Grief has opened it’s yawning door to me this last week. Sixteen years later you wouldn’t think that the pain of saying good-bye to your son would sting as much. Seeing the articles and hearing about the Gosnell trial and the bombings in Boston have set me on a rocky path of sadness. I was sobbing one night and my oldest wondered why. Do I tell him? I don’t want my kids to ever have to know about the tragedies, the horrors, the incredibly atrocious things that are going on in this world. I want to shield them.
Then again, they are going to learn about some of those things from their friends, or they will endure hardship and need to process it. There is no way to shield them from everything. I believe we need to let our kids be kids and not show them too much too early but we also need to prepare them to process those events which may occur to them or in the world around them. I stopped lying to myself and my son a long time ago when I found myself saying “It’ll be ok.” when he was experiencing something that he didn’t think was ok at all. It was then I realized I need to prepare my kids in an appropriate and godly fashion for hardship that will inevitably come.
I am now homeschooling our 11-year-old because of some of the effects of our society and how it has impacted his world and made school unsafe for him. This morning we discussed the Gosnell trial and what it is all about. We discussed abortion, women who face difficult decisions about unexpected pregnancies, serial killers, adoption, love, forgiveness…we covered a bit. In fact, because we are homeschooling, I ended it by saying “Well, I think we about covered the ‘health’ topic for the day.”
I firmly believe that we should not let kids start seeing violent images, whether on TV or on video games/computers for a good long time. Too many people think that it’s just fine to allow kids to play 10+ games at five years old or Teen or Mature games at 10 years old. Numerous people allow their babies and toddlers to watch R rated movies with them, exposing them early to sex, violence and offensive language.
Then we all wonder why bullying is increasing instead of decreasing, with all the Anti-bullying campaigns. We scratch our heads when a five-year-old cusses out his Kindergarten teacher or pushes older kids down. We stand stupefied when our “Just don’t do it” rings hollow in the ears of a preteen who is trying out drugs. We don’t even blink that everyone thinks promiscuous sex is “normal”.
I am finding out that even if I keep my kids away from seeing age-inappropriate things, everyone else (or it seems like it) is exposing their little ones to it. My kids hear all about it on the school ground and then try using swears with me. Uh uh. My kid wonders why everyone else can play Call of D*ty when all their peers are doing it. My kids are the ones who have been pushed around the playground because they are being taught at home to be KIND and to be kind even when people are unlikable.
There is nothing I am saying that hasn’t been said before. If “everyone” knows this stuff then why aren’t more people changing the way they do things? Even very secular studies and programs are telling us what I have just said.
As a believer in Jesus, I want to live as he lived. He was the most humble, gentle, loving and pure person/God that has ever existed (the Only One, actually). I can never be all that he was on this earth, but I can become more like him. I am also teaching my kids about Him too. I hope that they will embrace his grace and then share with others around them. I believe this is the Only way that change will actually happen.
I want you all to know that I fail miserably as a mom, at times, so I am trying not to sit in the seat of judgement but instead call us all to action. The action to love and to teach our children what is good and right. You don’t have to be a follower of Jesus to get that, although I would say that it’s a very amazing thing, to follow him.
Everyone else thinks I’m crazy. Well, everyone except for all the other crazy people who know the Truth.
I wish we could let kids be kids.