We visited one of our favorite places this weekend, Barnes & Noble. It's our go-to when there is no where else to. go. to.
While WJ sat with the girls as they played with Thomas the Train, I decided to venture into uncharted territory. I wanted to see what the rest of society read while I dreamed of a perfect world through my copy of Southern Living magazine. What I found totally floored me.
When did "Teen Paranormal Activity/Novels" take a whole section of a rather large store? Yes, at the moment I realize I have lived under a rock for 6 years. But I could not believe what I saw on FIVE sets of shelves all under the heading "Teen".
as in not adult. as in my life just 7 years
from now as Goose is 6 next week!
As I googled 'manga' on my phone, I stood wondering why this really surprised me. I do not think evil exists only at the level of the wicked witch or the evil stepmother. Yet, I was taken aback at the onslaught of material that people obviously see as harmless. Please understand, I knew this type of writing existed. What shocked me was the target audience. All of a sudden, I felt weak.
WJ's words to Goose came crashing down around me as I recall him saying over and over the last few weeks, "You know Goose, you could stay 5 for a while longer. You don't have to grow up so fast!"
He is always encouraging me in my daily work with them; now I understand his urgency.
I saw them through his eyes.
He leaves every day for work,
and when he comes home,
he sees a growth in them
that I overlook because I am so close.
Well, in that moment, I saw it. And it terrified me.
I rushed back to my family, in tears, needing to see my little girls...needing to look into their innocence and cherish that moment. the moment I realized time is not slowing down.
As Goose ran toward me excited over a new book, I interrupted her and simply asked, "Will you please stay 5 years old? Please don't get any older. Stay exactly how you are right now." Of course she looked at me with the look, you know the "Mo-o-om" look (Mom: pronounced in 3 syllables instead of 1). But I held her anyway. Enjoying her. And wondering how many young children are familiar with topics of witchcraft, evil seduction & the occult; thinking them to be harmless stories.
As I looked around, I didn't have to wonder long. Right there in the children's section, was the introduction of deceptive evils to this generation. In neat box sets, & catchy covers...still evil. I watched as a mother tried to help her seemingly very young daughter figure out which series to read next. Both choices made me cringe. It broke my heart to see the exposure Satan has gained in such a young audience. And it started with what someone allowed to be ok. A society desensitized more and more every year.
Please understand, WJ & I long to teach our children with a broad scope of cultural literacy & artistic license. We are not in a 'bubble' mentality whatsoever. We desire to help them grow into well rounded women who are able to live in a society that is diverse, while holding to their convictions, whatever they may be.
We teach JESUS. The son of God who dined with sinners. Not a man who rejected anything or anyone that was not 'holy'. He lived and breathed reality. He accepted people for who they were and He adjusted to his surroundings while holding to His convictions. This is the pattern we strive for.
At some point, our children have to be aware. And we, as parents, want to be the lens that exposes reality.
Please hear me. Cliches truly have purpose.
I believe that many limit this statement to mean, "Teach them what you want them to know; solely what you want them to believe." This is so wrong. If you, as parents, do not take opportunity for explanation when they come to you with questions, they will figure it out. Someone will show them how cruel the world can be.
Please pray about how to introduce reality to your children. Look for teachable moments and show them ways to deal with what they will face, or are already facing. Don't ignore it.
BE THE LENS.
...click on the 'cliche' for a similar post
on how we use reality as a teachable moment