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October 26, 2010

Children and Their Innocense

With Halloween approaching there has been a lot of people blogging about Christians celebrating or not celebrating Halloween.
 There are many differents beliefs out there about this topic. And there have been many good articles and blog post out there related to Halloween. So instead of writing about it myself I am giving you a link of an excellent post that I read recently by a mom who shares why, as a family, they have chosen not to celebrate Halloween. Please take time to read this and really think through why you do or don't do anything to celebrate Halloween. But really what I want to blog about today is somewhat indirectly related to Halloween.

The Innocence of our Children.

I love the pure innocence of a child. You can see it in their eyes. So precious. So genuine. There is a reason that Jesus told us to become like a little child. Their faith is so real, their love is so gracious, and their heart is so pure. But I believe there is another reason that Jesus said to become as a little child, and that is because of their sweet innocence.
 Over the years I have come to appreciate more and more our children's innocence. Here is one example has come up over and over again. Our kids like to colour a lot. So I buy them colouring books. I always try to go through the books at the store and again at home and make sure that there is nothing "yucky" in them (anything from immodestly dressed children, to monsters, to aliens, to mermaids, to vampires, to jack-0-lanterns, to witches, people with guns, evolution, just plain ugly creatures....... ) When I find a picture that I feel does not honour God, I will rip it out. I've been doing that now for 20+ years. But once in awhile I will miss a picture. And when I do, one of our kids will come across it, and promptly bring the book to me and say, "Mom, this page is yucky." Now there have been times where I would have seen this picture before them and looked at it and said to myself, "Well, it's not really that bad." But more often than not, my child will notice it and bring it to my attention. So I have learned over the years to trust my first instinct and rip it out.

 I have often wondered why our children have this sense of what is good and what is ugly. Because some of these things they have never even seen, but their spirits pick up on the fact that something isn't right. I believe it is because of the innocence that God has placed in them. The sensitivity they have to what God loves and what He hates. It is something I have not been able to explain, or really understand. But I know it is there.

 Videos would be another example. When our children watch a video and I see them walk away or go and play instead of watch it I evaluate the content of the video. Sometimes the issue is that the child just wasn't old enough to differentiate between what is real life and what is on camera (e.g. sharks, whales, etc.) and it frightened them. But other times the videos seems OK to me, yet to my children something doesn't sit right,so why push it? Why desensitize the innocence that is in their little hearts. (side note: as I was writing this the kids were watching a nature video and it mentioned how an animal had evolved to adapt to it's climate. Guess what happened? Our son marched to the VCR, took out the video and brought it to me saying why the content was not good. The video is now in the garbage! This same son brought a Bible story book to me the other day saying that the author added things to the story that aren't in the Bible. We then decided these books will go in the garbage.) It would be so easy to think, "I paid money for this. It's just a little bit of evil....." But I realize those excuses are really harmful to our family.
A little bit of evil and a lot of good, still makes it evil. It's not worth it just for the sake of entertainment. 

The other day I was in the grocery store and I heard a little boy and girl talking to their mom. They would have been around 4 and 5 years old or so. They little boy said, "This is so yucky.....we shouldn't shop here anymore." (referring to the halloween decorations). And the little girl said, "Ya, they shouldn't be allowed to put out such yucky things." At this point I was ready to hear the mom shush their children who were being so outspoken (and quite loudly so) about this situation. But my heart was warmed when I heard their mom say, "You're right, these are yucky things. I wish they wouldn't put them out either." She could have quieted her children or quickly changed the subject, but rather she acknowledged that what they were saying was truth instead of being embarrassed. I find this practice particularly awkward when we are visiting at other people's places. There have been times where my kids were reading a book at someone's home and bring it to me and say that the book is yucky. (and not quietly :) Just a little awkward! But I am so grateful as they do this. Of course as they grow older they learn of more tactful ways to address the situation :) in love.

 As a parent I want to be very careful that I don't minimize or belittle the fact that our children are concerned about the things that they see. You know the song....oh be careful little eyes what you see. They are being sensitive to the innocence that God has placed into their hearts and I don't want to destroy or crush that. I have also learned that just because books and videos are labled "Christian" they cannot all be trusted. In fact I have been appalled at some of the literature and video content that I have found in the Christian book stores and I wonder how anyone can justify some of their content? The argument has been given that it is good for kids to read about or see the struggle between good and evil because that is what life is about! Well, I believe that is a lie from the pit of hell. I have heard it said that the way they teach those that work in banks to know what counterfiet money is, is they make them study what real money is. They don't study the counterfeit, they study the real thing! Well that makes sense to me. So why not do the same with our children. If we teach them the good and Godly side of things, they will be able to distinguish between good and evil. I believe Satan is really getting a foothold in these things all in the name of entertainment! And Christians are falling right into his trap. It's just sad....really sad. So I want to encourage you to protect the innocence of your children. Don't make light of things that they feel is wrong. Look at it through their eyes, not your eyes and flesh that may have been desensitized to what is good and evil. What an amazing opportunity we have to mentor these little ones are and what an amazing privelage and responsibility it is to raise them to bring glory and honor to God. Let's do our best encourage our children to love what God loves and hate what He hates. And in doing so we will raise a people that are passionate to follow God and seek His ways no matter what the cost!

You who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 97:10


Alicia said...

This is really good. So true. I want to raise my kids this way someday. I miss you guys, and God bless!

Stam House said...

this is a great post! I love the way you have taught your little one and how you have learn from then at the same time!

speaking of innocence, I Remember being in a store once to buy groceries and our oldest was not old enough to really talk much but we came across a lady with a very low V neck shirt and Little Rebekah pointed at "you what what" and said clearly MILK with w confused look on her face!, she was breastfeed she knew where milk came from but she also knew that they are covered up when they are "not in use"

at a very young age she new that it wasn't proper!

The Mayo Family said...

Thank you very well said.
I know I used to 'color" "clothes' on people in some "school" books if you will I too thought we bought these for social studies, science etc...now I learned..."toss it out" we can find another way too learn this or that!
Thank you for this blessing~

Hollinger Family said...

LOVE this~
children are so precious indeed!

Margaret said...

What an encouraging post. Just last evening my husband and I were wondering if we were sheltering our children too much. I love the analogy of studying the real money and not the counterfeit. Thanks for keeping us on track.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post, Rosalie. I really needed to hear this. We've had the conversation often in our house about letting our kids watch more "grown up" cartoons and videos, rather than the very juvenile and "babyish" stuff I'd been allowing them to watch. It hasn't sat well with me to allow them to watch certain things, but at the same time I realize they're getting older. It was good to read another mothers perspective on this topic and I'll make sure Joel reads this post too!

Dianna said...

Hallelujah!!!! What a post!! That is exactly my struggles! Thank you!! How we need more ppl to stand up for righteousness! I've been called protectiveness when it comes to our children but ppl don;t realize the roles parents need to have in their kids eyes and what a Godly and sacred calling that is to raise children to His honor and glory they've only been loaned to us for a time,what type of things do we install in them? Someday we'll give account to all we did. We can;t take it lightly.
I esp. despise Halloween. it saddens me when ppl actually celebrate it. I don't care how they make excuses that it is a good time for their kids to dress in costumes and go trick or treating as Christians we can;t be sucked into that evil day. it is wrong for us to participate in such a satanic game. it won;t help sticking ones head int he sand and thinking well it;s just a fun day.. that is exactly how Satan wants us to think, and i'm afraid my friends he got u where he wants u 2 b thinking it's just a fun day!
Thanks again for the post! have a godly rest of the day!