The kids are running around outside in the rain, stomping in puddles, spiking up wet locks, shrieking with laughter, and trying to tag each other amidst the pitter patter. These are the things that childhoods are made of. Things that they should be made of, rather. Today I find myself desperately holding onto and relishing moments like this, treasuring the innocence, knowing that it's rare and fleeting in today's culture.
I want to sit on the porch with my cup of coffee and watch them run and play and splash for years and years. I don't want them to grow up. To meet the evil in the world face to face, to experience pain, loss, betrayal. I know that one day it will come, though. And I also know that when it does, that God is and will continue to be good.
We shared the park down the road today with a group of girls, not more then a few years older then Clayton. I'm guessing in their tweens. They were laughing and joking with each other by us on the swings, and when the cussing started, I politely asked them to tone it down for the little ears who have a tendency to repeat everything. They complied for a while, until their friends showed up. We decided to walk back home when they started singing a song to the tune of "I like having sex, I like getting high…"
Oh, how my aching mother heart wanted to run over there and shake them back into reality. I wanted to sit down with them and tell them that they are worth more then that, that they can be more then that. No doubt some of them were singing from experience, or at the very least out of a desire to be cool and accepted. To be wanted and loved.
And then I realized that shaking them back into reality wouldn't help, because this IS their reality. Especially in the city, these poor little girls live in a sex and drug saturated culture. One that tells them that they, even in their pre-pubescent bodies, need to be "hot" and sexy to warrant a man's attention. And the end result of attracting a man with your sexuality is, well, sex. And the world tells you that you will finally be loved by taking this route. But when this strategy fails miserably, there's drugs to dull the pain. And repeat.
So I'm having one of those how-do-I-protect-my-kids-from-the-world-without-burying-them-under-a-rock-until-they're-thirty kind of days. And really, I don't know. And that's frightening. But I know their precious little lives are in God's hands, and there's no better place for them to be. I also know that as parents, we are important. What you say to your kids is important. What you do, how you live, is even more important.
Be the kind of man or woman that you want them to be, starting today. And you know what, talk to them about sex, even if it's awkward. Because you better believe that the world's messages about it are coming through loud and clear.
Be louder. We owe it to them.