Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Innocence Cannot Be Preserved...What Then?

Don't you just love the sweet innocence of children? Sometimes when I talk to them I find it sad that sooner or later they have to learn about some of the terrible things about the world and its history, as well as its current state. I use to love the time before our kids entered school when their lives were like little fairy tales ~ all full of goodness and light and safety.

I am that mother that wept every time when they were done with kindergarten and ready for the big play ground. It was a real bench mark for me that they were growing up and things would never be quite the same for them again. There would be no protective cyclone fence to keep the bigger kids away from their play area, etc. It is almost like first grade was the beginning for them of truly living in the world with all its ups and downs and people problems. It was very symbolic to me and I admit I didn't just shed a tear, I cried really hard each time it happened to one of my precious innocent babies. I have no doubt whatsoever that it is even harder in this day and age. I worry about this event for our grandchildren as well. Even though it is part of the plan, I don't like it much.

I often wonder how we can best teach them to understand man's inhumanity to man when we do not understand it ourselves? How can we give them the comfort they need when we have a hard time finding it ourselves? Just about every time I walk out into the world I come home shaking my head and locking the door behind me. I have been barraged by filthy language, mother's screaming at their kids in the stores, nasty looks from perfect strangers, inconsiderate people behind the wheel, blatant ignorance and rudeness, half-naked people everywhere...the list is endless. I like to think that I have collected enough armor to be somewhat protected from it at my age, but what does it do to the little ones?

Hold on Tight
by Liz Lemon Swindle

For us the saving grace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trying to teach the babies from the beginning about good and evil and which side to be on for their happiness and protection. The gospel is practical. It is a tool to help us manage life in the real world. It works. It is a shield and a protection to our kids.

Is it any wonder that in the scriptures we read that it will be on the heads of the parents if they fail to teach their kids about this practical protective way to live? Not really. Learning these principles doesn't just happen by osmosis. You have to make a conscious effort to teach them what is right and you cannot assume they just already know it. One of the most joyous thing about grandparenting is to reinforce those teaching to our next generation of little ones. Parents need all the tools and reinforcement they can get in this difficult stewardship they have been entrusted with by God. We want to be an instrument in His hands.

What made me think of this is a movie I watched last night entitled Ruby Bridges. It is based on a true story about a little black girl that lived in New Orleans at the time that school integration began. This movie was excellent for teaching children about the insidious aspects of racial prejudice and how wrong and ridiculous it is. I felt it was appropriate and helpful to teach children about this with this movie at about age 7 or 8.

Another movie we saw lately that was excellent for the same reasons to help kids understand the Holocaust is I Am David. It received a Parental Award of Excellence and I think it is a very good teaching tool as well. Both movies are about children and explore their journey to understanding prejudice and rising above it. Both show the insanity, the struggles and end on a positive note.

Anyway, just a few of my thought on this early November morning. Netflix has both movies and so does Amazon if you are interested..


LA Adams said...

I've been hearing about pornography and the insidious toll it takes on families. I've been wondering if I ever taught my children about it's harmful effects as it's never been part of my life. I pray they will be protected from the pitfalls and temptations they will meet.
It was really a revelation when a family member fell prey to over-the-counter diet pills and we had to deal with drug issues up close and personal. Something that wasn't part of my life growing up.
Good article Bonnie - Thanks.

margaret said...

I was mercilessly bullied by other six year olds when when I was six. I think there is a real via media with children between understanding and protecting their genuine innocence and accepting that they too are fallen. I believe our world lets children down badly when it assumes they are all literally angels and then can't cope when a child murders another child or a teenager sets out to seduce a young man because her parents have put no controls on her development or freedom. My work occasionally brings me to the fringes of this and I thank God every time that my involvement is with the adult not the child. I saw a little girl this summer, about nine, in a leopard print crop top and mini skirt and I thought of the men I have dealt with at work whose minds are ravaged by mental illness and, yes, sometimes drink and drugs, and of course sin, and I wondered about the parents and what kind of glass bubble they must live in. Even knowing that it always amazes me on a warm summer evening how empty the streets are. When I was little 35 years ago our street, right on the edge of a big park in the city centre (the Meadows, do you know it?) was full of kids playing. Girls would stand one on each side of the sidewalk holding a rope and the girl jumping it would be right in the middle of the road – there was never an accident. Today people drive along these streets at 40+ mph and you'd think they were from a planet without children. We used to go three and four blocks away on our bikes and no-one was ever abducted (though we were well trained not to talk to strangers). Today people are scared to let their children out of the yard. It is so very, very sad, yet what can we do about it?

Tori said...

Thanks for those recommendations! I will have to check them out and let you know what I think! Love your blog!