18/01/2021

To Be Adored

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:26 am by The Water Bearer

 

WARNING: Sexual Content

Recently I got to have an awesome long chat with a much loved seventeen year old girl. I’ve seen her grow from a tiny little thing into a stunning, hardworking, and smart young woman. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by many young women and one of my favourite things to do in this whole world is talk with them and find genuine common ground.

To put it bluntly, the thing I have most in common with these girls is a longing to be adored, with most I also share the self-love-deficit that a broken home and/or dysfunctional upbringing causes. I recall far too clearly the dignity I have given away throughout my life, in exchange for a compliment, or a crumb of affection and it breaks my heart to see so many precious young women repeating my mistakes. But it gives me such hope when they engage and can benefit from my experiences and the lessons that journey taught me.

The word “adore” initially means “to love and respect someone deeply”. Well who doesn’t want that?

However, it has taken me a lifetime to realise that it is impossible to convince someone to love and respect you, neither by your eloquence, or behaviour, or appearance, or success. In fact the very motive of “trying to convince”, is possibly the very thing that stops us getting the love and/or respect we crave. No, those who genuinely love and respect us only do so because of the state of their own heart, when they are in a position to give it to us willingly. Those who appreciate who you are and recognise your intrinsic worth despite all your flaws and foibles.

In an old post I touched on the Tsunami of sexual content being bombarded into the 21st Century. Thanks to my sensitivity of evil schemes, I see the secret and polluted motives which the enemy slips into the creativity of those who create apps like SnapChat, Instagram, Tinder and eventually Pornhub. It all started with talented dance videos and romantic comedies, but quickly became “Cuties” and “50 Shades of Grey”. These forms of ‘entertainment’ are insidiously targeting the specific and broken parts of humanity that are desperate to numb their bone-aching loneliness, and satisfy the hunger for adoration. Men and women, young and old are so easily sacrificing their self-respect on the alter of sexual exploits because it gives such a quick easy dose of the emotional drug we have become addicted to. But no one seems to be talking about the masses of shame that accompanies it.

Putting up a sexy photo of your sunkissed bikini body on your Instagram page is a simple way to get dozens of compliments from all your followers, “You’re so Hot” – “No you are!”… “My God you’re pretty” – “Says you stunner”. On and on it goes, while for hormonal young men; it is free for all! I doubt it ever crosses these young women’s minds that so many of their male “Mates” are at home happily whacking off over these same pics. While others are desperately trying to curb their secret addiction to pornography and masturbation and your cleavage pic just triggered them into a relapse.

The other meaning of “adore” is to “worship”.

These constant pleas for adoration simply lead to the warped, temporary and unfulfilling worship of each other. Its no coincidence that this same worship of someone other than our Heavenly Father, was the very reason the Devil was evicted from Heaven, along with all the fallen angels who worshiped him instead of our creator God.

Without the whole story it might seem unfair for God to have such a problem with all this mutually mortal worship. Yet when we understand the unwavering loving nature of God it is simply because He knows it will never satisfy you and He knows exactly where that road leads, just look around you and inside you. But also because He whole-heartedly ADORES YOU!

No matter how much worldly adoration I have received in my life, none of it satisfied me, because we need to understand that the Almighty All-knowing All-sufficient God of the Universe is the ONLY one who has profound trustworthy Love, Respect and Adoration to give you that is everlasting and completely satisfying. When will we drop this false worship and bask in the intimate adoration pouring down from above?

 

01/04/2018

Media Madness & Tips to protect your children from it

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:18 pm by The Water Bearer

 

 

 

Warning: This post contains some explicit content.

I must admit straight out the gate that this is a topic I can get pretty passionate about. If you too find yourself throwing your hands in the air as a result of the current Media frenzy impacting our homes and our children, then this is the post for you!

CYBER-BULLYING, GET SERIOUS!

Today I saw yet another video of the horribly cruel things children have been exposed to over social media. Honestly, I say this with love and compassion that we know not what we do more than half the time. But some of the children bullied in this video were as young as 10 years old and all of them were under 16.

