What is your child learning in their Ottawa Catholic School?

“My teacher said the Catholic Church has changed its teaching about masturbation. They say it’s healthy now.”

A sweet high school girl said this to me after hearing a chastity talk at her school. She wasn’t trying to get a laugh from her classmates. She was genuinely confused.

My little sister came home from school one day with a similar story. Her religion teacher had told his class about the time he and his 3-year old daughter saw a same-sex couple at the mall and he took the opportunity to teach his daughter that same-sex unions are good.

The problem is not simply a few rogue teachers. Actually at this point, the “rogue” teachers are the ones who do present the truth.

I’ve personally talked with teachers who have been reprimanded for bringing students to the March for Life, for presenting authentic Church teaching about sexuality, and for even having too many Christian posters on the walls of their religion classrooms.

Why?

The school board is greatly influenced by parent feedback, and right now the loudest voices are the liberal ones.

When misguided parents complain about their kids being taken away to the March for Life, the school board concludes that everyone wants ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’. So they oppose faithful teachers and support the politically correct ones.

That is the situation we are facing. More specifically, that is the world your child is facing every day at school.

Here are 3 things you can do about this:

1. Give feedback to the teachers and to the school board: You can contact the school board from their religion department page .) Build a positive relationship with them by thanking them every time a Mass is celebrated at school, a canned food drive is organized, and definitely if your child is taken to the March for Life. They’ll be more willing to hear you out when they’re considering inviting a pro-choice guest speaker.

2. Suggest great resources for the classroom.

3. Become more influential by joining the school’s parent council, the School Board Parent Association, or by supporting PAFE.

 

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Submitted anonymously to Mama Activist by a fellow concerned mama.

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How my 1-yr old is a better Christian than me: A Thanksgiving note

Recently, my son, William, has really been into waving. Like.. REALLY.. into waving. And it’s all my ‘fault’ (and by fault i mean unabated encouragement). Mostly, I encouraged it because it’s cute and because it is a way for me to help him learn the world around him.

Every morning, we would wake up and wave out the window, “Hi World! William is awake!”

After every nap, we would throw open the curtains together and wave saying, “Hi world!! I’m awake!!”

This slowly led to saying hello to trees, dogs, butterflies, grass, and people.

Then, this led to being at Costco standing beside some bins with William permanently holding his hand up to wave at all the people walking by.

Then, this led to being at Church where William waved to all the people sitting behind us.

I LOVE it.

Often, when William is waving I don’t know who to watch. I’m so torn between watching the joy on his face and the joy on the other person’s face. Just a tiny little motion of his hand brings a look of pure joy to someone’s face every time.. that they are bring noticed by such a small person brings a little light into their eyes and a small smile. That someone looked them in the eye and acknowledged them brightened their day for just a moment.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my son. I am grateful that he is not afraid to say hello to everyone he meets and that by his little signs, he is bringing joy in a world that really really needs it. I am grateful that he was able to bring joy to a woman with special needs at church by waving at her, smiling, and having no hesitations with her. I am grateful for this little lesson.

You see, my son knows better than i do what it means to be a Christian in today’s world. He knows intuitively what we have forgotten to unabashedly show to others: joy, kindness, a small act of vulnerability by saying ‘hello.’ He is not afraid to connect for a second, so why should I be?

I see the way that William’s small gestures bring a little joy into someone’s life, and I want to bring that joy to someone too. After all, isn’t that what we are called to do? I am lucky enough to see William’s smiles every day, but not everyone is so lucky to have someone smile at them every day. Could you be that person for someone today?  Would you?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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10 Practical Steps You Can Take To Safeguard Your Child From Porn

Recently, I have noticed a growing number of articles circulating Facebook regarding pornography. Basically they all say the same thing, and outline in great detail the effects of porn on young minds- both in general hardwiring and in terms of forming opinions about relationships, sexual or not.

The consensus is in: porn is really bad for everybody, and more specifically, it is ruining a young generation.

