teaching our children to guard their eyes
Teaching our children to guard their eyes:
We have to help our children guard their eyes- physically….
Parents, mother’s and especially father’s- because your influence on appropriateness rises higher than anyone else; we have to help our children in this because our children’s eyes influence their heart. We need to teach teach our children how and why we guard our eyes.
As early as your children start reading books or watching tv, they need to be taught to close or cover their eyes when something is inappropriate. They need to guard their eyes if something is not pleasing to you as parents or to the Lord. By training , I mean we teach younger children to physically take their hand and cover their eyes, or even close their eyes, or they will have a consequence. This teaches them self control and integrity. Children do not know that the eye is the window to many sins. We teach them what that sin is and how to avoid looking at it. The older our children get the demand for integrity in this is revealed. Parents should not take it lightly when their kids are peaking either.
I know most parents might read this and think, “I am doing a good job protecting them”, the problem is, just like we see in our older aged children, you cannot possible protect them from everything. They need to be trained (at an early age) to protect themselves. Today, technology is the number one portal or outlet for ruining our children’s innocents and causing them to stumble into a very painful world of shame.
One thing I am so thankful for is that the Lord showed Chris and I, early on in parenting, how important it is to start teaching self control at a very young age. I am going to be honest, my children come up to us weekly or daily and ask (I mean ding-dong us)..“is this okay?”, “is this inappropriate”, and it can be a picture of a belly dancer in the “Guinness Book of World Record’s” that they were reading. Often, a swim suit commercial or even cartoon will be on TV and I will have my boys standing at my counter asking “mom is this okay?” or “should we turn it? They will cover their eyes on the couch and yell- "mom come in here..is this okay?!"
Chris and I have been adamant about speaking to our children about the power the eye has over the whole body. Whether it be sexual images or scary-haunted images, we must teach the kids… even until we can find the remote to change the channel or even if we cannot get through the grocery check-out line fast enough (to skip the racy magazines), they need to be looking away and using self control. I might not see them, but God who purifies their hearts sees them.
About two years ago, it seemed as if our oldest son was asking us about every little incident. To the point where it was very redundant. We could have really ruined what God was sharpening in him. We taught whether it be someone mocking God (like a fake god on tv) or kissing on a Disney movie, that they can teach themselves to look away from these things. My oldest son would ask about gypsy cartoons, a bugs bunny crystal ball, little mermaid’s belly button showing.etc.....This all sounds funny… but both Chris and I were almost annoyed. We had to answer and handle his concern so carefully without showing him our frustrations. He had constant curiosity and questions. We had to explain each scenario and explain the intent behind each little stumbling block. I realize now the sensitivity of my son’s heart and that he was really trying to avoid things that would hurt God’s heart. He was also differentiating the intent behind the images. Meaning, was this a show and people were swimming on a beach- so it was appropriate, or was it a girl just prancing around in her undies? Were the two that were kissing on the tv show married? There are all kinds of questions that had to be carefully taught and explained.
Now move forward a couple years, this same son still asks and even more-so tells us whenever he sees something questionable. Recently, in Florida, both older boys raced out of a restaurant bathroom and told me, “mom, there is a very inappropriate picture hanging on the bathroom wall”. Chris chimed in, “oh yeah there is”… Both boys said, “We came right out and we haven't even used the bathroom yet”.
In this moment, I realized, "THANK YOU, JESUS". My boys could have stood there and joked and showed so much curiosity to the image that hung in that restroom. they could have felt shame and kept it a secret. Instead, they ran to Chris and I to tell us. I couldn’t tell my boys enough how proud I was that they came out to tell me. Even at this young of an age they have me as their accountability check-in. I realize if I would have laughed at my boys a few years ago or made them feel stupid or shameful for asking me about the simple immodest questions, they would feel silly running to me as 8 & 10 year olds.