 

Please understand that I trust my teenage daughter as much as a trustworthy adolescent can be trusted, but I recognise she is not merely a small adult. She has not yet had chance to develop the maturity and sense of self-confidence required to withstand the impact such horrible comments can have on her mental health. She is still figuring out who she is and what place she holds in this world, and the negative effect of no privacy and constant peer pressure is not a risk I am willing to place on her shoulders.

 

For over 8 years I have held the stance that my children are not permitted on social media until they finish high school. Sure, I’ve heard the usual retorts that I’m too overprotective, that I don’t trust my child, that I’m preventing them learning life skills. These comments don’t sway me, because I’ve done the research. I’ve looked into the developing adolescent brain, and the stunted behavioural development that stems from online relationships replacing face-to-face ones. The reality is that I don’t usually go looking for trouble online either, but it sure as hell still finds me and impacts my soul. I’m very concerned about how many children need to suffer depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, self-mutilation, or become suicidal before we admit that Social Media is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 18?

 

I’ve come to realise that the parents who get really opinionated with me, are usually the ones who have little to no control or knowledge of their child’s online life. It’s hard to keep on top of, especially if you work full time, it’s far easier to give in, and to justify it. Trust me I understand.

 

I agree, it would be nice to live in a utopian society where people don’t treat each other in these heinous ways, but the reality is that verbal abuse is all too common. And yet its not illegal.. Probably should be, but sadly that’s not the case. We must accept the true condition of our world as it is, and protect our children until this kind of behaviour is but a distant memory…

 

Thankfully I am now hearing parents changing their tune and wishing they could protect their children from it, and yet have no practical ways to combat the tidal wave of pressure to comply. Keep reading cause those practical tips are coming…

 

ADULTS GET CAUGHT AS WELL

Even adults struggle with the more serious impact of social media, let alone the less violent concerns like wasting their precious time, creating a temporary false sense of joy, and replacing personal interaction with impersonal clicks and comments. So why would we expect our children to know how to cope? Even the simple addictive nature of opening the app, click click, scroll scroll, is causing actual physical damage to our nervous system, our brains, and our bodies. It’s so mindless!

 

Another point to consider is all the photographs of children plastered all over their parents Facebook pages. Does anyone else feel this is seriously lacking in self-awareness and self-discipline? My sympathy if you fall into that category, which the numbers show you probably do. But ask yourself, were these children asked permission? Were they informed enough to understand that their entire lives would be on display for all to see and judge? That some of those in their parents “friends” list are people they don’t even know, yet they’re able to see images of their personal intimate moments? Could this be more detrimental than the paparazzi? Because at least the law forces them to stay outside our homes.

 

The line in the sand has blurred so much that children are now sending unsolicited images of themselves all over Snapchat without being aware of the consequences to their reputations, privacy and self-esteem.

 

Why am I the one left feeling awkward when I ask people to please take down photo’s of my kids, that have been put up without my permission or theirs? It is ridiculously hard to monitor! So why is this even legal?

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Neanderthal, I understand there are some precious memories that warrant photo evidence, and the cultural call to share triumphs, and world travel, weddings and so forth. Inspiring stuff right! An occasional pic (with permission) is not completely without merit. But WOW, it has gotten seriously out of hand. Can we stop it? Is it too late to hit the brakes? Rewind? Delete?

 

EYES ARE THE DOORWAYS TO THE SOUL

Its not just social media causing all the trouble either. Other forms of media have a lot to answer for!

Want a couple of mind-boggling examples?

 

During a NEWS program at dinner time, an advert for the trailer of the new 50 shades movie came on. I was sitting next to my young teenage daughter when all of a sudden, we are watching two people, mostly naked, in the throes of some pretty intense sexual activity. It’s honestly no wonder the line between consensual flirting and sexual harassment has become so hard to define.

 

I recognise that we have allowed the lines of morality to slur closer and closer to the abyss of ‘FREE EXPRESSION’, but when will we actually stop and look at ourselves and realise that we are watching people have SEX for our entertainment?! Not hidden behind closed doors, with the saddest, depraved, and sexually warped individuals, but out in the open! With our children!!

 

Many years ago, I used to watch the TV show Law & Order, I love the law and detective work, but then Special Victims Unit came along and all of a sudden we were watching children getting molested and calling it entertainment! Actual real life children are being given scripts to read, and roles to play where this is the story! Am I the only one who sees something very, very wrong with this? And don’t even get me started on some of the twisted content available on YouTube and similar formats.