Consistently, however, I have not seen many articles that are properly guiding parents how to deal with these realities that are facing their young teens. Of course, we need to know what the damage is in order to act. But if parents are not given some ideas about how to steward the young minds around them, what is the point of them knowing? Even as I read the article by Martin Daubney I was filled with sense of dread for my own son who may be exposed in the future. Now, Daubney mentions a few vague things, but I want to go into more detail about some practical things you can do to protect your children from seeing pornographic imagery, videos, etc etc in your home. 

Now that the public is starting to know that pornography is destroying our culture, it is vitally important that we begin part # 2: HOW to combat this, as oppose to WE NEED to combat this.

Any good parent instantly becomes worried about what to do- perhaps something like this goes through your mind: “Oh craptarts, porn is so easy to access! There is no possible I can minimize or even eliminate my son/daughter’s exposure to these images and videos. Ahhhhh!!! What am I going to do? AHHH…there is nothing I can do.” And then.. if you find the courage, you may walk off and have a somewhat disjointed awkward conversation with your son or daughter about this article you read online and mumble something about “don’t look at those things you aren’t supposed to see, mmmk?”

Uhm okay, I’m going to tell you two things right now:

1) That response is not adequate.

2) There is a more adequate response, and I will tell you.

Before you read my suggestions below, ask yourself this question: Who is in charge in my home?

If your instinctual answer is “my children are”, then you have a bigger problem to address. You need to take charge of your children’s wellbeing, NOW. Why? Because they were entrusted into your care and it is YOUR responsibility to teach your children what is right and wrong. Sometimes that means mushy love, sometimes that means tough love. The point is: YOU decide. (and one more time in French.. c’est moi qui decide.)

If your instinctual answer is “My husband and I are in charge”, then these suggestions are for you and you will likely feel very comfortable with them.

Daunbey correctly starts us off by stating, “Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us, the parents.”

There is no truer saying. Many parents may not want to take on the responsibility of teaching their children about sex. Well.. tough. No one is asking you if you WANT to do it, because that is not an option (unless you eventually really desire to see your son/daughter twerking on Youtube some day). So no, abdicating your parental responsibilities to teach your children about the beauty, importance, and worthiness of their own and other people’s sexuality is not an option.

I know it can be overwhelming and if we ourselves have not been taught properly, than it can often seem embarrassing or uncomfortable to talk about sex with your kids. So..

1. Educate yourself, read, and find a way to be redeemed in your own sexuality (sex is good, human sexuality is good) so that you can talk to your children about it in a positive way. You cannot give what you yourself do not have. If you don’t believe that sex is good, natural, beautiful then you will not be able to teach your children the good things about it. They will see right through you because they are sneaky like that. Do you love yourself? You cannot teach them to love and respect themselves, if you do not love and respect yourself. You need to act because your children need guidance from you, not from school, peers, mentors or media: YOU. You need to read, reflect, seek guidance and be honest with them about the mistakes you made and how it affected your life.

2. Do not allow your teens to have computers in their bedrooms. This is a recipe for disaster as when night comes, young minds lose their inhibitions and start to get curious about things.

3. Put your family computer in a main area, or, if you have to have the computer in a room, set the rule that the door must always remain open. If a teenager feels watched, they are a lot slower to act.

4. Have an automatic cutoff for Internet use. If they require the internet later at night for school work, you may have to stay up with them. I have learned through my own errors, that being able to access the Internet late at night when everyone is in bed, did me no good. I have a mom friend who gets all the emails her 14 yr -old daughter receives. At first, I thought that was kind of controlling. Now, I think it’s wise because I remember the kind of chain emails I would sometimes get.. and all it takes is one moment of curiosity and one click.

5. If your kids have cell phones, you should set rules and boundaries with them regarding screening of texts etc. or give them the type of plan that does not allow them to text constantly. Perhaps set the rule that they cannot have their phones in their rooms at night.

6. Talk to your children. Have family dinner where you find out what they have been doing or the things they find cool right now. These conversations will tell you a lot about where their headspace is. And observe them.

7. Inspire them through action. Fathers, set an example of being a gentleman to your wife who outwardly shows respect to her, to your daughters and strangers. Tell your daughter she is beautiful. Mothers, dress modestly, compliment your daughters on how healthy and beautiful they look. Don’t tell them that compliments shouldn’t go to their head and that their outfits are weird. If you are going to critique your son or daughter’s outfit, really think before you speak because pre-teens easily feel cut down and worthless. What is it about their outfit that you feel is wrong? Is it because their pants are way too low or way too tight? Explain to them WHY how you dress matters. Explain that it reveals something- sends a message. But be gentle and kind, not cutting and critical. 

