Sunday, April 11, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ G Rated


Lately I feel like all I’m doing is censoring everything that comes into our home. Not an uncommon thing to do I guess as a Mom of 9 children. I have never been this conscious of the things they see, hear or are around. It all started when I brought our newest daughter home from Ethiopia. Soon after we came home I found out how much she was exposed to that we would never allow a child her age to see or hear. Nor would we be OK with the places she went with people who were in charge of her care. But that is a whole different post.

Within weeks I learned that she saw movies that I have not seen, nor care to see. She said, “I knew they were bad, sometimes covered my eyes, but everyone at the orphanage was watching them”. Sorry if I offend some of you – but we don’t think Harry Potter or X-Men movies, books, etc are godly things to put before our eyes and fill our minds with. Especially knowing God says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Nor was I OK when I heard she had already seen The Passion of Christ a year ago (which would have made her almost 11 yrs old) without a parent there to explain what she saw, what was truth, what was a lie and to deal with her emotions afterward. I know this goes against what many believe is a good thing and yes, the movie has some great points, however, that doesn’t change the fact a child’s mind is not really able to handle the violence seen in that movie – truth or not.

Before you all start emailing me or commenting how wrong I am – pray on it, read His truths and then if you still feel I’m wrong – send me verses in context that tell me so. I’m always open for biblical reproof, understanding and growing more in the grace of our Lord.

There is so much ungodly entertainment around our families, especially geared at our children, and teens - sorry but they are not equipped to discern what is of good repute, pure, lovely or right. Everywhere you go we are bombarded with inappropriate things – from how others speak (the words they so loosely use and say our Lords name in vain), how they dress (not being legalistic here either friends – can we all agree that if I can see down your shirt or up your skirt it should NOT be worn outside your home? If your belly is showing or if I can make out the color of your bra – something is wrong? Remember the do NOT stumble your Brother verse? Same goes for my daughters thank you!) to worshiping TV personalities and to a world that is now becoming complacent with abortion. Funny how those so pro-abortion are alive…ironic is it not?

Sins have become respectable. We are becoming more and more like the people of the Old Testament - doing what is right in our own eyes and not worrying about how it effects others around us. Or if God can get the glory through our lives – words, actions, how we dress, what we watch, listen to and read, the way we treat others, our spouses and children, our family and friends, or our neighbors. I have said this before and it bears repeating, “if what I am about to say or do will not bring glory to God and make a difference for eternity it is wasted time, energy and breath.” Do I get it right all of the time – NO WAY! But I will die trying to reflect Him more and more and me less and less! I must decrease so He may increase. John 3:30 I can’t serve the world and God. He says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in you.” 1 John 2:15

But let’s be honest – we all agree that sin is sin is sin. So does God. Mine is no worse or better than yours.

“…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” Romans 3:20-24

What does all of this have to do with parenting? EVERYTHING!

You see our job and goal is to train up our children in the way they should go. Not in the way of the world or less than what God wants for them or of them. Thank God He doesn’t give in parts. Thank God He is not a God of compromise either. Thank God He doesn’t change His mind or way to please Him. Thank God there is only ONE way. That way is narrow and few will enter into it. Why? Because it is hard to go against the world in all you do. It is hard to shut the world out and raise your children as if what is going on outside your home is not happening. Not to mention when you have a TV on most of the day bringing the world into their minds and hearts. Or when they spend too much time on a computer and are allowed free access to the internet. Once again, no apologies here, children don’t need to understand or be good at tweeting, *facebook*, or how to google things without you right by their side. I don’t know about you but I have innocently seen things when searching for an image to share in a post that are everything but godly. I can’t close my browser quick enough. Just tonight I was helping our daughter find a photo of a heart and sadly because she has seen so many inappropriate things already that were made normal to her for the last three years of her life – what I quickly passed over did not phase her. How tragic.

My heart breaks for the years I can’t turn back and protect her from those images now forever in her mind.

So now I am learning how to protect her and show her at the same time it is not her that I don’t trust, it is the world around her. And guess what? By God’s grace, she thanks me and has cried because of how my actions and our rules have shown her just how much we love her. Is that not reason enough to make a choice to say no to the world?

Friends, I am pretty sure you all grew up just like me without a cell phone, no computer, no internet, no tweeting, no text messaging and turned out pretty normal. For the life of me I can’t figure out why children as young as 9 yrs old are walking around with mp3 players and cell phones. I am sorry but when they are at school if there is an emergency - there is still a principal, secretary, and school nurse all very capable of getting in touch with you for them. Call me crazy but land line phones still work. I use mine daily just fine.

Are our children different? Yes! But that is exactly what God says they should be. They shouldn’t look or act like the world to anyone. They should be an example of what Christ came to do – set them free from the bondage of sin.

How can they do that if I’m like a dealer supplying them with every goodie the world has to offer and says they deserve?

How can they ever learn godliness with contentment is great gain if we never stop giving them “things”?

How can they keep themselves pure if I’m OK with their minds being filled with useless trash day in and day out?

So to answer the photo above – how do we raise G-rated children in an R-rated word? We choose to be different and OK with it.

Not self-righteous. Not legalistic. Not religious. Not bound by the law – but set free by them.

