Have you ever caught yourself thinking that your child would never view pornography? That he/she is completely safe because...
- You have internet protection software
- You have taught them better
- They are active in church
- They have really good friends
- They understand that it is dangerous
- ...insert any other rationalization or justification why your child is the exception...
- obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like.
But what does obscene really mean?
- offensive to morality or decency.
The reality is, every-single-child is at risk.
I share the following story by permission from my son . . .
He loves seminary and often comes home talking about what he has learned and how he can apply those principles in his own life. And let me tell you, the kid is funny, but more importantly - he thinks I am funny; often telling me 'you are the coolest mom in the world.'
He is active in church, having served as the Deacons Quorum President for two years and now, in the absence of an active President for either the Deacons or Teachers Quorum, fulfills most responsibilities for both. He goes to church early every Sunday to secure brethren to bless and pass the sacrament, and stands at the front during Priesthood opening exercises once a month asking for volunteers to collect fast offerings.
He has a good heart; a service oriented heart. He has this amazing capacity to love everyone, and be kind to everyone, even in the face of not being the most popular kid in school. He is made fun of a lot but he strives to not let it get to him, and succeeds for the most part.
Does he have normal occasional attitude tantrum, missing homework, lying? Yes.
He is not perfect.
But he is good.
I felt he was one of those kids that easily fell under the category 'would never view pornography.'
I mean, if there were such a category.
I was wrong. He did have access and he did view.
He became withdrawn, sucked into his own world.
He would rush home from school, anxious to play a new computer game:
"Can I just play upstairs in your room where no one can bother me, mom?"
"Sure, I don't see why not"
I was careful to limit his time on the computer, and I wasn't worried about him accessing anything inappropriate because, besides being a 'good' kid and having all the devices in our home protected, it just never occurred to me that it was a possibility.
And so went the next couple of weeks . . .
Hide it so you won't get in trouble
Your mom will be mad at you
Looking isn't bad, just acting on it is
If you don't hide it, you'll never be able to look again
The conversation went well and any shame he may have felt quickly alleviated.
He had to want it.
He had to choose.
I am grateful for his shame-free willingness to share his experience, his weakness and his humility, in order to help others. I am so proud of him and am grateful he is mine.
But I write more specifically to the parents who might feel their child is the exception.
There was girl at school wearing a sheer shirt over a revealing tank top, and many girls don't wear bra's. I hear dirty jokes all the time, and I overhear conversations where other kids are talking about sexual positions.
I look away though, mom. I just turn my head and try not to listen. I understand that those things make my body feel good but it doesn't make my spirit feel good. It takes me to a dark place and I don't want to go there again.
If we don't acknowledge the cunning capabilities of the adversary and recognize the susceptibility of our children, he will do what any criminal does... Search and destroy.
My child is at risk.
Your child is at risk.
Every child is at risk.
Satan goes after the 'good' kids that we so naively think are safe because his ultimate goal is destroy families by corrupting the righteous. It makes complete sense that he would strive to destroy the younger, more innocent and more naive, generation.
But do not fret, because there is hope.
We have the Lord Omnipotent on our side, over whom Satan has no power. So long as we call on the principles of grace by doing our best to educate and make aware, keep our homes free from temptation and access, and teach our children the principles of the Atonement - His grace will make up the rest, because His grace is sufficient.
Of this, I have no doubt.