8. Depending on your kid’s age, internet and TV perhaps should not even be used until a parent is home. Both of these devices have passwords that can be put on them and are changeable.

9. Be the house where your children spend time with their friends ALOT, and you will learn ALOT about the kind of people your children like, and how they fit in to their peer group. Do they go along with what their friends say about men or women? Do they agree, do they disagree?

10. Above all else, communicate, communicate, communicate. Through thought, word and deed be the kind of person that you want your child to spend time around. Inspire them by teaching them courage, admitting when you’re wrong and being willing to say “sorry.”  By being humble to your family and to your spouse, you are teaching your children respect. This base level of respect will transfer into basic respect for others and they will be more receptive to hearing the importance of respecting others, in regards to sexuality or otherwise.

Now, you might have read all this and said to yourself “That’s great, but I can’t control what my child sees outside my home.” Yes, very true. However, you can control your response to the things they see, which will form their response. If you are at the mall, and your son or daughter sees a photo of a lingerie model in front of a La Senza store, they may be confused especially if they have not seen all these things splayed out before. CHOOSE to talk to them about what they have seen….“Guys, today at the mall there was a photo of a beautiful woman not wearing much clothing, did you see it? Yes? Okay, well, we just wanted to talk to you about why some people dress and pose like that and how doing so, does not reveal dignity in human beings and this is why..”

Your actions and these conversations will impact HOW your children respond to confusing signs in the future about sex, love and respect. And if you are able to begin to talk to them about these things when they are younger (as young as 12, I would say), they are more likely to act differently when they are 15 because they have already received positive and impactful messages from you for at least 3 years prior. It will be easier for them to survive their teens, if you start teaching them at home early on about how to navigate what they see. Just like babies need help navigating sleep, food, walking and talking, teenagers need help navigating sex and relationships. The earlier you start, just like with babies, the easier it will be in the future.

But yes, these conversations are something you must choose. Most parental actions must be chosen because let’s be honest, our feelings mostly drifted off to Lala Land to party it up with Sleep and Rest, their best friends. But just as we teach our children to sleep, eat, think, work, pray, we must consider it as much of a necessary life skill to teach them how to navigate human sexuality in a positive way through strong leadership and guidance. And that starts with thinking positively ourselves about ourselves, and others especially our spouses and children.

It’s not going to happen on it’s own. If we want our children to change the future and change the way in which porn is affecting our society and our children’s peers, we must lead the way. WE must act.

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In from the cold: Adopting a frozen embryo

By Aubrie Drayer

I was newly married and in my last year of nursing school when I learned about embryo adoption in my maternity nursing class. My professor briefly explained that couples who had undergone in-vitro fertilization often had “leftover” embryos which they could keep frozen (rather than discarding) and place for adoption. The adoptive mother would actually have the embryos implanted in her womb, carry them through nine months of pregnancy, and have the opportunity to give birth to the children she and her husband had adopted.

 

I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my husband about this incredible new way to adopt. He was just as amazed and excited by the possibility as I was. We had met while praying outside an abortion clinic and were about to begin working for a pro-life organization at the time, so we both shared a heart for the plight of the preborn in our society. My grandfather and sister were both adopted, and we had always known we would want to adopt someday, too. Embryo adoption seemed like the perfect marriage of our desire to help our preborn brothers and sisters and our desire to bring children into our family through adoption.

 

Two years later, we welcomed our biological daughter Adia into the world. I still thought about embryo adoption, but it felt like a more distant option now that we already had a biological child. We also bought a house that needed some work, and knowing that embryo adoption would cost a lot of money, I wanted to wait so we could make some updates to the kitchen first. Saying that out loud makes it sound incredibly selfish. It was.

 

I was becoming more inwardly focused and less concerned about the many little ones in freezers who were waiting for a family to love them.

