Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Have they lost their minds?

Last week my handsome husband and I went out on a date. It was his turn to choose the movie and he chose the latest Mel Gibson flick, Apocolypto ( We settled down in our seats at the dollar theater and I was somewhat surprised to see many parents with young children (the movie is rated "R"). About 15 minutes into the show the violence began. First, the protagonist's village in the rain forest is raided. It showed the brutal capture of the adults, the rape of some of the women and the abandonment of the children. I looked around to make sure parents were covering their children's eyes. Nope.

The movie continued to grow progressively more violent. Halfway through, the captives are lead into the Mayan capitol and three of them are sacrificed to the sun god. It showed their abdomens being sliced and their beating hearts being ripped from their chests before they are beheaded. It was gruesome. I had to cover my eyes. Surely the parents should be standing up and taking their children home at this point, right? Nope.

From that point on, the movie continued down the same violent path, showing, among other acts, stabbings, beatings, spearings, and impalements. I got up at one point to use the bathroom and heard a small boy (around 4) saying to his mom "this movie is scary." She told him to "shut up, it's just pretend." I was astounded. I went and had dry heaves in the toilet I was so upset about the poor children being subjected to this.

What is wrong with our culture when this is considered appropriate parenting? Why did the parents take their children to an "R" rated movie? If it was in err, why didn't they stand up and leave when the movie showed it's true colors? My husband pointed out that they probably just found that it was cheaper to buy tickets to the dollar theater than pay a babysitter. Ugh. Part of being a parent is doing what is best for your child. That means sucking it up and going to see "Flushed Away" or another G-rated, kid friendly flick when you cannot afford a sitter.

It seems sad to me that so many children are exposed to horrible violence like this on TV, in movies and in video games. These same kids later become angry, violent, rebellious teens and young adults. Why are we so surprised? We fill their minds with violence and wonder why violence is the end product. Maybe one reason our young people are angry is because they should have been protected.

Recently a friend was criticizing us for our plans to homeschool next year. "You don't want your kids to be sheltered, do you?" she asked. Yes! I do want my children sheltered. What is the opposite of sheltered, exposed? I certainly don't want my sweet, impressionable, vulnerable children exposed to the nastiness, amoral sexuality and senseless violence of this world. I want to allow their minds to be free from that garbage until they are old enough and have the moral foundation to process it. We certainly revel in the idea of the Lord being a refuge and shelter to us ("For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe." Ps 61:3), yet we want to deny our children the God-ordained refuge of parental discretion, forcing them to fend for themselves in a perverse world far before their hearts and minds are ready.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." This is what we should be filling our children's minds with: pure, lovely admirable, true, noble, right, excellent and praiseworthy things.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My little evangelist

Earlier I recounted hearing Nate try to lead Anna to the Lord, but I gave a shortened version. I was really impressed with his soul-winning little spirit. He had obviously thought about it and was genuinely concerned for his sister's spiritual health.

Nate got my "salvation" bracelet from my jewelry box and carefully explained to Anna what each color stood for. He then told her about how Jesus lived in his heart and was his friend. He said that Jesus would never leave her and when she died she would live with Him in Heaven. He then dropped the big question, "Anna, do you want to have Jesus in your heart right now?"

Anna cocked her head and replied, "Meow! I'm a pink kitty."

Nate exclaimed, "Ugh, girls!"

Later, we had a talk about it. He told me it was okay that Anna didn't want Jesus right now, he'd just talk to her again when she was bigger. He said, "Did you know, Mama, that the people didn't listen all the time to Jesus? And He is real God and everything!"

Not bad theology for a six year old. I pray that he never loses his passion for souls and remains the soft-hearted sweet boy that he is.

Selfish, selfish parents

Recently a friend sent an article to me from MSNBC about breastfeeding ( Being stupid, I looked at some of the comments people had to make about women who nurse in public. I was appalled. Many folks were up in arms over the idea of a child EATING in public. I mean, how dare an infant enjoy the rights of all other human beings? To eat! With others present! How foul! Many comments were rude and compared nursing mothers to pooping daddies, suggesting that both should do their business in the bathroom. While some of the breastfeeding squeamishness can be attributed to the adolescent views of breasts that some people are cursed with, I believe that the heart of the issue is the deep-rooted selfishness of our society.

We have come to the point in our culture where the needs and wants of adults always outweigh the needs of children. Babies shouldn't have breastmilk in public lest some adult be offended. Parents shouldn't stay married just for the sake of the kids. Moms shouldn't stay home and mother their children because they might feel "unfulfilled". Parents should pawn their children off on babysitters and let them watch television all day so they can "do their own thing".

It's sad. And until we, as a nation, start recognizing that it is healthy and normal to sacrifice for your children we will continue to decline. We must realize that our children and grandchildren are worth the momentary sacrifices and do what it takes to put them first.