Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Their Innocence is Taken...Then What?

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 thoughts on protecting our children. Netflix has both movies and so does Amazon if you are interested..Preview them first and see if you think they are appropriate for the current ages of your children.


Julie Harward said...

I think that all we can do is to fill them up with love for God and Jesus Christ..I think that will be their peace as the world swirls around them. I love Liz's work so much, she is my cousin! :D

Sister Susie said...

It is absolutely irresponsible what some parents are exposing their own children to. As a teacher, I had to "write up" one of my 6 year kindergardner's for a rude gester he was doing to a little girl in my class. Upon his mother walking across the school parking lot, he yelled in front of the many parents awaiting their children, "Mom, I got in trouble today for that 'X' rated movie you and dad were watching last night!" She went pale white to blood red and darker red splotching began showing all over her neck as the parents looked at her in disbelief! I shared that the Principal wanted to talk to her. One of the things the Principal shared was, "Trash in, trash out!"

Some years ago while eating out with my mom, two very young couples were in the booth behind us with their kindergarten aged children. The very young fathers were discussing furniture they had and where to find the end tables to match their coffee tables. Come to find out, it was tables that had a naked woman on her hands and knees with her back holding up the glass top! I won't mention what "cup" size they were talking about!

The last 10 years have been horrendous at things our school system is having to deal with concerning "children" and things they should not be exposed to at younger and younger ages! Yet, politically, teachers are being made to take on another matter that is labelled under "sex" education. Our school now, is having teachers dealing with two students that want to be recognized as the opposite sex. One is in 1st grade, the other in 3rd! They are allowed to used the gang bathrooms of the opposite sex and their parents demand that they be be addressed with the "proper" pronouns. Of course, most of their peers haven't been exposed to THIS as yet in their lives, which opens up a whole different road we now have to go down.

I think that is why I can't wait to get home to my peace and quiet. To be away from all the others disrespect is a haven of rest for me. I think that is why I so enjoy going to my church. Thanksgiving and praise is such comfort and so revitalizing to my soul. To see people with smiles and true responces of "Good morning" to you is like you said, not returned with snears and groans or ignored altogether as many of the parents at my school do when I speak to them in the morning.

It is so important to teach our children from birth what our GOD has for those who love him. I also have some great stories of Christian 5/6 year olds in my classroom. One student I had, was from my church. She had been friends with another student whose parents were atheists. The little girl came to me one day upset because she was told she was going to hell by the little girl that went to my church. I asked her, "Why are you so upset if you don't believe in GOD?" It's amazing that a child this young was truly touch by the witness of another Christian child. By the end of the year, I could see a completely different outlook from her as the Holy Spirit continued to use His little witness in placing the seed of His WORD in her heart.

One day about (18 years ago) when I wasn't feeling so well from a cold, one of my kindergardners came up to me and ask if she could pray for me. As she placed one hand on my shoulder and the other in the air, I knew what was coming, "OH dear Jesus, I pray for my teacher...." It felt like I was at a Pentecostal service! What a blessing I received!

Hopefully we are raising our children to witness for our LORD even though the wilds of the world seem to be getting worse. I pray for our kids and especially those who have no idea as well as their parents concerning Salvation and our loving GOD!

Thanks, Bonnie for your post.
Love and hugs to you and yours,

BECKY said...

Hi Bon,
It is a task of the utmost importance to teach our children how to walk with the Lord regardless of the evil that may bleed into our lives and that we witness each day.
Very humbling that God would even allow us to attempt it! So many don't know how to handle it themselves, so teaching their kids about it may not happen. May God, the ultimate teacher, guide us all in this endeavor! Without Him, it is all impossible!! I may check for those movies! Great lessons!

Love you sweetie!
Hope all is well with you and yours!

Marie said...

Your post really resonated with me Bonnie. There is such filth in the world. It must be so difficult for people with small children to help keep it from contaminating them. I like to think of my home as a Temple away from the Temple and a place of rest and a haven from the world. But even then, it seeps in through the cracks. We can only do our best to plug the holes I fear. Love and hugs to you! xxoo