 

Thankfully, my pastor preached a sermon on giving. That sermon struck a chord in me, and I saw my selfishness for what it was. I couldn’t say that I cared about these little embryos in storage but pour my money and time into updating our house, instead. On the way home, I confessed my selfishness to my husband (who had been ready to begin the adoption process much earlier), and said I was ready to move forward.

 

A home study, lots of paperwork, and seven months later, we’re now in the end stages of embryo adoption. By this Fall, I should have one or two little ones placed in my womb, and by God’s grace, will have the privilege of giving them life and home and family, just as He has given me. It is exciting to think that my husband and I will have the opportunity to give life to a child who would otherwise live out its existence in a freezer, forgotten.

 

I still struggle often with being self-centered and desiring comfort and security more than honoring God. Yet I am learning that there is only emptiness to be found in selfishness, but abundant joy in caring for others as God has commanded us.

i heart adoption
If you’d like to keep up with our adoption journey, you can follow our blog at twoadoptionstories.com.

( Please note: Mama Activist is a non-sectarian blog that celebrates the courage of mamas around the world regardless of their faith background. As such, please note that the opinions reflected in this piece reflect a Christian worldview that may not be in line with the beliefs of other Christians, such as practicing Catholics (the Catholic Church has yet to reveal her stance on embryo adoption). Regardless, the courage and selfless of this mama should be appreciated and acknowledged.)

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Okay, what? seriously…. what?

A few months after I had my baby, William, I decided to hit the mall for some new clothes/I was bored and what else is there to do except shop (or pop some tags as the kids are saying.. and by kids, I mean me.). I popped into one store and after picking out some clothes I headed to the change rooms. To my disappointment, there were no benches, chairs or anything in the change rooms. I approached the cashier and asked politely if there were any benches around so that I could put my baby down while I try on the clothes (W was only about 3 months old- no rolling or sudden movements..). Her response? “No, we don’t have benches.. but we have a stool.”

A stool? Seriously? I almost laughed at her right then and there. Instead, I politely said, “okay no that won’t work, he’s still little see?” while I pointed at the obviously tiny form snuggled in the carrier. And then I left.  I remember thinking to myself, “why do they make it so difficult?”

A little while later, I flew on my own from Calgary to Ottawa to visit family. Upon arriving at security with William in the carrier at 7 AM, the security guards asked me to take him out of the carrier, which basically meant taking the carrier off.  I also had to take off my shoes, and do the normal thing of pushing my bags through- all while holding my baby, my passport and boarding pass and unpacking a laptop. While everyone stood around and watched. William was naturally fussy from being woken up so I was bouncing him a bit trying to juggle everything. The oh-so-helpful-not-helpful-at-all security guard then said the following, “No no!! Don’t rock your baby!! You shouldn’t rock him, you’ll have to rock him forever, it’s not good for him! No no!!”. I was dumbfounded….seriously?!  Paralyzed with embarrassment and feeling unable to say anything, I nodded and managed a weak smile and continued trying to get my act together. Thankfully, the woman behind me was stronger and told him off for me. She also held W for me so I could get my stuff together. I was soo grateful, but still so embarassed! How did he get off thinking he could say those things?!

Around the same time, James and I went to Valoo Veelage (Okay, it’s Value Village- I was trying to be fancy). Upon entering the doors, we were faced with a conundrum: there were metal poles that were creating a barrier between us and the store, making it impossible for us to get our stroller through. We had actually take William out, take all our stuff out of the stroller, collapse it, and put everything back in order on the other side of the barrier. Any parent knows how frustrating this is when it takes you like half an hour to get out the door in the first place. All that I could think of at the time was, “what if I was a harried single mother coming here and now there is literally a barrier between me and getting what I need? It took me ages to get here in the first place, now I have to what? Put my child, who can’t sit up, on the floor so that I can collapse my stroller and get through the barriers? Forget it, this is way too hard. I can’t do this.”  Le sigh.

Lastly, during a Calgary winter, I attempted to take William down the street for an outing and nearly got hit by a car because there was snow piled up against each entrance and exist onto the sidewalks making it nearly impossible to smoothly get off the street when the lights changed. Upon calling the city to complain, they told me likely nothing would change. Upon telling other mom friends about this, I found out that this is a common problem across Canada- even to the point of mothers and babies actually getting hit as a result. SERIOUSLY?!

