From my 2009 Journal
I was reared in a small African village without the basics of running water, electricity, or flush toilets and, thus, no TV or movies. I remember as a first grader on furlough being mesmerized by black-and-white cartoons flashing across the screen of my Grandpa Peterson’s small TV set, and then again four years later, on our next furlough, unable to unglue my eyes from this novelty.
I struggle to navigate parenthood without experiential knowledge in monitoring entertainment. What makes a good story great? What details make it acceptable? What scenes are suitable for my children to watch? What images will leave them with nightmares and fears? At what age do I allow exposure to realistic scenes? When is violence and sexual content and adult language appropriate and for what audience? I don’t think I can predict what that limit is . . . until it’s too late. These decisions for my children are messy ones for each stage of their growth. How can I be wise, balanced, and sensitive to their needs? How can I push back against the culture?
Unfortunately, some children experience far too much reality for their age; others are exposed to it by their peers. How long can I or should I shelter their innocence? Information, should they desire to gain access, is readily available but, as a parent, I have a responsibility to guide them.
From my 2012 Journal. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but once I did, following these protocols for making a decision has saved me a bucket load of embarrassment and regret.
- When faced with a double-bind, work through your feelings about each side individually, one at a time. Once you feel at peace no matter which side you choose, your solution will be much clearer to your rational mind. Emotions cloud your ability to choose wisely. (If you need help working through your feelings, give me a call!)
Example: If I choose Option A (accept a new job offer), I’ll feel some fear. If I choose Option B (stay with my present job), I’ll feel some regret.
- Want to know God’s will? Make no decision to move forward until you’re at peace about it first. Then you’ll be able to hear God’s voice more clearly.
Example: A classmate of mine in college felt great angst about his passion to become a missionary pilot. Somewhere he’d bought into the lie that God would never give him the desires of his heart; he was afraid that God was just testing him. It seemed obvious to me that it was God who had given him the passion in the first place, and I told him so, but I didn’t know then how to help him work through his emotions.
- Never confront someone, write a letter, or send an email or text while you’re triggered. You’ll say stupid things you’ll regret, and the cleanup from the mess you create will be harder and take longer. Always come to peace in your heart first, and then say what you have to say. (I’m speaking from experience here, folks.)
Example: I doubt if you need one. We’ve all done it!