We choose to live by His grace and not quench the Spirit. We choose to listen to His still small voice and obey what He is asking us to do. We choose to trust in His way and walk in it. We choose to lay down our lives and follow after Him! We choose to say no to the things that can never bring glory to God and say yes to all the things that will! We choose to put Him on the throne of our hearts, home and lives. We choose to surround ourselves with godly influences and people that will point us back to His mercy and grace when we begin to slip. We choose to expect His best for ourselves and then trust Him to give it to us. We choose to believe this very thing for each of our children. We choose to pray and ask God first. We choose to be still and never forget that He is God. We choose to praise Him more! We choose to thank Him more! We choose to bloom right where we are and ask God to help protect us from the depravity of this world…while He empowers us to be the light that draws others straight to Him!

What are you allowing in your home today that has opened the door to the R-rated world around you?

Whatever it is - there is grace, mercy and love waiting for you!

Praying for each of us as we seek to trust and obey in His way and allow it to be lived out in our homes! Let us be the change we all so desperately want to see…let it begin with me!

Walking in His grace with you!



Angela said...

I love this post. Thank you for sharing. My family shares your views on Tv, and movies, Music and such. I am critisized all of the time for my views on the subject and I am glad to see that I am not alone in my biblical thoughts about it. This is often a hard thing for parents to come to grasp with, but they need to hear it. Thank you for being so open to share this post.

mommy24treasures said...

I am in total agreement Jill. I have found by keeping alot of what the world feels ok out of my children's life they are more innocent in their thinking, their ways etc... I am so dissapointed when I see many people think many of the Disne*y shows are ok. Just because they are supposedly made for children doesn't make them ok! The strife in their homes with their siblings, the disrespect for their parents, the sneaking and lying on these shows that is supposed to all be humerous... These shows also seem to make young girls think they need a boyfriend at a VERY YOUNG age. My girls have no thoughts about that sort of thing but I see so many Chloe's age that already think about these things.
I am so sorry for the things Lily has seen and heard. I pray the blood of Jesus washes those thoughts and images away and that in time as her heart is filled with His word they grow dimmer and dimmer.

LaToya said...

This was a wonderful post. I've been struggling setting new limits on certain things as well. With my oldest son's birthday gone there was many a battle about what I felt were appropriate gift. I had to toughly explain to a family member that while the Chipmonks were very cute that my preschooler didn't and wouldn't be watching a PG movie. I'd already seen it and there were some attitude issues that I didn't want in my home.

It is tough to stand for God and hold your ground but in the end it's the best thing that we can do for our children.

alicia said...

Thank you for posting about this subject! Thank you for sharing!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We just talked about this in Sunday School today. Each family seems to handle it pretty much the same here. G is good!

Shelli said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. I agree with all of that you said. It is hard to help our children learn to live in the world but not be of it. I wish there were more people who believed and acted with these things in mind.

Ticia said...

I completely agree with what you said. I might not agree on all the movies (I personally like Harry Potter, but wouldn't show it to my young kid, and think she wrote herself out of her age range later on, but that's another matter), but you are right we do have to watch what our kids see and hear and do. And just because your friend watches it, doesn't mean you are.

Joyfulmama said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! My husband and I read 1 Thes. 5:22 last night: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." We are passionate about protecting our children's hearts and minds, and something that works well for us was getting rid of our TV. Instead, we invested in a large screen computer on which we can watch 'G-rated' films as a treat on weekends. I have had to purge our bookshelves and CD's from anything that had 'the appearance of evil' - amazing how many books that was required reading for my university degree was not something I would want my children to read! I agree wholeheartedly with your views on the TV shows and movies you mentioned. Something else that irks me is the way teenage girls -even in our church - are dressing: Strapless dresses are not appropriate for church, and neither are skin tight jeans. God bless you as you raise your family right.

ana mª said...

Amén. No sé hablar inglés pero he leido con el traductor y puedo decir amén. Estamos en tiempos peligrosos para nuestros niños y para nosotros. Guárdemonos para nuestro Señor!!!

... said...

Thank you for this post - it was a great reminder of what really needs to be at the forefront of my mind. Unfortunately we live in a very rural area in a neighborhood full of children being raised without God and with zero values. It fills my heart with gratitude that my children are home with me (homeschooled), under my guidance, and that they are not cursing, testing the sexual waters, thinking that they have a girlfriend or boyfriend at 11, talking back to and rolling eyes at parents, etc., but it also brings me to my knees that they want to fit in with these kids.

Does anyone have any advice regarding such a situation? The neighborhood kids are out and about, riding bikes and laughing & playing in the neighborhood. My choice is to forbid my kids to be outside or talk to them - this would create horrible feelings of being excluded in my children, and unfriendliness in the neighborhood as the parents get offended that I keep my kids away from theirs. I've considered being out or busy when the school kids are outside playing, but my goodness I couldn't keep that up!

What I have been doing is having the neighborhood kids over at my house and constantly supervising, orchestrating activities, trying to be a Godly model for these kids. It goes well and they follow our rules when they are with us, but if I leave them alone with my kids they revert back to their regular behavior. And even with my supervision, my kids know they watch things, play things, etc. that they cannot and it creates trouble. Advice?


Charity said...

Wow, Aunt Jill! Thank you for such a wonderful post... we're not alone. Some of my Christian friends from our old church/school (you know the story) have wondered why I don't watch certain things or listen to certain stuff. Ummm...?
Thanks for the great post!
Love ya,