These are just four examples of experiences I have had as a new mum in our progressive 21st Century society. I know many mums who have had similar experiences, and who have had even worse comments made to them about the number of children they have,  how they look too young to be having children etc etc. In the opposite way, I received a surprising number of comments from strangers about William being in a baby carrier with me, or him as a newborn, or when I was heavily pregnant.

Bottom line, people’s surprise towards seeing babies and pregnant women tells me something: Seeing children and pregnant women is  becoming something of a rarity. And because it’s rare, individuals are no longer familiar with the proper behaviour that goes along with seeing stressed out mothers, with having mothers with strollers who need clean sidewalks, with having mothers who are just trying to make it through the day and don’t need parenting advice, or weight comments or comments about how you look dead tired.

It is as though our society is no longer use to having children as an essential part of our societal norms that negative comments are said, ignorant advice/suggestions are given, surprising remarks are uttered and store policies are made thoughtlessly. Children are becoming such a rarity in our culture that society is forgetting how to operate with them. Children are no longer seen as a vital, and essential part of our society. We make policies that do not reflect their existence or value.

Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “well these are unfair expectations”. Well, I’m n

ot so sure about that and this is why: Other societies do it better. Much, much, much better. Here is one example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22751415

Finland policy makers say they do this to show that families matter to the state. That the state recognizes the value and importance of children in the culture, and that children are important.

By Canadian cities putting up physical barriers between couples and a store, being accomodate at the airport and generally thoughtless when it comes to parking (i can count the number of stores that have family parking), and family-friendly environments, they are communicates a message: Children are not that important to us. You

having a child, being pregnant, perhaps single and alone as well.. not important to us. Survive if you can with us, and if you can’t.. well that part we can help you with.

How? So far, I have seen far more thought put into the abortion debate than I have seen put into implementing family-friendly policies in this country. So far, I have seen that the Canadian government and Canadians fight harder to make abortions available, than they fight for families and children. So far, I have seen 100,000 children killed every year in this country and 100,000 women hurt by abortion. The reality is that Canada does not cherish it’s families, thats why there is no fight for them from the state. 

Mamas, do not accept the status quo! If you do not speak up and say, “ My Canada should treat me better” then who will?? No one. You can fight.

 Here is what I suggest you do:

– Write a short editorial to the newspaper relating your experience.  Sometimes public opinion is the only thing that helps things change.

– If you are treated negatively by a store clerk because you have a child, tell  them that their behaviour is not okay. If you don’t, maybe no one will..  maybe one person at time we can start to change things.

– Talk to your MP about advocating for family-friendly policies and what  that could look like. MPs fight for things they know their constituencies care  about.. so again, if you don’t show you care, then neither will they, then neither will the government and there you have it.

– Lead by example for your children and for other people. Be extra thoughtful, extra thankful, extra compassionate. This rubs off on people. Let’s make it so that it’s not a huge surprise for a mama every time someone is thoughtful to them!

It’s the age of saying of treat others as you would like to be treated. In short: YOU be the change!

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Bring back the awkward: Part 2- let’s talk about sexuality

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about the oversexualization of young girls in our culture. I referenced a few situations I had read about/seen recently that showed me that as parents, we really need to be diligent in monitoring what our children are exposed to from a young age till they are adults.

Apparently, I have more to say.. so here we go:

I said a couple things that I want to clarify. A good friend pointed out to me that I had said, What freaked my husband and I out the most about this girl was how sexual she was.”  My friend reminded me that it is not wrong for this girl to be sexual- in fact, we are all sexual and that is a good thing. What do I mean by sexual? Well, in our humanness, we are sexual beings- we are male and female. We desire intimacy, we have reproductive organs.. we are sexual beings, and it’s imprinted in our hearts and in our bodies. The fact that we are sexual beings is a beautiful thing- beautiful and powerful. The expression of our sexuality is what is key- as women, do we use our sexuality to fulfill our desires to know we are beautiful? Do we teach our daughters the same? In the situation I referred to in my previous blog piece, the little girl was using her sexuality to get attention- because she had been taught by the culture that this was the purpose of her femininity. That her femininity should be used to get something- not reveal something beautiful. When art is covered up, it is not because the painting doesn’t matter.

