Friday, October 26, 2012

Raising Children In This Crazy World

This is the message I try to teach my children, the message I try to live by.  It's tough, and frankly, I have most likely failed on a number of those counts.  I'm hoping it is like lessons my parents taught me.  I may have known what they were teaching me but sometimes the understanding and the practicing of those lesson didn't click right away.

Okay, here is where I show my true age and start sounding like my parents.  I think about the difference of times and influences from when I grew up and this crazy world my children are growing up in.  What influenced me?  What shaped me?  The first word the comes to mind is "physical".  Friends and people that were physically present in my life.  Family, friends from the Kingdom Hall, parents of said friends who later also became friends, super awesome teachers, very bad teachers, workmates, random strangers you meet at work.  You get the idea, right?  Influences that you could actually see AND touch.  Of course there were also influences that were not physical.  There was music, TV shows, movies.  Most of which were far more innocent than what is available today.

Today my children are subject to those same influences but are subject to this new phenomenon we call the internet.  I hate that there is so much negative influence on them.  Even when it is supposed to be positive.

The tone of TV shows and movies is so different today.  I share classic movies with my kids, and silly old movies, so silly, so stupid, but so innocent.  Today the comedy is usually based on funny at someone else's expense.  And then our children imitate that, and then they take it further, and now it is bullying.  Things we try to steer our kids clear of are now broadcast as family TV and if we don't allow our kids to watch it we are called "extreme parents" who don't allow our childrent to be who they are.

And then of course is the "association" they receive via the internet.  They take photos of themselves in positions and doing things they wouldn't dream of doing in person.  They say things they would never say in person, and it is all filtered or excused with phrases like "I am beautiful", "I am great", "Be yourself no matter what anyone else says".  Yes, all great empowering messages for our children.  But let me ask you, when, in person, do you just love a person that tells you how wonderful and beautiful they are on a daily basis?  Right!?!

The most beautiful, strong, confident, and most respected people I know and have ever known never had to tell me they were any of those things.  I know it because of who they are, the things they do, I respect them for who they ARE.  And THAT is what I want for my children.  I want them to love who they are, I want them to love others for who they are.  And I want them to do both without feeling the need to shout it to the world and demand acknowledgment.  Nature does it, why can't we.

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