This world is a crazy place. Flooded with un-parented, broken human beings. Sometimes I wonder of it is getting worse or I am just old and slowly getting crotchety. Yesterday I thought, do I have to hear another song about one night stands, drinking binges, and the dance floor? I don't understand why this is the popular music. Is this the nation's dream? Is this the lifestyle of the majority? I'm not against it. It just makes no sense in the corner store or the local radio. Neither does lack of manners and disrespect.
I appreciate uniqueness and diversity and that I am surrounded by people of all different ages and backgrounds. I am certain that my questioning of the music would even be taken as small minded by some. But sometimes I just can't see how something is acceptable.
The other day I played a children's video on a children's channel on You Tube and went into the next room. My daughter, 20 months, watched the song and it went to the next children's song. An ad preceded the following video. Next thing I know, I hear very negative swearing. I ran in and hit skip ad, wondering how she navigated away from the page without a keyboard, only to find the offensive ad was in front of the intended children's video. I was not happy. I wasn't being a stick in the mud or a prude. That's just not right.
Sure, the answer would be to not let my daughter watch a You Tube video. Easy solution. That is what I declared at first. As it's the easiest, cheapest way to play a children's song by request, though, I returned with supervision. As she tried to push the buttons herself.
What will I have to keep her from? I don't want to shelter her but I want her to enjoy being a child for as long as possible. Life is stressful enough with all the comparing and bullying and peer-pressure that she will have to witness. Why add more issues? Sometimes I think about homeschooling to keep her from all the disquiet but I know there is good out there as well and many benefits to experiencing society. Though some days it is harder to see the light in the sludge.
A few years ago I used to pass an elementary school on my way to work every day. I was absolutely astounded at the language and the topics that would emanate from the playground. An elementary school. Where do they get this? Do their parents just speak to them like they are part of the gang? Are they trying to buy their love with cool friendship? Are they allowed to watch whatever they want on television? Is there any censorship? Can't people make a decision to be responsible for the benefit of another? I personally had to work on my, "Oh shit!" habit when it became one of my daughter's first words.
Growing up I think my mom tried to make up for faults by being a friend. We watched things we shouldn't. We drank at home. We grew up too fast. When we should have been learning more about ourselves and our strengths we were focusing on things we shouldn't have to worry about yet. Kids should be kids.
I know it's not all parenting. But the more moms and dads on board the more children who will stand up for what's right. A few months ago I went to a parenting talk and there was a mother who asked what was wrong with swearing. She said that they were just words that weren't as harsh as they used to be and it wouldn't bother her if her children spoke them. I tried to be open minded. I tried to consider the times. I imagined my neighbor's foul language being spoken everywhere and I just couldn't agree. Where is politeness? Where is respect?
I will continue to try to set an example for my growing daughter and try to teach her that there are attitudes that are important. And there are attitudes to be avoided. First Corinthians 6:12 says, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." Just because I can do something, just because I can get away with something, doesn't mean that it is the beneficial thing to do.
This gives me a choice to ponder. As my daughter's advocate, how far do I go to protect her? My choices shouldn't take away someone else's freedom. My decision shouldn't prevent someone else from living their life. But for each "issue" I will have, when does their right to choose interfere with my right to protect my child?
I am certain this will continuously be a fine line that at times I will leave alone and at other times I will cross. I am completely aware that swearing is not seen as an issue by some and I know quite well there are other, more pressing matters for me to be concerned about. Likewise, I know I may struggle with others trying to hinder my daughter's freedom as they feel I let her do something with which they don't agree.
I must choose to pick my battles on what I know I believe and not what someone else thinks. I must make my choices based on the future of my daughter's generation. I must not base my decisions on convenience or trying to fit in. I must choose to pick my battles based on the things that are important for us to be able to do.
At this point it is not at all important for my daughter to be online. It's an occasional distraction. But one day, in this world of technology, she will have to be comfortable with navigating the cyber world. The large, open, scary cyber world full of narcissistic, opinionated, ignorant people. I will be by her side helping her learn to be safe and responsible.
And I am really hoping there are going to be enough other parents taking the time to do the same so that we can help create a nourishing, encouraging atmosphere in which our children can grow. For the sake of our children's own generation and for the next that will follow and the next to follow after that as well.