 

Yeah, you say perhaps I’m just too sensitive. But I wonder if we know what exactly it was that our Saviour came to save us from? And do we even see the value of it?

 

My tears fall for all those who can’t see what’s going on! For the children exposed to images and abuse that corrupts their innocence and depletes their self-worth. I’m not sure how much longer we can sit by and watch this happen! So in the meantime, while we wait for the world to change, here are a few practical ways you can protect your family.

 

TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM MEDIA

Tip 1:

Be their parent not their ‘easy going friend’. It is perfectly normal for them to get moody and upset with you, you may feel fear at losing your ‘friendliness’ with them. But their tears won’t hurt them as much as certain forms of media can. When done right, you’ll end up all the closer for it.

 

Tip 2:

Exception not the rule. Set clear boundaries that Social Media is a unique privilege only for special circumstances, such as an overseas trip with school or sporting team or church. Refuse it if you can until last few weeks of high school.

 

Tip 3:

Prevention is better than the cure. It may be hard to hold your stance and you may want to cave under the pressure, but remember they never miss what they never have. Taking it away could be a far more difficult task. It’s much easier to stand your ground beforehand.

 

Tip 4:

Communicate. Explain your reasons and show them evidence of its toxic nature (they will also see the unwanted drama their friends experience). Regular communication is vital, listen to their side, and try to be compassionate. Yet stay the course.

 

Tip 5:

Consequences. If they do have social media and you see their behaviour, grades, or communication with you begin to suffer, use an app blocker to block certain apps as a consequence. Or confiscate their device for periods of time.

 

Tip 6:

Respect their Privacy. Create a private album for your Facebook photos of your children and only allow people they know and trust to see them. Remove any photo’s of them that they may not appreciate once they grow up.

 

Tip 7:

Value & Permission. Respect your child’s image by asking permission before you share photos of them online. Empower them to value images of themselves and not spread them mindlessly.

 

Tip 8:

Monitor & Follow Up. Monitor and put up firm parameters around your child’s use of internet and YouTube (Check the history regularly).

 

Tip 9:

Get Informed & Guide them. Use sites like IMDB to view the parents guide of all TV shows and Movies BEFORE your child has permission to watch them, and when something is rate PG or higher, (Parental Guidance is Recommended) Which means Parents watch with their child and guide them on how to think faithfully and healthily about any parts that are of concern.

 

Tip 10:

Fill Their Time. Find lots of good media content to fill the spaces so they still have the chance to enjoy a good movie, and the benefit of knowledge and research online, don’t go into cult mode. Have lots of physical activities planned for their spare time. Team sports, extracurricular subjects, and youth groups etc.

 

Tip 11:

Assess Your Child’s Growth. Be willing and open to discuss exceptions and pray for guidance on when the child is mature enough for the next stage, not just because “everyone else is allowed”.

 

Tip 12:

Outside the Home. Ask other parents to restrict their child’s access to social media and internet when your child is under their care. Inform your child’s friends that they are not permitted to share photo’s or information about your child online. Back this up with those awkward conversations. “Please remove that post and please don’t do it again”.

 

Tip 13:

Develop Trust. Teach your child to be able to monitor media content themselves and check in with you about it, and teach them to have the courage to say “I’m not comfortable watching this” or “Could you not put that photo of me online?”.

 

Tip 14:

Pray! Pray for the strength to hold to your stance! In spite of the possible hostility from your child, in spite of the looks of condemnation from other parents, in spite of the awkward conversations. Stand Strong!

Your child may not completely understand or agree right now, but they will learn to trust you more and more the longer you stick to your convictions, and they will thank you for it one day. I promise!

 


14/08/2012

Fighting against the Sexual Tsunami!

Posted in Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 am by The Water Bearer

Did the Baby Boomers have any idea how quickly the destruction of their children’s innocence would take effect when they allowed sexually charged images to flood our television screens? Did they picture their daughters grinding and gyrating to songs like, ‘Freak Me Baby’ or ‘Sweat Alalalalala Long’ or SaltnPeppa’s ‘Shoop’ when they gave their approval to play them on the radio? Did they realise that widespread acceptance of family break-ups would leave more and more single parents to battle alone against the ‘Sexual Tsunami’ white washing across their children’s world?

