This Breaks My Heart

I came across a video shared on my Facebook newsfeed today. If you haven’t seen it, or don’t feel like watching it, I can summarize it by saying it’s basically three moms partying at Target after sending their kids off to school for the new school year. The video begins with a mom kissing her daughter goodbye and telling her, “I love you so much!” Yet, she cannot even finish turning around before following it up by mouthing a silent but emphatic, “YES!!!” as her daughter leaves. She then joins two other moms and they head off to Target to celebrate their newfound freedom. 

I may be burned alive at the stake for saying this, but I cannot hold my tongue anymore. Every single year I see my friends counting down until the end of summer break, SO thankful to be getting their “freedom” back. Year after year, parents dread the beginning of summer break and celebrate its end. Worse yet, I know many people who have no problem making sure their children know this as well. They’re basically saying to their kids, “I can’t wait for you to back to school 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week – and I cannot possibly be happier about being rid of you! Hooray!”

Look, I get that having kids is hard. Sometimes these little blessings make us want to rip our hair out. I understand that all parents need breaks from their children for the sake of their sanity. I get that, I do! Please do not think that because I homeschool, I have acquired some magical ability to never get frustrated with my children and never wish I could have a day off. I’m human just like everyone else, and I most definitely do have rough days. My children are also human, and sometimes they fight, whine, complain, bicker, you name it. But you know what? I truly like my kids! Even on their worst days, I have no desire to rid myself of them! I enjoy being around them. I cannot imagine sending my children away for about as long as my husband is gone for work each day and being thrilled about it. I would genuinely miss them.

Maybe I am misinterpreting things, but what I get from all these Facebook posts about the excitement parents have for the beginning of the school year is that they don’t like spending a lot of time with their children, and that’s why they are happy to see them go. Their kids frustrate them and tire them out, so they want the kids out of their hair for as long as possible, as often as possible. It’s that fact that makes me very, very sad. And it makes me especially sad for the children who are made to know it.

Why all the fuss over modesty?

Modesty. It’s not exactly a popular subject, is it? For most, the word elicits thoughts of Amish women covered from head to toe, Muslim women hidden behind their burkas, or frumpy, formless dresses. That’s not how I see it, however. I see it as a beautiful, feminine, even (gasp!) fashionable solution to a big problem facing our daughters today.

Yes, I said problem. I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to discussing that our culture has a major problem in the modesty department. When I walk past the baby aisle and see little outfits like this, it’s clear to me that we have a pretty big problem on our hands. Sure, it may seem cute and innocent to some, but let’s think for a moment about what this is really doing in the long run. Bathing suits like that on babies leads to bathing suits like this on little girls. And bathing suits like that on little girls leads to bathing suits like this on teens. And bathing suits like that on teens leads to bathing suits like this on young women. I think you get the idea. When we begin instilling these sorts of values in the minds of growing girls, we are ingraining in them the idea that this is an acceptable and desirable way of presenting themselves to the world. We are sending subtle messages to their young, impressionable minds that their bodies are objects to be displayed, and that their worth is measured by how much skin they show and how sexy they can be. Do not be deceived – there is nothing innocent or sweet about instilling thoughts of sex-appeal in a toddler. Trust me, I know firsthand that it’s easier to teach a child self worth from a young age than it is to un-teach those sorts of ideas when it really begins to matter.

When I look at my daughters and think of their future, I do not wish to see them with men who devalue them. Honestly, I see red when I consider the idea of a teenage boy lusting after one of my daughters. (And I’m just the mom! You do not even want to know the murderous thoughts that go through my husband’s head when thinks of boys having impure thoughts about his little girls!) There’s no denying that sex sells – but girls should not be selling themselves. Our daughters are worth so much more. When the world looks at my girls, my hope is that the world will see who they really are: their love for others, their generous spirits, their wonderful personalities. As their mother, it is my God-given responsibility to teach them how to clothe themselves in a way that allows the world to see their countenance and not their sex appeal. The Lord has given me four beautiful little girls – but their real beauty is in their love for the Lord and the fact that they are daughters of the King of Kings. THAT is true beauty that will never fade with age, and it is the beauty that shines above anything the fashion industry can offer.

