Parents, Don’t Be Ignorant

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Your children may likely have been exposed to far more than you can imagine.

Recently I have read some of Matt Walsh’s blog posts. Matt hosts a radio show at a station in Lexington. He likes to be controversial in his thoughts and invites criticism. In a recent post he talked about Christianity’s contributions to science. I’m not smart enough to sort through all of the information in his post, but it was actually one of the comments that stood out to me.

Matt uses/repeats profanity (although he masks some of it a bit) in his posts. I’ve found this to be a trend in many of the blogs by Christians recently.

In the comments section for this particular post a man by the name of Andrew asked about why Matt uses what he referred to as vulgarity, because he would like to share Matt’s thoughts with friends and family but fear they would be offended by the language. Then, in a reply under the previous one, a mother commented she would like to share his post with her teenage son, but she couldn’t because of some of his word choices.

Here is what I want all of us to think about. When might we be naively sheltering our children? Because I don’t care whether your child goes to public school, is homeschooled, or goes to a religious affiliated school, they are going to have heard bad language by the time they are a teenager. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I grew up going to public school, spent a great deal of time with my church youth group in my teen years, and then went to a private Christian college.  I was exposed to “bad” behavior through every one of these venues.

One of the kids in my youth group was rumored to be a drug dealer. I saw a lot of movies that some might consider unacceptable at the houses of my youth group friends for get-togethers.  Some of my friends got in trouble for consuming alcohol during a church function. The boys knew which girls in the group they might get lucky with. When I got to college, the vast majority of the girls I got to know were no longer virgins at the age of 18, and that was over 20 years ago. One of the girls in my freshman class was kicked out for chronic lying. In fact, one person I knew during college slept with a daughter of one of the professors at his Christian school. He got her pregnant, but she miscarried and few ever knew.

My husband and I have differing opinions on how much to expose our children to. I think that’s a good thing, so long as we can work to meet on common ground. I admit I can be a little uptight. (He probably thinks that’s the understatement of the century.) My parents were quite conservative, his were not. We have a lot to figure out.

I didn’t think I would ever get our oldest to stop using “damn” when he was around two. He didn’t hear it at home or on TV, but he picked it up from being around family and used it quite appropriately. I think it’s funny now…not so much at the time. If only that could be the biggest problem I’ll ever have to deal with regarding my children!

Jason and I asked him the other day if the kids at school use bad language (he’s in third grade). His answer was, “Yes. A lot.” Bless his heart, he wouldn’t repeat the words and when his daddy listed a few by name for him to say yes or no to, I thought he would pass out from shock and discomfort. At least he still has some level of innocence.

Anyway, I can’t offer you specific advice. You obviously have to make your own decisions regarding what your children should be exposed to, when, how often, etc. Just know, that if you don’t talk to them about your opinion on topics such as language, sex, and alcohol, someone else will and they may not share your views.

What is your take on this issue? I’d love to hear your opinions/experiences.

I’d also love for you to share this with a friend if it spoke to you, even if I have now inadvertently joined the trendy Christian bloggers using curse words in their posts.

Photo from sxc.hu

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6 thoughts on “Parents, Don’t Be Ignorant

  1. When our son Nick was about 3, he climbed out of the car, saw something on the ground and asked, “What the ‘hell’ is that?” He knew exactly how to use that word without hearing it from his dad or me! Of course, I immediately said that it was an inappropriate word to use, but it wasn’t until he was older that he truly understand what I meant. It’s important to wait until children are older, better able to reason and dialogue to expose them to particular movies, themes, discussions. Of course, they will be exposed to things as they are out in public that we as parents don’t want them to hear or see. At that time, we can use that opportunity to teach at a level they can understand. Too much too soon can be dangerous!

  2. i loved this. As a girl who grew up in a home with…colorful…language, I know it affects me less than some others. And I think you hit an important point here; it’s a parent’s job to parent. I know too many people who get up in arms because the schools, churches, libraries, etc aren’t doing what they want – but it’s not those organizations jobs to tell you child what is right and wrong, necessarily.

  3. Our country (Netherlands) is known in Europe as the nation that curses every day. I am ashamed. But if I’m anywhere, in a waiting room or library, I hear cursing around me. And coarse language. When I was not a believer, I did it too. In a country where people curse, it is difficult to raise children and to use positive words. Even in Christian schools is normal to curse, to have seks, to drink alcohol. I think we should pray as mothers. And our ignorance? We must shake off. Let us forms a fiery wall of prayer.

    • I agree. Sometimes prayer is our only course of action. I know I make so many mistakes as a parent, so I am grateful I can pray for my children so God can step in where I fail.

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