by Sherri Wilson Johnson
Welcome to the first in a series of posts on inspiring purity in teens written specifically for you, the parent. Over the months ahead we’re going to break down the word PURITY using an acronym. I want to encourage you as you inspire purity in your teens.
In my blog post to teens earlier this month, I shared with them that it’s possible to stay pure without being a loser and without having to live in a bubble—that they can look fashionable and have lots of friends and admirers but still be Godly young people. My post was titled “P is for Protection”.
It’s a privilege we have as parents to offer protection to our teens. Now of course, I do not mean protection in the way the world means it. I’m not talking about birth control or STD prevention here. I’m talking about the wonderful blessing we have as parents to act as God acts with us.
It says in Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
How can we offer this protection to our teens?
1. We must be proactive. Not reactive.
Proactive means to be hands-on. It means to “be there” for your kids. We have to listen to what they’re saying and listen even more to what they’re not saying. How are they talking with their body language? Are they telling you of a danger that’s approaching that they want you to rescue them from or guide them away from?
Reactive means we try to fix something that possibly could’ve been prevented—and because of the desperateness of the situation, we may respond in a knee-jerk or hasty type of way. Have you ever heard a story on the news where a father kills a boy who he catches in the backseat of a car with his teenage daughter? The father loses all focus when he catches them in an adult act and he blows up, goes temporarily insane, and ends up in jail!
Now what if this father (and the mother, too) had been proactive in the early years and had led this child down the correct path and guarded her from dangerous behavior? Might this situation have turned out differently? I’ll bet it would have.
2. Protect their little eyes and ears.
You know the old song: Be careful little eyes what you see…little ears what you hear…little mouths what you say…little feet where you go. It says that the Father is looking down in love. But we must be careful where we go and what we do and what we allow into our lives. He tells us to stay away from situations that will cause us harm.
I said this to you in my first post but I can’t reiterate it enough. We have to filter out things before they have a chance to pollute our children. There’s only so much we can do when they’re away from us at school every day and while we’re away at work, but that’s no excuse for complacency.
We have to be fierce protectors when it comes to the homes our kids spend time in. Homes where there may be older brothers, older sisters, boyfriends of the moms, drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc. If you know a home experiences abuse of any kind, be it verbal or physical, you must refuse to let your child spend time there. If a home has unsupervised television or video game time, speak up to the parent before you allow your child to be there.
I recently had someone ask about my novels and whether or not they were “steamy”. When I responded that they were not, the person asked “Why?” Of course, I said I didn’t want to write anything that I wouldn’t want my own children doing. This person (a non-Christian man) said, “Why not? They are adults.” Without getting all preachy on him, I just said I still didn’t want them reading about things that married adults do and, therefore, would not write those types of novels.
We all need guidelines to protect us from the messages we’re flooded with daily. The media robs teens of their innocence very early and encourages them to be sexually active (while being sexually responsible, of course) and to get involved with drugs, alcohol, and meanness.
One thing we never allowed in our home when our kids were young was closed doors. If our children played in a bedroom or the basement, especially if they had company over, the doors were always left open. If a neighborhood child came to play and I didn’t know the parents well, I didn’t allow that child into my home and my children didn’t go into her home. They played outside or in the garage. Call me paranoid or an extremist but because of some abusive situations I learned about in the past, I didn’t want to subject my children to a possible attack nor did I want my family to be accused of such a thing. This made parenting a 24/7 job and I was exhausted but I never left my watch.
There’s a thief that the Bible speaks of and I mentioned this to the teens in my post to them. That thief is Satan. John 10:10 tells us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” That’s his ONLY goal. He’s not a knight in shining armor, although he uses flashy things to distract us from our values and to make us think he wants to protect us. Our children are looking for love and acceptance and if we don’t show them the way to the Lord, the ultimate protector, then the world will show them elsewhere.
Protection is a seed that needs to be planted and watered regularly so it can grow strong. It’s a shield and needs to be worn over our bodies and our minds at all times. In our world today, we need to stay on guard. I promise you, if you wear a “security sign” on your back or you place a “guard dog” at your door, you’re way less likely to get attacked than if you left your area unprotected. It’s a tough job but it must be done. It’s not fun to be different but it’s worth it in the end.
Until next month, I encourage you to protect your children. It is a privilege.