The opposite is actually true- it is covered up because the work is such a masterpiece, that revealing it is a big friggin’ deal. So too is it with our sexuality. 

As a young woman myself who misused her sexuality for selfish gain, I understand the power that it has, and I think this girl did too. Unfortunately, as the wise PowerRanger Jessica Rey pointed out in her recent video, using your sexuality to boost your self-esteem, actually does the opposite to women- it has objectified them more than we can possibly ever understand. Rey points out that wearing revealing clothing has not acted as a powertool, but rather, has left women defrocked and dehumanized. If she does not show, through her dress, that she values her sexuality (her very being), then how are others suppose to give her the same respect?

Think of it this way: If you come into my house and see that I have dishes everywhere, you might think to yourself  “I guess having dishes everywhere doesn’t bother Ruth..”. Maybe you think it the first time. Maybe the next time, we have lunch, and you leave your dirty dish on the table. Maybe after that, you spill something on the floor and don’t think I care. Before you know it, we’re trashing the joint. Why? Because I communicated I didn’t care, and you justifably responded by also not caring. If I don’t care about my stuff, why should you? Instead of addressing the issues of why I don’t value my stuff, our culture addresses the issues of why you don’t respect my stuff. By putting the attention on the wrong issue, this gives me the unfortunate freedom to keep throwing my stuff around and never addressing the key issues. By addressing the issue of why you don’t respect my stuff, it validates my behaviour and asks you to accept something wrong. Something that is not helping me grow. Something that continues to perpetuate my brokenness.

Why are videos, pictures, etc etc of people acting sexual so powerful? Because sexuality is powerful. And what do we do with powerful things? We hold them close, we protect it. Remember what happened to Frodo when he was too free with the ring? BIG problems.

So what was it that really bothered me about that girl’s behaviour? It was that she was using her sexuality to gain something, instead of to reveal something cherished and beautiful. THAT disturbs me. That at such a young age, she knew the power she held within, but instead of being taught to cherish it, she had been taught to use it. There is nothing wrong with a woman knowing the power of her sexality- in fact, every girl should know how beautiful and important her sexuality is. It’s what we are taught it is for, how we are taught to use it, Why it matters, why it is beautiful, why it should only be revealed in the safest, most cherished, most solemn of places that are key things to teach ourselves and our daughters. 

What can we do about this as mamas for our children?

Came across these articles this week.. food for thought-

your actions have a huge effect on how your children see you, themselves, and others:

http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/parenting-and-families/when-your-mother-says-shes-fat-20130604-2nnxq.html

Diligence:

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2013/may/heart-of-screen-time.html

And this:

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Bring back awkward pimples and bad hygene.

I was inspired to write this blog piece after a fire was lit in my heart by 3 things:

1) This: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9828589/Children-and-the-culture-of-pornography-Boys-will-ask-you-every-day-until-you-say-yes.html

2) A few weeks ago, I read a story posted by a fellow mom blogger (searching for the link still..) about a situation involving her very young daughter and a little boy. The boy was completely infatuated with her daughter. He constantly followed her around asking her to be his “girlfriend”. The little girl, for whatever reason, did not reciprocate his feelings and after some time, became uncomfortable with the attention. Her classmates began to notice and would tease her- you know, the typical kindergaren drama. But here is the thing: This mom went to the little boy’s parents and asked them to speak to their son and explain to him that her daughter wasn’t interested in his affections. Their response? But that will hurt him. Couldn’t she, wouldn’t she just give him a little note or something? Why does the little girl have to be so cold? This wise mama rightly told them that her daughter doesn’t owe the little boy anything, and does not have to reciprocate his affections if she doesn’t want to. The purpose of this mom posting this blog was to show how the rape culture can start forming at a much younger age if we are not careful about the values we teach our children. In this case, the little boy was learning that 1) if he badgered this girl enough, she might give in therefore it was appropriate and necessary to keep the badgering up. 2) He learned that he is entitled to some return of affection simply because he has affection for someone and has communicated that. Lastly, through his parent’s misguided actions, this little boy was learning that his feelings matter more than anyone elses.