Most parents might read this and think- you don’t have teen boys yet and it all changes. Or, this type of guarding of the eyes changes when they are teens. Some might even be thinking, I need to let them be boys and explore. my main mission as a mother is to help them guard their hearts and to pray their hearts are for the Lord. I have said this before, I have to stand before the One who LENT me my kids here on earth and answers to HIM. My job is not to train them up to be comfortable in the world, but to protect them from this world’s lies . The enemy defiles the hearts of our our young men and women.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23
I have been graciously humbled in many areas of my life in parenting and my influence on my kids. For the first few years of Karter’s life I purchased US Magazines and People Magazines (I can’t believe I even wasted my life on those). Those magazines sat on my table or counter tops. One day, Karter said, “mom this girl is dressed really inappropriate”. It was probably Snookie or something…and in that moment I heard God say, “you teach them to look away from these things, yet you platter it right before them”. OUCH! From that day forward, I no longer brought those celebrity magazines into my home. I want my kids to see me for much more than that. I want to be so careful about the material I bring before them.
My prayer is for them to be so equipped with self control and HIS Word that their heart does not deceive them.
“The heart, among everything else, is deceitful and controls the body.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
I have watched parents think inappropriate things are funny, silly or not that big of a deal. Children are imitators. If you make light of it - they will too. If you train them with the tools (self control) and make them feels safe and not ashamed, they will also know the importance of getting out of their sin and looking for help.
A BIG TOPIC & CONCERN (electronics):
Parents, we all need to be watching the electronics. Even as you hand your kids a cell phone on the bus ride during a field trip or at the table in a restaurant, they can be youtubing and pornographic images come up. Right there and then, you have been the culprit for not protecting your little one’s eyes. You have now opened the window to a greater evil and desires within them.
*WE NEED TO BE PROTECTING our children’s eyes the best way we can.
I realize many parents put locks and protection on their "children’s" devices, but what about yours? We as parents should put protections our devices, not because you do not have self control- but because we hand our little children these devices and the enemy is chomping at the bit. As our children google or youtube, images will pop up that you cannot control. We are dealing with an industry that pays millions of dollars to sneak images under key words so that your child will see it and be drawn back to it. Right now, Instagram and YOUTUBE have millions of "sites" linked to it, which mean billions of images go right to your phone that you hand your kids to play with. Don’t get me wrong, my kids handle my phone all the time. But, I had a moment where the hair on the back of my neck stood up. One of my children were looking up something and they yelled out “MOM this is so inappropriate”…In that moment, my heart sunk as I raced to the phone! I knew it, I just knew it…I set my child up …as if I set them up to run through a minefield….I handed them a device that was mine and it did not have the protection or locks on it. Thankfully, as I looked at the picture’s it was nothing. It was probably a cartoon or something. I am so thankful for that moment. GOD SPOKE…He used that to remind me that I am not above this protection or too prideful to lock and protect my own phone. My children are using my phone all the time and you know what? God has revealed to me that blessing in my obedience to Him. Since we switched over all our electronics and locked them, so many times my kids will be googling (one example is a hamster) and a notification pops up and says “we cannot search this because of all the bad content”. If you know the homosexual lifestyle you will know why hamsters was blocked. Thank the Lord, that HE always humbles... and He always protects me and my children.
Parent’s here are some rules that help (this is for younger children):
*No electronic’s (cell, iPad, tv, computer, tablet) in bedrooms- at your discerning age.
*No student before college needs a personal laptop (the family one works just fine).
*No social media before High School (or younger then parent’s can make choices on the passwords etc).
*Teach the elementary aged kids about asking before using friend’s electronic devices (we must think of electronics as a minefield to our little kids..at anytime that bomb can go off and just ruin their innocents).
*ipads and tablets can have safari removed from it under settings (with a password). Our little kids do not need to have an open range on searching the internet. They can search, google and youtube when mom or dad can monitor it.
*I know a few parents who have their kids leave their cell phones on the counter after 9pm.
*Parents cover your eyes (physically) too, set the example. It’s all about training by example. Even if it’s harmless, we as Christian parents look for those teachable moments to let our kids be our imitators.
ABOVE ALL ELSE:
Teach and instill praise in your children when they bring a sin or even question before you. Most kids or children have such guilt and SHAME when they are presented with a sinful image. They also feel guilty if they were brought-up knowing they need to guard their eyes. It is so important for kids to know they can talk about the issue without feeling ashamed.
Jesus is the ultimate REDEEMER. In all things He can redeem and restore.
Teach to your children at a young age... the power of addiction. The devil has a playground and we should not even want to look upon it. The devil is powerful and sinful images have power in them. Sinful images hold the same addiction as that of doing drugs. It is real, it causes pain and it is not something to take lightly.
"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”