It was hard watching her baby have a baby. I can’t remember much about that day, but I remember her there for me. Always.

And I thought of this as I held my baby, trying to calm her fear, yet knowing life and love, living would come between the two of us. I’ve watched her older sister transform right before my eyes into a beautiful young lady and I can’t stop time or her steps away from me no matter how hard I try.

Last week my twin sister left her oldest daughter at college and I witnessed the gut-wrenching truth of letting your child fly. It’s a beautiful anguish, this growing up, for the mother and the daughter.

I looked my darling girl straight in the eyes and I spoke to her fear, the way a mother does with a daughter: I will be here when you sleep, when you wake, when you come and go. With every ounce of my strength, I will always be here for you.

Then Truth came because it must: And when I am not with you in bed when you can’t sleep or at school when you feel alone or when I don’t understand your fear, when I can’t fix your problems or protect you from mistakes, when your marriage is hard and your life brings sorrow and your feet are weary from the dance of  motherhood, who is with you?

She whispered His name: Jesus.

Yes, I said. Because He gave you to me and I gave you back to Him.

And when I can’t be there, He is. Always.

For the first time in months, she slept like a baby.

Because no matter how tall she grows or how far away she flies, that’s what she will always be to me.


A Prayer for My Children as They Return to School

School still life with copyspace on chalkboard

Dear God,

School starts on Monday. Thank you, thank you (sincere holy whisper). We both know that momma’s bag ‘o summer tricks is plum empty and hiding in the bathroom while my children argue upstairs is not going to work much longer.

We’ve got brand new school supplies tucked neatly into clean backpacks. The kids each have squeaky new tennis shoes and their first day of school clothes picked out, except for my son who doesn’t care, but you know that already. Thank you for providing every bit of it.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting ready. And ready or not, it’s time.

There are some jitters, wondering about getting the locker open on the first try, making new friends and who to sit by at lunch. And that’s just me. I know my kids are nervous too. You know I got a little emotional this week as I stepped into their world, walking the halls they will everyday. I have some worries, a few fears because I don’t like the cultural “norms” in our world – many aren’t normal at all in our family.  I am proud of the Godly choices my kids have made but with every new school year, they take a step further away from me and that’s hard for every momma.

But you urge us not to worry.  So, instead I’m praying this over them today:

I pray you will be near them when I can’t be.

I pray if they don’t feel your presence, they will seek you and discover you’re right there with them.

I pray you will surround them with peace and comfort in every new situation.

I pray when they are pressured, you will help them stand.

I pray they find one good friend, a brother or sister in Christ because it’s hard to stand alone.

I pray that 6 AM won’t come as early this year.

I pray when they fail, they will forgive themselves and try again.

I pray you will give the school nurse an extra supply of patience and bandaids for my first grader.

I pray my kids will befriend those that are new, lonely or both.

I pray they will not sit next the child who has to throw up in the class trashcan.

I pray they will be a blessing to their teacher and not a curse.

I pray you will bless them with Godly teachers as you have in the past.

I pray they will have fun. But not too much, if you know what I mean.

I pray they will let their light shine, quietly or loudly, but in their own way.

I pray homework will be light and not become Home. Work.

I pray that you will help me to trust their choices, let them go even when it’s hard, and pull them close when they need me to the most.

I pray above all, God,  that you would use their challenges, disappointments and victories to draw them closer to you this school year.

Thank you for every gift.

Amen

Kristen, mom of three


WMFW: Organization for School Art

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I’m about to have a first grader (again). And you know what that means? There’s a lot of cute refrigerator art coming home weekly.

We love art in our house! (Here’s my son’s latest piece):

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All year long, I stuff art projects into a box because I know I’ll want to keep some pieces forever. Here’s how we handle it:

  1. Each kid has a big plastic keepsake binder (here’s the one we use: Young Artist Studio My Art Portfolio)
  2. At the end of the year, my kids get to choose ONLY their favorite pieces that required the most work and that they are most proud of. (Usually we narrow it down to 5 things for my older kids, 10 for early elementary)
  3. We put them in the binder and toss the rest.
  4. If it’s an award winning piece (we had two this year make it on display at the Houston Rodeo- a big deal around these parts), we frame and hang them.

It works for us!