Explaining things to innocent children.
I have been thinking about all the things that are quite different in the world, and how our children are growing up, with different things to face, than what we did. I have 3 different examples of things with our children and I am curious how the rest view it.
1. One of our daughters was given the fun job of naming an orphan livestock critter on a nearby ranch. She had the ‘perfect’ name, except that it was the name of a porn star that was much in the news at that time, along with another popular name. She doesn’t follow or care about the news. However, DS was watching me, wondering what i would say. He knew the name from the news. (None of us follow news anymore).The farm employs ungodly people and I just suggested she maybe wanted a different name. I explained to her why I thought she might be better off choosing a different name and it was fine with her. Now, was I out of place?
2. Our youngest child thoroughly enjoys painting, coloring, and drawing. She loves rainbows and their colors and happily hands them out in the form of doorknob hangers, bookmarks, and more. Someone said to me, you actually let her do all those rainbows? Don’t you know what that means? My answer was yes. But, little children love rainbows, God made rainbows, I’m not going to stop a little child from drawing them, just because of some meaning that humans have come up with. They are in the sky, when it rains, a Biblical promise. Nor will I explain to her at her age, what the rainbow represents to some people these days. Am I off?
3. I was driving with a couple of the children recently and passed a train that had a lot of graffiti on it. In a pretty purple, was written these words: I love p****y. One of the children, a real animal lover, read it out loud and thought that was so awesome that someone would proclaim their love for kitties, on a train car. I didn’t feel the need to explain to a young child that the words likely didn’t pertain to loving cats. Should I have? Somehow, I hate to take away the innocency of them before needed.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with protecting their innocence, of course, more information should be given as they age or if context calls for it. If that same child came to you and said, “so and so says I like p***y”, what does that mean?” It’s better they get the truth from you and you can teach lessons on the appropriate times to use it or not.
With the rainbows, teach the truth about them and where they originated. Anyone should be able to appreciate the beauty and promise behind God’s creation. When the time is right, also teach how the enemy has used people to distort something given by God. It sounds like some adults could use some lessons as well 🙂
Truth is better than ignorance.
1. No, you were not out of place at all. You did a great job in discerning. If your daughter did not probe further on the name change, drop it.
2. Let this be an open door to seek God’s truth and show your youngest about the original intention of God’s rainbow and how Satan has twisted this meaning. Satan always takes what God has made and warps it, doesn’t he? We as Christians need to reclaim the rainbow and to stop allowing the sinful minds and choices of others dictate what the rainbow is.
3. You said one of the children…was the child yours? If so, this can be a teaching moment only if the child asks…if not, no need to explore further. If the child was someone else’s, you can let the parents know so they have a head’s up if the child says it again in public…you know how children don’t have a filter on their mouths just yet.
I think you did really well. Age appropriate answers are important. Spirit-guided answers are also so valuable.
I believe that God is giving you discernment. That is a gift from Him. He will continue to guide you with this and through you, help your children to also become discerning.
If it hasn’t come up yet, one that soon will is to ask about gay couples. (I thought that was going to be your question before I read it.) The way I found to help my daughter through that (and a lot of other issues) was to constantly stress “Always be kind.” I’ve never been shy about telling her when we don’t agree with someone’s choices, but I’ve always told her over and over our job is to be kind and God is unlikely to use us to convict or change someone without first building a relationship of respect. “Always be kind” was the best nutshell phrase I could come up with to summarize everything we try to teach her from the Bible and it was easy for her to remember in elementary school (and now in high school!)
Good reminder for myself, too!!! I’m still working on it!
I think you handled all three well. We’re dealing with this currently, we have a 7 and 5 year old. We recently had to explain to the 7 year old that her index finger was for pointing, not her middle finger. I totally get her logic, it’s the longest finger! When she asked what it meant we just said it’s like saying something mean to someone else. The phrase “we’ll explain when you’re a little older” is a useful one if you need to correct behavior without getting too into the details and they want deeper understanding. Like everything, it’s all about age appropriate responses.
We recently got a book from the library to read at bedtime about a group of girls that are friends as they grow up. At first glance Wifey thought it would be good to explain how friendships grow and change as you get older, but the book had an LGBT agenda and two of the girls end up in a “relationship”. It was subtle, but certainly normalizing for impressionable young minds. Thankfully Wifey read the whole thing on the way home from the library before bedtime. Needless to say, we will be taking it back. It’s certainly a minefield for parents today and much harder to be aware of what messages they are consuming with all of the different entertainment options.
Thanks to you all for the replies and support! Those of us raising children today, need many prayers for wisdom. We all need to pray for each other, especially for us who are trying to bring up children in this day and age.