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Sunlight Burning at Midnight a memoir by Jessica Ronne

 

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Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!

What Do We Stand For?

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Lately I’ve been forced to ask myself this very question, What DO we stand for as a family? What lines up with our Ronne moral compass and what does not? With the move and all and the fact that the kids get eaten alive by mosquitos if they step outdoors, we have, as their parents, admittedly resorted to quite a bit of electronic/Netflix/TV/movie usage to keep them entertained while we deal with everything else: unpacking, flooring, trimming, painting, sewer problems, lack of water, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and I think that about covers it all. I was under the impression that most of what was on the kids version of Netflix was safe enough and lined up with our values until recently as I discovered 6 of my children completely mesmerized by four, sweet little puppies on the television screen, all innocently chatting together while sitting in a circle around a Ouija board, conjuring up spirits in the presence of a witch, and then I had a mild freak out session, “What are you watching?!?! “ I asked and then continued, “You are not allowed to watch that! Find a different movie and let me know what you find!”

The kids were ticked, “But mom, they whined, Dad said we could watch ANY G rated movie.”

“Well, not this one,” I replied and walked away to contemplate and pray about my next move.

I realized in my meditation moments that they probably have not been exposed to something like a Ouija board or evil spirits so it wasn’t exactly fair that I freaked out on them without explaining why I was so disturbed by this movie. I decided to explain my actions over lunch, which turned into a very interesting conversation about the evil in the world, which in turn opened their eyes to understanding mom’s point of view and a desire to not engage in these sorts of movies or activities as well.

The possessed puppy episode peeked my curiosity as to what else we were ignorantly allowing to occur in our house due to a lack of time or energy to adequately monitor every activity.  I decided to take a bit of an extreme approach and investigated in depth each of our entertainment options to determine what exactly my kids were being exposed to through the computer, IPad, IPods, DS games, T.V., and Netflix, and I haven’t been entirely happy with what I’ve discovered but what it ultimately comes down to is that I’m mostly disappointed in my lack of parenting recently.  Honestly, I’ve gotten lazy. I’m tired, there’s a lot to do with the house, the kids are bored, and I’ve slacked big time. Over the past few days I’ve watched some of the Netflix shows with the kids, and I’ve mainly noticed a theme of ridiculousness running through most of them. 

whatdowestandfor

No moral, no story line, just ridiculous creatures, doing ridiculous things to one another at ridiculously fast paces (because the kids of this generation have extremely short attention spans). Another element I’ve noticed in most of these ridiculous shows that seem to have the ability to mesmerize my children immediately, is that the language these characters use is not language we allow in our home, words like, stupid, idiot, and the phrase” I hate you” are commonly heard in these G rated shows and movies. I’ve also noticed a complete lack of respect for authority and for parents, generally treating parents as idiots who don’t know any better or the wives treating their husbands like idiots, a theme I don’t like exposing my children to either.  I then moved on to the IPad and computer games. Most of these turned out harmless enough but there is one game in particular, a seemingly innocent wizard game that has the ability to hold my two oldest boys attention for an entire day if I allow it. Come to find out, this game allows children to chat with other people and once again we are talking about wizards and spells something I don’t stand for in any other aspect of our life. Ryan and I are digging deeper into this particular game and until we have some answers, it’s been put on hold at our house.

Finally, I’ve discovered through some stealthy research, that there are new (or maybe just new to me) porn apps that teenagers (but I’m pretty sure it’s not limited to just teenagers) are hiding on their phones under the guise of a regular game app. Now I know I have good kids, I know my kids seek to serve the Lord and please their parents, but I also know that we are all born with a sinful nature and every single one of us has had our curiosity get the best of us when it comes to sin. They say that the average age a child is exposed to porn is age 8 and also that 3 out of 4 Christian men has or is struggling with a porn addiction. These are scary statistics to me. I am not a parent who wants to put all 7 kids in a crystal ball, never exposing them to anything because I don’t’ believe that works at all. They will be exposed to things in life, and I want to be around to chat them through it. I also believe that my 10 year old boys NEED to be exposed to some aspects of manhood (just not the lust aspect of manhood). They can handle the violence of a war movie or watching Bear Grylls tear apart a wild animal for dinner, God made them with an innate desire to be protective and fight for what they believe in, and if I know one thing as a mother, you don’t do your boys any favors by babying them, rocking them in your lap as they grow, and not allowing them any exposure to the wildness of the world. Generally, boys thrive on expressing their masculinity. The girls are different, and they can’t handle X –Men or War Zone fighting in video games. I realize this is not a popular viewpoint of many mothers, wanting to keep their little boys innocent and mama boys, but I firmly believe that they need to step away from their moms, and they need to be allowed to become men and they only do that by engaging in masculine activities and learning from other men about how to protect and fight for what is theirs.

For the here and now however, I need to step it up as a parent, draw a line in the sand, have a family meeting about what we stand for and what we don’t stand for as a family, and start following through with it. Will it make me popular? Probably not.   Will it make me liked for the moment? Not likely. But – will it help in shaping my kids into Godly individuals? I sure hope so. At the end of the day, the choice is theirs, but I have to be obedient to what the Lord has called of me, “To train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I have faith that the blessing of that promise will follow my obedience.

Just keep livin!!

  • Guest
    Ell Monday, August 5, 2013

    I dislike some of the New Stuff also and have been letting my grandson watch Old School cartoons on DVD or iPad. Occasionally, I will hear Stupid from Bugs Bunny or Yosemite Sam, but I am ok with that. He actually laughs out loud to some of those characters and I enjoy them as well.
    Pink Panther is silent so that's an extra plus!! :) Keep doing what you are doing. They will be fine.

  • Guest
    cmcmurry Friday, August 2, 2013

    So proud of you & Ryan. If you are too popular (or friends) with your kids you probably are not doing your job. They need guidance because they haven't even developed all their thinking process yet-thats what we are there for, example & lovingly shepherd them, which sometimes has to include tough love. Keep doing what you are doing-it already shows in the kids. This Gramma is very proud of them & their character.

  • Guest
    Jessica R. Thursday, August 1, 2013

    It must be tough to be a parent these days, as kids are exposed to much more, and at a much earlier age, than when I was growing up in the 1980s. You and Ryan may not win the Coolest Parents of the Year award, but that's not your job. Your job is knowing what's going on in their lives and raising them to make right choices and be the best people they can be. As my mom always told my brother and I "What is right is not always popular. What is popular is not always right."

    Keep doing what you're doing and one day, your kids may thank you for it.

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