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Mothers, fathers, caregivers, it’s time for a change. Let’s teach our daughters to value modesty. Let’s teach our sons to value women who value themselves. Let’s raise our children to know that there is more to life than the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. Let’s teach them what TRUE worth looks like, and let’s begin my modeling it ourselves.

Mr. Matt Walsh Delivers Again!

Have I ever expressed just how much I love Matt Walsh? This guy speaks truth in the most refreshing way. He’s witty, intelligent, sarcastic, but also dead-on every single time. Here’s a snippet from his most recent blog post entitled “Your life is over when you have kids”:

“It’s not my life. It’s hers, it’s his, it’s theirs, it’s ours. Ultimately, it’s His, and He has given it to them. So my life — MY life — is over.

“This is true. This is beautiful. This is why parenting is a high calling.

“And this is exactly why our society hates children.

“No matter what anyone else says, THIS is why we’re experiencing historically low birth rates. It’s got nothing to do with an economic crisis, and everything to do with a selfishness crisis. This is why we dehumanize children, kill them, exterminate them. This is why we have less of them, and why we call birth control a “preventative medication.” It’s why couples who choose (note: I said CHOOSE) not to have kids will often refer to themselves as ‘child-free’ — much like a recovering patient might call himself cancer-free.

“We run around putting ‘my’ in front of things that cannot be ours. It’s MY time, MY life, MY body. And then we conceive a child and we simply can not let go of the “MY.” Barney and Mr. Rogers failed in their mission to teach us about sharing. We kill a million babies a year just because we don’t want to share.”

Does this guy get it, or what?! Check out his whole blog post here. Read more of his blog, while you’re there! I promise, he does not disappoint! I’m telling you, every time I read something he writes, I feel the sudden overwhelming desire to give the man a standing ovation.

Matt, thanks for speaking the truth. Keep up the good fight!

The “Real” World

My heart is so heavy. All I hear in the news anymore is talk about war, military strikes, and governments who can’t agree with other governments – or even their own people, for that matter. Everywhere I look I see unhappiness, strife, and struggle.

This morning, I got to thinking. Why is it that we are in such a hurry to grow our children up? People talk about the importance of exposing children to the “real” world to prepare them for it. But, why? When I look into the eyes of my children, I see pure innocence. They are so happy and care-free. They run and play, free from the burdens that we, their parents, must struggle with on a daily basis. To them, the world is still magical and wonderful. They dress up and pretend to be grown ups. To them, the idea of growing up still holds so much potential. They believe that can do anything and be anything they want.

On the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, my second grader asked me what happened on that day 12 years before. I weighed heavily what I would say. I finally decided to keep it brief. I simply said, “Well, sweet heart, some very mean people did some very bad things that day, and as a result many, many people lost their lives. It was a very sad day.” She expressed her concern for the people who were harmed, and we were able to talk about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus so we can be assured of our place in heaven, because we never know when we may die. I also encouraged her to pray for the “mean” people (all the “mean” people in the world who harm others, not just one group). And she went on with her happy, curious, sweet little life.

Later, I found myself wondering if perhaps I should have told her more. Was I watering down the truth? Should I have enlightened her about religions and extremists who promote the harming of those who disagree? Should I warn her that there are people who would like to see our family dead because of our religious values? Does she need to know that the “real” world is full of adults who make war with one another while preaching love and tolerance? I think I answered my own questions. There is absolutely no reason why she needs to be awakened to those things at such a young age. The time will come all too soon when the reality of the “real” world becomes known to my children; why force it? Why not let them live in a world of innocence, enchantment and adventure for as long as they can? The purity of innocence is such precious gift, and is taken from our children far too soon. Let’s do all we can to preserve it for them.