Friday, June 13, 2008

Helping Our Children Stay Pure

This article is very sobering. I believe we as parents have a huge responsibility to try to control the content that comes into our homes, and try to keep a close finger on the pulse of their activities and friends outside the home.

But in the end, as a former bishop of ours said, "We can't just put them in an armored car. We have to help them put on the armor of God."

The only way I can really think to do this, to help my children know how to protect themselves, is to teach them doctrine, clearly and constantly and consistently and completely. One of my favorite quotes is from Pres. Packer:

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.

The doctrines surrounding chastity are essential: Our bodies are sacred. The power of procreation is sacred and wonderful, but has strict commandments surrounding its use. Sex plays a central role in the plan of God. We are being tested and bombarded on all sides with the adversary's attempts to corrupt and undermine the plan by corrupting and twisting truths about chastity and all that law is meant to protect.

Also from Pres. Packer:
The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave....

The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood.

When we read this Daily Herald article, we decided to have a clear discussion with our children about these things. While they still don't fully understand the "mechanics" of sexual intimacy, (and they didn't want a discussion that was too long :) ) they are coming to understand the doctrine. They know that keeping themselves pure is about keeping the Spirit with them. We hope as we continue to teach the doctrine, and keep an open dialogue about these sensitive topics, that they will be able to put on the armor of God and have the power within to resist the temptations that will inevitably come.

18 comments:

Naismith said...

I also think it helps a lot to enable them in getting books and video that are worthwhile, without being sexually explicit. To teach them they can have a fun time without gunk.

My teenagers are enjoying the new Dr. Who and Robin Hood series via Netflix, for example. And we try to buy good films that come out, to put our money behind our commitment.

Kenji said...

Amen to your post. Its very true. We really need to be more careful now since our kids is just exposed to about anything. They need to be prepared before they come out of the world, strong, faithful and true. Anyway,What can you say about this post?

http://jbsolis.blogspot.com/2008/06/kirby-heyborne-standing-for-something.html

Papa D said...

Talk about timing!

We just became aware of some influences on our nearly 6-year-old about which we didn't know previously. Fortunately, the worst case scenarios we imagined weren't real for her, but it was a very sobering experience.

It really is a different world for my children than the one in which I was raised. They really do need the solid foundation of the restored Gospel desperately.

RoAnn said...

Wonderful post! I have written an email to my married children which includes your post, the article you referenced, and my comments on both.

This issue is extremely important, and I agree 100% with your approach. Thanks so much for bringing this article to my attention, and for your wise and helpful discussion of how we teach even our little ones how to get the armor they need to stand for truth and righteousness in the world in which they must live.

Dalene said...

m&m--this is off topic (although I have plenty to say about this one, too), but I just wanted to tell you I appreciated your comment on the post about being demoted to Mrs. It was a though-provoking post, but I too am weary of the Utah bashing. Your comment was great and I couldn't agree with you more.

Firebyrd said...

This is such an important thing, but I think the quotes you referenced about teaching the Gospel are the thing to focus on. The article only reinforces my intention to not bother with filters. The good kids don't need them and there's an attitude among a segment of the technologically savvy that if someone is trying to keep you from doing something, it's a challenge to get around that, and there are always, always ways to get around things. I'm going to try very hard to teach my kids good surfing habits and the sorts of things they should avoid. Teaching correct principles and all that. That is the foundation that will allow our children to resist temptation when outside our homes, both as children and as adults.

Papa D said...

m&m's comments always are great - and greatly needed.

Ray

m&m said...

Thanks, all, for your comments.

I should add that this article didn't present the first time we had talked about this, but is a continued effort to talk regularly about these things, to keep the channels of communication open, and to especially focus on the doctrine.

naismith, there are indeed many ways to have fun without gunk. Doing that as a family is all the better.

Ray, I'm glad you were able to catch whatever that was with your 6-year-old. It's amazing how young they are when they sometimes run into stuff. Ugh. We simply don't have the luxury that previous generations did of putting off 'the talk' (or only having 'one talk' -- not that I think that was a good approach to begin with). :) The talk (and the walk) has to be ongoing, imo, and starting very, very early.

RoAnn, I'd love to hear more of what you said in your comments to your children. :)

firebyrd, intersting thoughts. I tend to take an approach of both teaching the doctrine, and trying to protect with the technology. The challenge is not to rely on filters or anything else as protection, because they can always go elsewhere. For now, we password protect and minimize computer usage (my kids don't do internet at this point...I figure they can do it when they need to for school).

And dalene and Ray, thanks for your kind comments.

m&m said...

p.s. I also think of filters and other protective measures as something akin to seat belts. Even if you are the best driver on the planet, you still may run into danger inadvertently. I think things like filters can be helpful just for all of us, to avoid accidentally being exposed to something...again, not as a cure-all, but as a safety measure. I personally think it's good to have many layers of protection with regard to these things, particularly with regard to protecting purity.

Audrey said...
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Doug Towers said...

m&m

Another good post. As you say, you have discussed it before. But reviewing thoughts often brings out new ideas.

As I was reading, I was thinking what you said next. I definately agree that truth arms us against falsehood. The concept of lust is confusing when faced with the world's commitment to it. Anger and revenge are just the mentality presented as being "normal" ways of being. But if we have come to feel the light of the truth within us, we are better prepared to discern truth from error.

I think it vitally important that parents, therefore, allow their children freedom to decide in regard religion. I have seen parents forcing their children to go to seminary and to church. Children need to feel that it is their decision. Otherwise rebelion at teenage years is a likely consequence.

And I believe the deeper the doctrine that they come to comprehend the more they are informed, to combat evil.

swedemom said...

Well, I can't thank you enough for this post. Periodically, I discuss this topic with my kids to reinforce what we've taught them. It reminded me to have the talk again with them. Later that evening, I was driving with my son to Cub scouts and we talked some more. He said to me, "Mom, you know when we talk about stuff like this, it makes me think of my future and what I want it to be like." That is exactly what I was driving at, that as we talk about these sacred subjects and remind our kids to make good choices, they are preparing for their futures. So thank you again!

m&m said...

swedemom, thanks for sharing that sweet experience with your son. That's what it's all about! Woohoo -- you go momma!

Doug, thanks for visiting and for your comment. I think the issue of how much freedom to give children as they grow and progress is probably one of the most difficult and most needing divine guidance. I'm not completely comfortable drawing absolute lines in the sand (e.g., don't ever force your kids to go to Church). But I do believe that it's important to prayerfully consider each child's situation and seek the Lord's guidance on how to help them learn to make wise choices. And I also think it's all too easy to REact as parents, which is often about control, anger, fear, etc. rather than really make choices ourselves that are about what really is Right at that time with our children.

Doug Towers said...

Michelle

Yes. I stand corrected. Thanks for the comment. :)

Anonymous said...

We're having our first kid soon and posts like these are very helpul as I think about all the things involved in raising a child. Thanks for the great post!

www.graceforgrace.com