I heard a few things in the last few weeks that make me physically ill with grief.
I interacted with and overheard a few conversations with a number of “little” girls. Some of them I knew, and was able to have conversation that hopefully impacted the outcomes. Others I overheard and am still in dialogue with one person about, in an attempt to influence those as well. I’m not here to talk about the details of what is being done about these things today, but rather help you be aware that these things are occurring around us…daily. Trust that I am following up and don’t interpret the lack of detail as lack of action, okay?
These are eleven and twelve year old kids, and what I learned changed my definition of “little.”
I learned of an eleven year old who attends a school in our area. She had run away from home in an effort to escape another eleven year old boy – her parents and his parents had a man come and marry the two children, and her mom and dad were pressuring her to have sexual relations with the boy. Her parents found her at a friend’s house and brought her back home. I wondered about the “marriage” element, and thought perhaps that they were “betrothed,” until I heard about the pressure to consummate the union. The worst part? As if this wasn’t bad enough, the girls discussing the problem were most concerned because the girl didn’t even “like” the boy she was married to, but rather “liked” another boy at school. This was the thing they were most upset over. I hoped to influence their thinking here, and encouraged them to have the girl call 911 and tell the police what she was dealing with.
Another story,,,a girl shared that she had learned from her mom that dating should wait until you were old enough to consider marrying someone. That it wasn’t something that kids were supposed to do. So she told the boy at school that had been her “boyfriend” that she didn’t want to “date” him anymore. He came to her house and insisted that they could just have sex together anyway. She told him, “no,” and closed the door on him.
He is also eleven.
Good job on her part, but wow that she even had to deal with this.
Another girl confided that she doesn’t know how to “stop her friends from having sex.” The girls are talking about it, the specifics of what happens between the two children, and how their parents are leaving them home alone, and the boys are coming over. One girl said, “My mom thinks it is so cute that I have a boyfriend, but she doesn’t know how he just wants to have sex all the time.” Something in her knows this is not right…The boy is apparently talking about what he’s doing with her, too, and the girls are not surprised that he is. Nor were they sufficiently appalled, in my opinion.
Bear in mind, also, that my daughter is a 12 year old home schooler who does American Heritage Girls, attends Christian home school classes, and all of her friends attend church.
All these girls knew about what happened with Myley Cyrus recently, too. We had gobs of discussion about this and I encouraged them to pray for her. Talk turned to pornography in some of the discussions. A few years ago, one of her best friends was held down on a playground and forced to watch pornography on another kid’s phone. They were 9 years old when it happened.
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Satan deceived Eve by encouraging her to doubt God, and then, to take action using her own judgment, which was clearly influenced.
He had a conversation directly with her, but today’s influence is much more covert.
And I believe it starts really young.
Our judgment of what is “good” can easily be wrong.
When my daughter was 6, she had a crush on a neighborhood boy we put on the bus in the mornings. She insisted, sobbing, that she wanted to marry him and that she loved him. Knowing that hormones influence brain activity and emotion, I recognized this for what it was – biological activity based on proximity. I told her that kids her age shouldn’t be thinking of things like this, and explained in six year old terms how the pheromones worked. I apologized for letting her spend time with him like that, and that I didn’t know it would take so little time for her to be affected…it was literally half an hour a few days a week. I told her she wouldn’t be with him in the mornings for a few weeks and sure enough, the crush wore off. I think it was one of those times where we can look at something and thank God for His leading – she knows that the more time she spends with a boy in a class, for example, the more tempted she will be to “like” him. I wonder what I could have opened up in her young heart if I had treated her as though her behavior was “cute” – even though part of me thought it was…Many of us are mothers…it’s so important to watch our kids and keep them safe. It’s just as important to help them interpret the world around them through a Biblical lens. This assumes we know the Bible ourselves. I remembered a verse in Song of Solomon about not awakening love until it’s time…
We started being clear with our kids at very early ages that this world wants to separate them from God and that they needed to be smart in how they interpreted what they choose to listen to, watch on TV, read, play on the computer, and the people they choose to have as close friends. We haven’t had our kids in a bubble, but we’ve done our best to try to insure that the amount of Biblical truth going into them exceeded the amount of secular influence.
This is not easy. And I am thankful, that for the most part, we seem to be doing okay at the moment in the war for our kids’ hearts. I could write a book about the nuances of the moments where the opportunity to influence our kids’ beliefs and encourage their relationship with God – but spending time with them daily doing life and doing school has made a difference here for us, I believe.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that giving up a second income or prestigious career to stay home with your kids isn’t worthy – this is the most privileged place of discipleship available to a follower of Christ.
And perhaps even more important is for us to be intentional about what we are modeling. How are you doing in this area? I honestly had to give up watching television almost completely, and unless I’m watching an educational program with one of my children, we just don’t have it on. Sometimes we go through seasons where we’ll watch a show together, but it’s not a daily occurrence. Entertainment has become something we don’t readily participate in, and when we do, there’s just gobs of discussion around it, because I knew if we don’t debrief with them, the world’s voice will be louder than ours and the Bible’s in their lives.
I had to change some of my friends, too. Yes, we need to have friends who don’t know Him, but those close people that we do life with? They better not be people we sit around and gossip or tear down others with. We create our future by what we are modeling today.
And any time we can positively interact with them and their friends, we need to. We need to be real, we need to not dish judgment, we need to talk about our own struggles. Pretending to be perfect just sets us up for distance in our relationships. We need to apologize when (not IF) we make mistakes. We do it daily, so add “daily apologies” to our to do list.
Sometimes I am unkind, critical, impolite, selfish…it’s a long list. It’s important to model apologies when we mess up. “Show me my sin, Lord,” is a great prayer…painful, but great.
And we absolutely need to model these things by finding contentment ourselves through the daily filling of our soul with the Holy Spirit and the Word. Not only does the Word give us the right perspective, but it teaches us the right Truth. If I read romance, I’m comparing my husband…even if I don’t want to and am wise to the opportunity. If I look at advertisements, I end up wanting more stuff…discontent breeds bitterness, which then takes us away from our relationship with God.
Spend much time in the world, and suddenly, we’re not in it, but OF it.
Dare you to take inventory today…so glad we are on the journey together. Dare you to spend time learning by attending a Bible study, going to church, and listening to sermons online (Lifechurch TV is a great place to start!).
Thank you for your prayers last week. I have another pastor’s wives conference this week, and then next week I’m flying to Colorado Springs to do a radio show with Jim Daly at Focus on the Family. So excited!
Love to you,