Posts Tagged With: Moral values

Playing with Fire

The river looked so peaceful tumbling over the rocks and through the snow-covered pine trees. The road weaved through the narrow canyon, the rock walls towered above us.

The kids had been teasing all morning to find a sledding hill and we hadn’t driven all the way through the canyon by our house since the flood almost two years ago. Perfect excuse to go on an adventure. A year-and-a-half and countless hours of hard work by so many people had masked much of the devastation the river had caused, but in several spots it was still apparent. We commented on the stretches of road that had obviously crumbled away to the high waters and admired the incredible strength the raging torrent must have had as it tumbled down the mountain. Mud slides where the pine trees and boulders had eroded away from water with cement-like consistency and strength. We had seen the devastation on a very real level that day as my husband’s half hour commute turned to four hours, and I panicked as I weaved around roads almost submersed in water to rescue my son from school, which they had closed less than an hour after the students arrived.

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The civil engineering that had fixed the broken roads and made the canyon passable a mere six months after was impressive. But what caught our eye more than anything else were the houses. Some hanging halfway off a cliff from undercutting, windows still broken, walls gone, some houses even moved from one location to another. Some still in the midst of repair, others abandoned. Nothing left to salvage.

“Why would anyone build a house so close to the river?” My husband’s face showed genuine concern and disbelief. Having dug mud out of basements for many weekends following the flood, he knew far better than I did the pain and work this had caused families.

The answer seemed obvious. The peaceful little stream, the majestic mountains towering around us, the pine trees so romantically enveloping the little cabins. Quiet, serene, beautiful… fun. I could see plenty of people jumping at the opportunity. But just a few little rocky steps down from the front porch trickling by was a danger that should have been obvious. It wasn’t the first time that river had flooded, and chances are, it won’t be the last.

I never had even heard of the books, and the movie would have gone unnoticed to me had it not been all over the Internet. To be honest, I still don’t really even know exactly what it’s about. 50 Shades of Gray has obviously caused an uproar. The newspaper this week devoted an entire article boasting of the film breaking box office records. What I do know about it is that it has left us questioning our moral values as a society. And for me, I don’t plan to watch to find out any more than that.

In a world that all-too-often seems to scoff at moral values it’s increasingly important for us to stand up.

Because if you play with fire you will get burned.

As attractive as something may seem, as romantic, as fun, as cozy, if potential dangers wait just right outside the door, it’s probably not worth the risk.

Porn harms. Period. Movies, pictures, books, whatever. If it creates strong emotions outside of a healthy relationship, it’s wrong.

Affairs, physical and even just simple, seemingly harmless emotional ones can devastate a family.

It can start small. Lingering a second too long on that magazine cover at the book store. A simple flirtatious comment to a coworker. Confiding in an old high school fling about a little spat with your spouse. When we cross that line, we are laying the foundation right at the beaches of a potential raging torrent. It may seem at the time like a stream, but why take that risk?

Let’s decide now. Let’s draw a line and never cross. If we can’t set the example, if we can’t show our children that our families, that our spouse is worth so much more than riverfront, flood plane property, who will? Obviously not the media.

Up the canyon and past the flood-devastated homes my family found a fantastic sledding hill. With red cheeks and giant grins, my boys mounted their sleds. My husband cheered with each tumble and jump, and we had a wonderful time. I can’t imagine giving something so incredible up for what originally might seem like a simple little look, a quick witty comment, a seemingly harmless movie with degrating and erotic content. The grass is greener where it is watered. Where are we going to water? No matter how wonderful the property may seem, if danger lurks in the shadows, I hope we will all choose to build our foundation on something more sure and strong.

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For Now Let’s Let Birds Be Birds and Bees Be Bees

“Today I learned about the birds and the bees!!” M beamed proudly. My husband shot me a look from the driver’s seat and we both stifled a little chuckle. Having taught the three-year-old sunday school class at church myself, I knew nothing in the curriculum would lead to such a discussion. “Oh really?” I asked. “Tell us about it.” His enthusiasm filled the car as he showed us a bird puppet he’d made and a jar covered in stickers of bugs for catching insects. Out of curiosity I looked up the title of the lesson when we got home. “I Am Thankful For Birds and Insects.” Nothing too risqué about that!

In my boys’ little world, a crazy night party involves mom and dad staying up late watching the old James Bond and snacking on fruity pebbles. Maybe chocolatey swirl peanut butter ice cream. That is, of course, after dishes are done, table’s washed and chickens are safely tucked in their coop for the night. They’re pretty convinced that the vilest, meanest person living has a hook and takes residence on a ship in Neverland, and the only difference between boys and girls is (very generally speaking) that girls sing Frozen ALL the time and tend to choose the color pink over blue.
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I know, I know. I can’t shelter them forever. But now? Really?? Sometimes the world seems to be rushing them into an adult life. Things that are totally inappropriate for them at such an innocent age. The birds and the bees are attacking, buzzing in their ears, pecking at them every chance they get. It’s thrown in their face at the grocery store, on billboards, on the TV, and at school (tabloids, maybe? Carl’s Jr commercials perhaps??). Even I, as an adult, often find it disgusting and degrading. A friend was telling me recently about the experience she’d have every day as she picked her daughter up from kindergarden. Teenagers who had just been let off the bus from the high school would rather conspicuously “make out” just a few feet away. Plain sight for all the little girls and boys (not to mention all their younger siblings) to witness. Boys and girls, girls and girls, all exposing young minds to something they aren’t emotionally or mentally ready for. In case we forget, “kindergardener” means kids who have only been on this earth five or six years. Children who still sleep with teddy bears and watch Sesame Street, pretend to be doggies and dinosaurs, and read picture books.

Of course the day will come when we will have to sit down and have a chat. I know they will hear things at school, see things at the store, and question what the song is really trying to say. I just hope they can be kids for a while longer. I hope they can rise above the crowd and know when to back out of a conversation. I hope they can stand up when no one else is standing. Some things are meant to wait. Let them be kids…believe in the unbelievable, run around with a cape, dig in the dirt with miniature tractors, and eat Mac and cheese. Someday the time will be right. They will need to know about those adult topics. But let’s not rush it. I am convinced exposure to such things at such a young and vulnerable age can bring absolutely nothing good.

For now let’s let birds be birds and bees be bees. Let them fill their imagination with pirates and fairies, not lustful, provocative pictures. It’s a harsh, scary world out there. We have to prepare them for it, but we don’t have to throw them to the wolves. Let’s enjoy their innocence and help them navigate the bombardment that is bound to come. Then maybe, as we work together and help our kids through, they can develop healthy habits, strong values, and a better idea of what “the birds and the bees” is all about.
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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: | 10 Comments

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