Today I am sad.
I am sad for so many reasons.
I am sad because every single day babies are being killed before they take their first breath.
I am sad because so many teenagers are having babies without fathers while so many couples, who are unable to conceive, mourn for the children who will never be theirs.
I am sad because I see so many children in the world whose parents don't love them. So many children who will never know the unconditional love of our Father because their parents refuse to glorify/obey the Lord with their lives.
A 7 year old child stood in line with her classmates, waiting to enter the classroom at the end of afternoon recess. Three children (two girls and one boy) closed in around her. The leader of the pack of children, a young girl, asked the quiet, shy child to hold her tongue between her fingers and say the word, "apple".
The shy child, feeling a rise of excitement in her soul from the attention of the "popular kids", did as instructed and smiled proudly. Finally! They talked to her! Maybe her days of loneliness in the 2nd grade classroom had finally come to an end!
The group of children laughed. The shy child laughed with them. It felt good to be included. Other children in the line took notice of the commotion and inquired as to what prompted the laughter. Something was explained and more children joined in the laughter, all looking at the shy child. She began to notice that they were laughing AT her, not with her.
It didn't take long for the teacher to walk up and ask what was going on. The popular girl, leader of the pack, informed the teacher of the shy child's sin. "She said a curse word and then laughed about it."
Tears began pouring down the child's cheeks. The teacher pulled her around the corner and gently asked her about it.
"But, but...but...I didn't...say...a bad word..." the child stammered through her tears. "They told me to say...'apple' while holding my tongue...and that is all...I said. Then they started laughing."
The wise teacher opened her arms to the child and comforted her, telling her she understood.
I will never forget the day I said my first curse word. A part of my naivete and innocence was lost that day so long ago. On that day I learned what a real curse word was. I never knew before then. Bad words to me were "shut-up" or "idiot" which no child should ever, ever say. I didn't understand how "apple" could be a bad word.
Now I know.
Life has not changed in the past 25 years. I work with 7 and 8 year old 2nd graders now and I see the same attitudes in them that I experienced first hand as a child. I see them in "Christian" settings but without hearts for God.
I am sad.
Young girls, much too young to fully understand, gyrate their hips singing "Look at me, I'm so sexy."
Young girls, wearing too much eye makeup and strutting around in high heels, make coy/sexy eyes at the boys. They shake their hair and bat their lashes and purse their lips at these boys. They whisper talk of sex with their girlfriends. They hang on the boys arms and claim them as their boyfriends.
I stare in amazement at these children. I think to myself that my own daughter is only one year younger than these girls and boys. She is not far off from this age. Next year. Next year!
SHE'S NOT READY! She is not ready to face this bombardment of sexualization. She is only six for crying out loud!
I just want to shake some parents and scream, "What are you doing?" It's out there. IT IS OUT THERE! Whether you want to admit it or not, your children are facing this sexualization in the world every single day. They are bombarded with it on the television, through books and yes, even through the children at school or church. Your child is not immune.
And yet, I see so many parents sending their young children out into the world, telling themselves "They will be okay. We are good parents. We pray with our children before they go to bed. We take them to church. We put them in a Christian school. It will be enough."
It is a battlefield out there. A very real and dangerous battlefield. Can you look me in the eye and honestly tell me that your 5 or 6 or 7 year old has the combat skills necessary to battle this evil adversary who wishes to destroy them? Is your child ready to go to battle for their innocence? Honestly?
My childhood introduction to curse words happened at a private, Christian school. I was 7 years old. I was a pastor's kid, raised in the church. I was not immune.
It is YOUR duty to raise your children. Please, parents! I beg of you, raise your children! Don't think the school system will do it. Don't think the Sunday School teachers or Awana leaders or Scout leaders or the babysitter or your parents will do it. God has appointed this task to YOU. You ALONE are responsible for the training of your children.
So train them!
It takes time.
It takes effort.
It takes hard, arduous work.
It takes great sacrifice.
But only you can do it. Only you, with the grace and strength the Lord gives. Please, for the sake of my daughter who doesn't know what all these sexual looks and moves mean, train your children to glorify the Lord with their lives.
My heart is heavy today. I am sad. I know God is sad too. I am praying. I am praying for every single parent I know. I am praying with tears streaming from my eyes and deep sadness in my heart. Please, please, please...train your precious children.