There has been MUCH discussion going on in our house about media...media of all types. We are living in a world where black is no longer black and white is no longer white. It's more difficult every day to make decisions about what is right or wrong without stepping into some kind of gray area. It seems like so much of everything we've dealt with as parents in the last months has been about taking a stance and sticking to our guns in regards to media. It's been about movies, TV shows, music, social networking, etc...
Sometimes it's hard enough to make good choices as an adult about what is appropriate, but add in the incredible responsibility of raising Godly children and it's seems almost impossible! I KNOW there are other parents out there that are just as vigilant as we are, but it seems like those numbers are fleeting every day. I applaud those of you that are doing your best to go "against the grain"!
Our biggest battle recently has been with movies and movie ratings. We all KNOW the "ginormous" (I so love that word!) need for more family friendly movies and what a huge battle it is to find good ones that can TRULY be family oriented. Having a now 13 year old in the house has created a HUGE battle for us in regards to choices. In general, we still don't find them appropriate and it's hard for her in the "world". Almost every time, she is in agreement that a particular movie doesn't fit in our value system and is FINE that we don't watch it. However, that makes it VERY hard on her because 99% of her friends (which are mostly Christians) have no restrictions. We know as adults how hard it is to feel left out or go against the norm. It's so many times worse as a teen!
So what do we do? That is the HUGE question in our house. Our two standards are Focus on the Family Plugged In movie reviews and The Holy Spirit. In general, almost everything we need to know can be found on FOF. For example, we were just looking up the popular movie Avatar that most of her friends have watched. I hoped it might be one that we could allow since I had heard so much about the technology and colors. Our decision was EASY to make when we read: About a dozen s-words. Also, 10 misuses of God's name (including six or seven pairings with "d--n") and three abuses of Jesus' name. We hear roughly 20 other profanities ("h---", "a--", "b--ch", "b---tard", "p---") and three crude references to the male anatomy ("d-ck" among them). Hello, not in my house!!!! Kevin and I don't even feel comfortable watching movies with that much language. The rest of the review had lots to say, but the language alone was enough to tell us no way-no how! I can't tell you how many parents have talked about how great the movie was and how it wasn't "too bad". We've learned through many of our own mistakes to not take other peoples opinion to heart without doing research on our own.
On the flip side, we've at times made the decision to watch some that were borderline of our comfort zone. For example, we chose to watch The Blindside and LOVED it. It wasn't spotless, but the story line FAR outweighed the negative aspects. We read reviews and then listened to the Holy Spirit. We made the decision to fast forward through one rough scene, but watched the rest. It was GREAT and brought about many fantastic discussions.
I firmly believe that if you are earnestly seeking to raise a Godly family, HE WILL guide you. That doesn't mean that the road will be easy or without obstacles. Just like we talk about OFTEN in our house: We may be in this world, but NOT of it. Sometimes living a life "set apart" is the hardest thing to do, but we sleep well at night knowing our hearts are focusing on the right direction. We firmly believe that what goes in MUST come out. Sure, WE CAN watch movies or listen to secular music (which I LOVE lots of!) that may not be "godly" in nature and NOT repeat the words or repeat the same actions. It's ABSOLUTELY possible. However, I personally find myself feeling "dark", agitated, depressed, or just plain unsettled. Do I really want that? Doesn't life itself present enough challenges without adding more to it? I know that I'm MUCH more effective as a wife and mother IF my heart & EARS are inundated with BEAUTIFUL God-driven lyrics. I can INSTANTLY turn a horrible day into a calming one within seconds of turning on WBGL, a great CD, or cranking up my Ipod. There is nothing that bring more healing to me than listening to contemporary Christian music. Just stop and read the lyrics and see if it doesn't soothe your soul and uplift!!!!
To those that have vocally told us that we are sheltering our kids and the real world is going to slam them in the face someday and they won't know how to have their own faith. BOO! YES, in regards to the younger kids in our home. THEY get no CHOICE-----plain and simple---an unapologetic NO choice! As for Adriana, her opinion FULLY matters but we do get the final say. However, aside from the fact that her friends are being cruel, she AGREES. She has no desire to be of THAT world and her biggest problem is that her HEART BREAKS for them because they can't see what they are doing! YOU GO GIRL! All I have to say is as painful as things are right now for you, you have an amazing support system standing right beside you READY to keep on giving you the strength and encouragement to stand your ground!!!!!! WE love your amazing heart for what is pure and we know how hard it is to watch those around you crumble and not even know it! HANG in there!!!!
On a side note to what goes in, must come out----NEVER EVER forget that your children are listening and watching every single thing we do. OH how I fail them EVERY day in that regards. There is ALWAYS something at the end of the day that I wish I had not said or done. I know that by filling their hearts with as much good as I can, it helps overcome my failings. Just last night, Bradlee FLOORED us. Peyton attended MegaSports Camp last week at a local church. The focus was on sports, but they had a key verse that they all attempted to learn. On the way to and from the church, I would help Peyton say it (usually no more than 2 times!). On the way to the grocery store last night, BRADLEE said the whole thing WORD for WORD without prompting and only messed up on the chapter number. He really wasn't included in the conversations with Peyton, I thought he was mostly watching his VeggieTales DVD. IT really made me stop and reevaluate my own need to be EVEN more intentional with teaching him scripture and such, but MOST especially it has taught me to guard EVEN more my actions and words. How I interact with EACH of them is VERY important, because the others are soaking it in, too!
Ohhh....here is that "LITTLE" verse he picked up by absorption. "In my father's house there are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." John 14:2
I think I will take THAT EVERY SINGLE day over what the world would consider normal!!!