3) Over the weekend, I attended a beautiful wedding- it was charming, whimsical, and more importantly, a celebration of pure love between two people I love. And then the dance started and right away, there was one girl that stood out to me. She was quite pretty, but unfortunately that isn’t what sticks in my mind. The reason I remember her is because she was wearing a little dress that was much too short- which became obvious as soon as she gave a girlish twirl. She also a couple dance moves that were almost exact replicas of dance moves I had seen in the odd music video- senual, provocative, wild. She also kept doing this full hair flip that seriously could only have been something she learned from watching something erotic, or watching someone else do it. I remember her the most, however, because she could not have been more than 15 years old.

Seriously, what happened to the awkward teen phase where you smell bad, you’re uncomfortable in you’re own skin, you have awkward pimples and you aren’t entirely sure what to wear?? I’m not saying to be awkward or rough, but I do think that this awkward phase communicates something beautiful- it’s innocence. It says something about this little man and beginning woman (coined by a 15 year old Vanessa Crosby on The Crosby Show)– that they are growing into themselves, finding themselves.

What freaked my husband and I out the most about this girl was how sexual she was. I could go into this alot more, but for the purpose of this blog, I only have one question: Where are her parents?

As #1 explains, the effects of porn on young people today is massive. like.. MASSIVE. Recently, I discovered more deeply the effects of technology on young minds. I see it daily in my son, William as he is constantly trying to grab my phone and chats to the computer as soon as he sees it, trying to look at the screen. He is very little but his brain is developing rapidly- everything has an effect. The same is true for these young teenagers whose brains and social skills are developing at a rapid pace, and parents, we NEED to be diligent. #1 misses the point- the author points to technology as the reason for the oversexualization of our culture, but the real heart of the issue lies with poor parenting- unwatchful parenting. Parents who are abdicating their responsibilities to the TV, peers, teachers, and technology.

The messages on the screen are sending rapid-fire signals to these young minds that are subconsciously teaching them what is right and wrong, what behaviour is acceptable, what is not. We may not ever know the impact of just letting our young teenagers watch “whatever they want for an hour”. No, diligence is required NOW.

We are raising children in an extremely sexualized culture and we may not realize it till it is too late. It starts with Toddlers and Tiaras, Barbie Dolls with Giant racks and tiny hips. It ends with Miley Sirus and Selina Gomez agreeing to do nude scenes.

In this situation with this girl from the wedding, I didn’t even necessarily expect her mother to do anything in the moment- I would not want her publically shamed by any means. What did cross my mind was where had she been all the times this girl was watching and learning these dance moves? Was she diligent about knowing what her daughter was learning and watching at school? Who were her friends? Even if this girl was copying these moves sub-consciously and didn’t quite understand what she was doing, isn’t that still a problem? Subconsciously, this little woman was being taught to be sexual. Some day, that subconscious behaviour will become conscious behaviour if not curbed. If she is not taught about the messages her behaviour is sending to boys. Here is one analysis of the kind of message she is likely sending:  http://www.qideas.org/video/the-evolution-of-the-swimsuit.aspx

As usual, to close….here is the age old question: What can we do as mamas, as parents? As siblings?

1) Explain to your daughters and sons about modesty. About what provocative messaging is- the lies is communicates about the opposite sex, about themselves. Show them how to see truth in a world that is consistently lying to them.

2) Be diligent about knowing what they are up to when they do have screen time, TV and computer. My husband and I have already decided that our family computer will be in the living room, and that noone is permitted to have their laptop in their room. We have also read about great ideas regarding changing WiFi passwords and having a cut off time for when the WiFi shuts off. Things like this teach children boundries and give them much needed accountability as they are learning to navigate life. Who are their role models?

3) Communication is totally key at a fragile awkward stage. Have open (yes, probably somewhat awkward) communcation about whats going on with them physically and the changes are they are to see. But make it positive! To reference the Crosby Show again, have a woman’s day to celebrate the transition into womanhood. Have a manly day too!! This tells your children that their sexuality is something to be celebrated and cherished. Hopefully this will grow overtime as they get older and begin to understand how easy it is to let someone else devalue you if you do not value yourself.

napoleon dynamite

By Ruth Shaw

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