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protecting virtue

Oh my. Times have changed. I’m sure we can all agree that things are so very different to what they were twenty (or even ten) years ago. Gosh, I was a high schooler in the eighties. Looking back, those years seem like paradise compared to what kids in high school have to deal with today.

Times have changed. And are still changing.

Things are getting tougher by the day as the battle for the hearts and minds of our children intensifies.  This is serious business. 

A few days ago my oldest son, Connor, wanted to show me a skateboarding video on YouTube. He sat at our computer and I stood behind him as he did a search on YouTube for the video he was was looking for. I watched as he typed in a phrase which included the words “skateboard tricks”. Within seconds the most vile image was before my eyes…and Connor’s. Just like that. Completely uninvited.

I almost had heart failure.

Even with a parental filter on the computer!  Are you kidding me?

The experience shocked me. I could not believe that filth like that had made it’s way through the filter we have on our computer. 

It really has had me thinking a lot about what parents are up against as we try to raise our children in the ways of the Lord. My son is eleven years old. He is just a child. When I was eleven I never even knew what the word “pornography” meant, Tracy never married Jessica, and drugs were never in schools.  The most rebellious thing a high schooler could do was smoke a cigarette or get drunk–which today is considered normal. 

We do everything we can to protect our children on the internet.  We have very firm boundaries in place about what they can or cannot look at.  Our computer is in our family room so that we can see what our kids are looking at at all times.  Our kids are never home alone. And we obviously have a filter on our computer.

But still evil finds a way to make itself seen. 

The internet sure has been a blessing in so many ways.  It has, in many respects, made the world a much smaller place.  But it has also been one of this century’s greatest evils.  Men and women have fallen into sexual temptation.  Children have been robbed of their innocence.  The battle rages.

How in the world do we raise children in the ways of the Lord these days?  Heck, I can’t even stand to take them to the grocery store with me.  The magazines in the check out lines make my hair stand up!  For the longest time I got away with telling my young children that “gay” meant happy when they read it in HUGE letters on at least three magazines while we waited in line.  These days they’re older and wiser and know better.

The lifestyle of the Amish has never sounded more appealing to me as it does these days.

I don’t know about you, but some days I long for days gone by.  I long for the times when life was simpler.  I know that even the good old days had it’s challenges, but it sure does seem simpler .  I can’t even imagine what will come twenty years down the line.  I fear for my grandchildren.  And I fear for my children who will have to raise them.  Lord have mercy.

I feel like there are so many things we say “no” to our kids about.  No, they are no allowed to sit at the TV and watch anything they please.  No, they are not allowed to ride their bikes alone around the neighborhood.  No, they are not allowed to sleep over at someone’s house who we have never met.  No, they are not allowed to surf the internet.

But I also know that there has to be a balance.  Truthfully, it is one I struggle to find at times.  I know I cannot wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from the world all the time. We take our role as their protectors very seriously.  Our children are very seldom away from us.  If we’re in a public place and a little one needs the rest room, we always use the buddy system. 

Raising children in 2010 is so different.  Times have changed.  Honestly, this stuff terrifies me. 

So I’m wondering….how do YOU protect your children on the computer?

What internet filters work well for you?

What boundaries do you have in your home regarding some of the things I have mentioned?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

One thing I love about blogging is the community of women who meet here.  I love how many of you share your hearts, your stories, and your lives with me.  I love that we can share ideas and learn from each other. 

Most of the time I just do not have the answers.  Raising children of virtue is one of our greatest challenges.  Getting truth in their hearts takes times, effort, and much energy.

How do we protect virtue in a world gone crazy?