One of the things I love about Facebook is the ability to easily keep up with some of my favorite authors/bloggers. And one of my favorite authors/bloggers is Tim Challies. I first became a fan of Tim Challies due to his excellent book reviews, but since becoming a "Facebook friend", I've kept up with his other blog posts and his daily A La Carte feature, which highlights online links of interest.
This morning's A La Carte post included another video that stopped me in my tracks and demanded a repost here. Again, it isn't comfortable. It isn't fun. It isn't encouraging. It's painful. And maybe a bit offensive, in a "step on our toes" kind of way. But oh, so important. And it is so, so necessary that parents...and all of us...become aware of this and take whatever measures necessary to protect our children. Lest anyone think that Alcorn is making too much of this...let me assure you that he is not. And the consequences are not just for that individual and their immediate family. The consequences ripple through extended family, friends, the church, and the community. Our own family has been impacted by this in the life of someone completely outside of our household. The devastation involved is immense.
I am convinced that this is one of the tools that Satan uses most effectively to destroy young men and families (and increasingly young women, as well). It is a tool that he can use to invade our churches where other ammunition would be completely ineffective. And just as he was with Eve, he is so, so crafty in luring people of all ages and backgrounds into this snare, as I mentioned in Part 1.
Case in point. Those that know Billy and I know that our "overprotectiveness" rating is off the charts. I'm pretty sure mine is genetic...going back at least to my Papaw Brown, as those who knew him would no doubt agree :)...and Billy's, while not necessarily hereditary, is definitely inborn. Remember "Big Mike" in the movie "The Blind Side", who scored 98% in "Protective Instinct"?? Well, my comment at the time was "Billy would have scored 100%. Or higher. :)" And he would. The name "William" means "strong protector", and I have so seen that name lived out in my grandfather (Foy William), my dad (Foy William, Jr.), and my husband (William Aaron). I'm already seeing it in our son (William Peter) who is a 5th generation William on my side of the family, and 3rd (at least) on Billy's.
As I've mentioned before, Billy and I also have a great deal of "life experience" (particularly from our DHS days and Billy's time at Harbor View and in the ER....) that has just reinforced our natural tendencies in that direction. We are very, very careful about where our children go, who they are with, and what they watch and listen to.
A few weeks ago, however, we were reminded that we are *always* vulnerable and must *always* be on our guard. We were travelling, and our lodging had satellite TV. This was quite a treat for our children, who usually only get to watch cable or satellite on rare occasions when they are at Nonny and Granddad's or Aunt Shelly and Uncle Tim's. We don't even have network TV at our house! Just a tiny TV we use for DVDs and videos (yes, we are techological dinosaurs :)) and Netflix instant-watch on the computer (we don't even have the technology to stream that over the TV yet!)
So neither Billy nor I gave a second thought to the TV in the living room of the cabin where we stayed. The kids enjoyed watching old cartoons for a while before they went to bed, and asked to watch a specific Disney program to which "mean old mom (and dad)" said no.
In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up and walked into the kitchen to get a drink. Peter was in the living room wide-awake, watching TV. I asked what he was doing up, he said he couldn't sleep, and I didn't think anything more about it. At the time, he was watching an old re-run that I had no problem with his watching, so I told him not to stay up all night and went back to bed.
A few minutes later, I was up again, this time to go to the bathroom. As I walked through the living room, the TV caught my eye. Peter had been flipping channels, and there was an add for a Pay-Per-View program. An x-rated PPV program. I was stunned. We had had trouble earlier in the evening with the controller "sticking"...we figured it needed new batteries and planned to tell the office the next morning. Now, of all things, the controller was "stuck" on this particular ad. I worked and worked with it and finally walked over to the set and turned the whole thing off.
Fortunately, at the place we were staying, those channels are locked, and other than the very distasteful *ads* for the PPV programming, the actual programming cannot be accessed. That was a huge relief. However, Billy and I realized that God had truly protected us...and our children...from our own stupidity(okay, maybe stupidity isn't the best word...naivete, perhaps? ) We are so used to the fact that everything our children can access on our "TV" is approved material, that it never occurred to us that danger might lurk right there in the living room of our cozy historic cabin. We decided then and there that from now on when we travel, the TV will be going off when Mom and Dad go to bed, and the remote will be going with us. NOT because we don't trust our children....but because there are dangers out there that they are not equipped to handle yet.
These dangers are insidious, and in our world today, they are literally lurking everywhere. We must be vigilant. We must do all that we can to protect our children. As Randy Alcorn said on another video clip I watched...(not a direct quote)...we can't stop it from happening "out there", but we can do everything possible to keep it out of our homes. He then added the Martin Luther quote which I love..."You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair."
We MUST keep them from nesting in not only our own hair, but that of our children.
NOTE about the video. Right at one minute in, there is a gun reference that could be difficult for some. Please be aware that it is there, and if needed, turn off the volume for about 15 seconds, or just skip from about 1:00 to 1:17. And...for any young readers I might have who are still living at home with your parents, please consult them before watching, just due to the subject matter.
Would you buy your son a stack of pornographic magazines? from Randy Alcorn on Vimeo.
Also, here is an excellent article from Eternal Perspecitve Ministries on connecting sin with its consequences. Although I haven't used this particular analogy, this is a topic I discuss with our children often. Things that seem like "little tiny private sins" can mushroom into disasters that affect not only the individual's life, but the lives of everyone around them. I am *so* convicted about the need for our children to "get this". There is another good article from Randy Alcorn on this topic here.
I would love to hear your feedback on these posts on protecting children, particularly any additional helpful links, or ways that your family addresses child protection issues. You can leave a comment below, or email me through the link in my profile.