Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: Good Pictures, Bad Pictures

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures
Porn-Proofing Today's Kids
Two years ago when my then six and nine year old boys were inadvertently exposed to pornography by a neighbor boy I dove into educating myself on this topic.  Despite my best efforts to protect them from this exact type of thing, I had failed.  My heart was broken, yet I was determined to do what I needed to in order to help them through this. 

According to seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online and American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11.  On top of that four out of five 16 year olds view pornography on a regular basis.  Fight the New Drug claims they often get emails from six year olds sharing about their addictions to porn. These are frightening statistics.  Part of me wants to discount them as being overly aggressive for shock value, but then I realize even if these stats are cut in half I still don’t like the odds.  Is there any hope for my boys?  The only answer I came up with was education.  Educating our children, appropriately, at an early age is the first and most important weapon we can give them in this battle against tech-aged pornography. 

But how does one start educating a six year old on pornography?  Seems like a slippery slope.  A door that once opened can’t be shut.  This a unfounded fear and one door I don’t want my kids going through alone or with strangers.  If you are like me and want to arm your young kids with good and proper knowledge, but don’t know where to start, I’d recommend “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids” by Kristen A. Jenson, MA and Gail Poyner, PhD. 

“Good Pictures, Bad Pictures” is an incredible recourse for children ages 6 to 11. What I love about this book is that it is a model “Healing Story”.   It gently and appropriately introduces kids to the concept of Pornography without infringing on their innocence by using the story of a mother and son.  It describes the science behind pornography and how it is a legitimate addiction.  It helps kids understand the difference between their Thinking Brain and their Feeling Brain and how these two brains work together to protect them.  Finally, it gives children a plan of action to keep their brains safe when they do come across pornography. 

The content in this book is fairly concentrated and for this reason you may need to go through this book with younger children slowly, chapter by chapter, giving them plenty of time to digest the information.  Each chapter gives a summery and space for notes.  The book’s story line tends to be a bit young but I found that reading it silently together with my 11 year old son and then discussing it and rereading the summery out loud helped.  We also watched a video by Fight the New Drug on the three ways pornography affects a person.
This day and age pornography education is a must for our children.  It's as important as teaching them to cross the road safely or practicing stranger danger.  Luckily there are lots of great resources out there once you start digging.  Here are my recommendations for good places to start.
Now go fight for your kids' innocence!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Elvis and The Lord's Supper

The “King” is dead.  We got home from vacation to discover the disturbing news that Elvis, our rooster, was savagely taken by a coyote.  All that remained of him was a few drops of blood and a pile of his beautiful tail feathers.  We were all in denial.  We walked our property calling for him.  We tried luring him with food scraps.  We waited to see if he would make his way in to the coop for the night.  He never did.  That night as we toasted to my husband’s 40th Birthday with sparkling cider Justice calls out, “And to Elvis, the bravest rooster alive, or dead, I guess,” and we had our moment of silence for the sacrifice he made for his hens. 

All of us knew what kind of rooster he was.  He was big and regal.  He had gorgeous clean white feathers with a bit of silver around his neck and in his tail.  He reminded us of the “King” in his famous white and silver jump suit, hence his name.  He was good with the ladies, too.  He was faithful at his job.  Twice we saw him scare off a hawk that had swooped down to snatch one of the girls.  Another time I heard him make a sound much like a growl and then saw every single lady disappear while Elvis strutted around flapping his wings and crowing as he kept his eye on the sky.  Not only was he good with the ladies he never attacked me or my boys, which is how our last rooster came to meet Jesus. 
Public Domain Rooster Image
We could all very easily picture what happened the day Elvis died.  All was quiet on our property, as our rambunctious boys were all gone.  The hens were scattered about the place doing their thing, scratching, taking a dust bath, sitting on eggs, happily just being free ranging hens.  Elvis was overseeing it all with a watchful eye, maybe he had found a juicy fig that had fallen off the tree next to the forest line and he called the ladies over to enjoy it.  Then something moved in the trees and Elvis snapped to attention.  His warning call rung out and all the ladies scatter as the coyote made his move.  Elvis ran to meet it.  Wings spread wide, neck stretched out, spurs ready for attack.  He managed to distract the coyote just long enough for the ladies to get to safety and then they watched the chase that followed.  Elvis, a Coronation Sussex, was a very large and heavy bird weighing in at around 10 pounds.  He lumbered when he ran and didn’t have much agility.  The coyote was able to overtake him and drag him deep into the trees where, eventually, he finished him off.  Poor Elvis, he was so brave.

The next day, it just so happened, I wanted to talk to my boys about Communion.  Coming from a Quaker background my boys’ experience of Communion was mostly special occasions as a family.  Christmas and Easter is typically where we would break the bread, drink the wine, and read about the last supper and Christ’s call to “do this in remembrance of me”.  I can only remember two times that we have ever had Communion as a body at the “Meeting House”, otherwise known as “church” to Non-Quakers.  Truthfully, I always longed for a few more opportunities to physically share in Communion together as a body of Christ.  Not surprisingly, Communion in church every Sunday is a bit of an exciting anomaly for my boys, and although I know they know (save Manny) what it symbolizes I felt like a recap was in order. 

We talked about what the “Lord’s Supper” was all about and how Christ asked his followers to break the bread and drink the wine to remember him and what he has done for us.  I asked the boys if they understood what it was he did.  Justice answered, “Well mom, it’s kind of like what Elvis did for the ladies, he died so that the hens didn’t have to.”  Then, Gracen pipes in, “That makes me sad for Elvis.  I hope we never forget him.  I love Elvis.”  Hmmm…I could have said more, but sometimes as a parent, I talk too much.  I decided to let the rooster who was named after the “King” teach my kids about “The One True King”.

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”
~Luke 18:16-17

How have your kids surprised you with their insight and understanding?