Man. Parenting is not for the faint-of-heart. This is not brand-new information to me, and if you have kids, dear reader, I'll bet it's not new info to you either. We have to make hard, unpopular decisions regarding their upbringing all the time. And rarely do they understand that these decisions are for their own good (in fact, they grow to hate that expression!).
Several topics lately have reminded me of the title of this blog post. First, we have PG 13 movies. I've blogged about this rating before, and the challenges it brings. I fear the frustrations we all feel about this rating aren't going away anytime soon. Here's how it goes: we think a child under 13 is most likely too young to watch a PG 13 movie. Most of our children under 13 feel they are completely mature enough to watch a PG 13 movie. I have mentioned to the kids that if execs in Hollywood of all places think 13 is the magical age, it should probably actually be much higher, since Hollywood's track record for morality and ethics is not exactly stellar. We remind the kids that what they see cannot be unseen; that we don't want their minds cluttered with violence, sex, bad language etc. But of course they don't understand - they are children after all and just want to watch what everyone else (so they report) is allowed to watch. "We're the ONLY ones who can't watch this movie!" they wail. Not without compassion, I remind them this will not be the first time they feel this way under our roof. My husband and I can commiserate - our parents were also careful with what we saw and listened to, and we didn't get it either at the time! But now we appreciate their vigilance. God-willing, our children someday will too.
In a similar vein, the word suck is also taboo over here. I know everyone truly is saying this word, but I really, really don't like it, and I don't let the kids say it. I think it is crass and crude, and by golly, I just can't stand to hear it come out of their mouths. Pick your battles, you might say (and I very much believe in that parenting strategy, more on that in another post). But I'm not kidding you when I say that this a battle I think I should pick.
And finally, violent video games. Similar to PG 13 movies, this is a hot button subject around here. One of the boys said to me the other day, "You're not going to let me play it, because dad is a pastor!". Ummmm, no. I am going to research the ratings and the violence level because I care about your heart and mind (see above!). Dad could be an accountant or a Target manager or a CEO and we would still care about what you see and hear.
Sigh. It's not an easy gig, is it? We try our best as parents and hope that God's grace covers the rest. I fail them daily and pray that God uses me anyway, though my mistakes and shortcomings abound. God chose us to raise these children, gifted us with this responsibility. We know that He will be with us every step of the way!