It's all around us. It's on our television sets, in our neighborhoods, at our grocery stores and at the local park. It's the town we live in, the bumper stickers on the back of the car in front of you and the people who surround us, both virtually and in person. What is it? The world we live in and the opinions and views of others, whether we agree with them or not and their influence over us. You can go certain places and not go others, you can throw out your tv, get "unplugged" from facebook, and become anti-social - but you can't get away from it. And neither can your children.
As Mikaiah gets older I am becoming increasingly aware of it's influence over her. We do not own a television, but we do have netflix on our computer. Even in the kids section of netflix I don't let Mikaiah watch most of the shows out there. The ones she does watch seem pretty innocent (from Curious George to Angelina Ballerina) and for the most part they are, but even so I see how they affect her. She expresses fears she never has before, talking about ghosts and things like that. She watches their whinny behavior and they way they sometimes manipulate situations. She sees tantrums and fits (even though they may be talking about how to deal wtih them) they still influence her. Not just television, but everything. The behavior of other children and their parents, the way I interact with others, every little thing she observes, both good and bad is being soaked up by this little sponge of mine.
So, what do I do about it? We could run away into the hills and hide, but not only would that just be a bad idea but that would be motivated out of fear. I don't want to do anything big or little motivated by fear, but rather by love. We could burn all electronics and go completely "off grid" but it wouldn't really fix the problem. We still need to (and are called to) live with and be in relationship with people, and as long as we are doing that we are going to be surrounded by others opinions. We are called to live in the world (not on the side of the world) and yet not be of the world. I think this is key. I do not want my children to be afraid of people who believe differently than they do. I want them to love and accept them as the people that our father made and loves so much!
So, as I see my daughter rapidly absorbing everything around her, from dance moves to slang speech, I think the best thing I can do,
is to commit her to prayer and ask the Lord to give me (and Seth) guidance as we raise her, and Sequoia as well. I want my children to know how to love and serve the people around them without absorbing into the darkness. I want them to learn to be light, treating others with respect and loving them as they would love themselves. I want them to know the Lord and his love, and I believe all these things are integrated and that they need to start learning it now.