I am generation X, is that X as in X-Rated?

As I ponder the next phase of my role as the mother of a Teenage Daughter, praying for ways to equip her for the next stage of her young life, I find myself spending a lot of time thinking back to when I was a young girl myself.

Before my parents separated my Dad was very strict about what he allowed his children to be exposed to, we weren’t allowed to watch the same television shows as my school friends or listen to Top 40 on the radio. We could watch the News and Game Shows and listen to Christian music or music from my parent’s youth, The Beetles and Fleetwood Mac. When it was left to my Mum to decide what restrictions to place on her children I noticed that we wore her down, bit by bit, to being given more freedom than we ever had when Dad was around. It wasn’t long before we watched ‘Neighbours’ religiously instead of going to church, we knew every word to every song played on Video Hits, the more risqué’ the more we wanted to watch. We viewed our Dad’s restrictions as a fanatical strait-jacket.

Now it is our turn as parents to build the sexual platform we wish to send along with our children as they venture into the world. Restrictions have had their place, while explanations have had more. We can’t simply hide the world from their eyes, we must prepare them for what they are sure to see. They are Generation Y, so perhaps our focus as parents could, instead of telling them what not to do, explain why they shouldn’t? Why shouldn’t they take drugs? Why shouldn’t they jump into bed with someone, if they feel like it? Why shouldn’t they break the law? Why shouldn’t they dress like prostitutes? It used to be easy to tell who was a street walker and who wasn’t simply by the way they presented themselves to attract the sexual attention of the opposite sex, now that modesty is almost completely out the window, it seems everyone wants to attract sexual attention of any kind and the line between the two worlds has become blurred. Why? Sex Sells! That’s what they say. Sex may draw the desired attraction in marketing, but what is the true cost of exposing our children to overly sexualised images and sounds from the minute they can open their eyes?

While we are too distracted by our busy, chaotic, emotionally charged lives, the boundary lines are being moved, inch by inch behind shades of grey (pun intended), desensitising our resistance, numbing our opposition, giving free reign to the ‘powers that be’ to allow corruption of our virtue and destruction of the innocence of our children.

Many years ago I watched a video series by Lisa Bevere called Purity’s Power. The series was directed at adolescent and young women, and touched on many topics often left in the dark, specifically the sexuality of women in the 21st Century. It answered many questions of why and why not, it was jammed packed with information, honest and open discussions, and completely inspired with Godly principles of purity. I watched all 4 brilliant sessions and the whole time I kept thinking, ‘I am definately going to show this to my girls when they get old enough for it to be appropriate’.

Seeing as my eldest daughter has now reached the age where she and her friends have begun to notice boys, they have to cope with all those extra feelings running amuck inside them, and are exposed to intense sexual provocation at every turn, I decided it was time to introduce my gorgeous girl to ‘Purity’s Power’, to help her answer many questions about sex, promiscuity and the power of purity.

I feel overwhelmed at times, and discouraged by my minimal effect on the world’s awareness of these things, however, I trust my children into God’s hands with prayer and sacrifice. I educate them with my own wayward experiences and all the shame, consequences of those decisions. I pray for the army of inner angels to fight hard against those enemies trying to derail all attempts to protect my daughters from the devious wiles saturating their world.

My Darling Girls, I may not be able to protect you from this onslaught entirely, but I can help you learn to use the weapons available and encourage you to withstand against it. It is up to you how far you allow your flesh to be tempted, it is your choice to look away or seek out more. Keeping close to the Lord will help strengthen you in the midst of this battle. Remember that this place is a place to be tested and to learn, and no matter what, God love’s you, He is pressing up against your life waiting to be invited in to guide you to a life of victory and joy, rather than fear and shame.

“I will help you build your armor, but you’ll have to wear it by yourself”

Lyrics from ‘A Lucky Life’ by Australian singer songwriter Clare Bowditch.

Please view the clip below about Lisa Bevere’s Series ‘Kissed the girls and made them cry’. Get your daughters the curriculum package with “Purity’s Power” included, I cannot recommend it enough! Together we can set up the next generation to avoid the traps set for them by the enemy.

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