Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blindfolding My Sons

Do you ever have those “pull-you-up-short” moments? You’re just going on your merry way when –bam- your breath is taken away by the sheer fragility and (if we’re honest- utter fear of screwing it up) of your job as a mother.

For me, it was Friday.
We were walking through our local mall.  (The one that hasn’t been quite the same since the megamall was put in 30 minutes away.)
You might as well know – I almost never go to the mall. If I shop other than garage sales, online shopping is my friend. I have a vague idea of the current trends but I’m okay with just vague. The latest and greatest things don’t influence me. I prefer middle of the road style, comfortable-cute over super-cool, really good quality and above all – I LOVE me a good deal!

Okay. You get the idea.

So, why were you at the mall, you might ask. I was doing an exchange at Bath and Body Works. After I finished – speedily, I might add (one doesn’t browse long with two boys), we walked down to their special reward: playing at the indoor play area. I’d forgotten about one particular store but my four year old quickly called it to my attention.

“Look Mommy! There’s a naked girl over there!” Yep. He’d found Victoria’s Secret.

I acknowledged his observation in the hopes that he would simply observe and turn and make another observation in the complete opposite direction. (I should add that I was fighting the urge to pick him up, cover his eyes and run screaming from the mall never to return.)

But I looked down and those big brown eyes were captivated, still taking in that poster of bigger-than-life, no-real-woman-can-ever-hope-to-compete, airbrushed young girl that some call porn. I said quietly, “Jonny, sweetheart, there are better things to look at. That isn’t a very good store to put pictures like that in their windows. Can you find any squares on the floor that are different colors?” Instantly, I had his attention elsewhere. He was hunting and calling out the different colors on the floor with his brother.

My heart was pounding. I wanted to cry. My sweet four year old little boy had just been studying that awful poster. I had quite possibly screwed up his mind forever. All because of a deal I wanted to exchange at Bath and Body Works.

As the mom-feelings began to settle, rationality surfaced. I have not by any means screwed up his mind. As a mother and with his father, together we have to show him that sin is stinking everywhere. We have a choice: Sin or Not Sin.  As a redeemed-bought-by-grace-believer, I don’t have to give in to that sin. We have to cultivate that mindset of self-control in this horridly me-me-me world.

Protection is necessary but sin is everywhere.
Protection without example or tools to prevent is equal to opening wide the door for sin.

Now as well as when the boys get older, both their dad and I will be talking with them as opportunities arise. Over and over I have heard parents wishing they had not waited to have "The Talk" until they were older. Opening an ongoing conversation is far better than one fell swoop of a talk. I'm speaking from theory at this point with our children, but I will fill you in as life happens. While we may want to boycott all malls as a good first step, let me assure you: they will at some point have to go to some store that will have some kind of poster like that. They must know what to do in the moment. Talking openly about why and what God says about it and what we think about it and then most importantly - what must we do, is absolutely unequivocally crucial.

Am I screwing up my job as a mother? Some days.
Is God bigger than my junk? Absolutely.
Can I protect my children from everything? Nope.
Do I wish I could? Desperately.
I am left falling into the perfect Father’s arms because He loves them more than I do.
And that is where I fight to stay.

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