Have you heard the Sunday School song lyrics “Oh, be careful little ears what you hear...”? It is a basic, little tune with simple lyrics, but it conveys an important message to our children – and is even a good reminder to adults to be mindful as well.
As a parent who wants to guard your childrens’ hearts, how do you shelter those little ears when all around you there is talk of sex, drugs, and violence? Even if you try to avoid these topics, they permeates our culture – in songs, on television, in movies and books.
Be careful little ears what you hear
It’s not unusual for a young child to pick up questionable words quickly and repeat them. It used to be that kids picked them up from a family member or friend who let a word slip inadvertently. Nowadays, you cannot even flip through all of the radio stations without hearing words that are offensive or inappropriate.
Sex. Drugs. Hate. These are all the themes of today’s secular Top 40. Because these songs are in commercials, in movies and playing in your locals stores, it is nearly impossible to avoid them altogether. And they stick in your head and in your children’s minds. Your kids may even pick up the song and start singing without knowing what they mean.
Be careful little eyes what you see
TV news shows overflow with scary stories that are enough to induce phobias in a whole new generation. It no longer is just the thought of monsters under your child’s bed that keeps them awake and anxious at night; it’s the sad things their little ears and eyes come across during the day.
Even with no sound, your children’s eyes are capable of taking in the world around them. The alarming amount of sexual contact on television, the fighting, destruction, it is all playing out before their eyes.
Commercials encourage one-night stands and disrespect for parents, their bodies and even alcohol abuse. Even so-called, kid-friendly programs and movies contain adult innuendos supposedly for comedic relief.
Advertisers and producers are pushing the limits day in and day out with what and how much they can get away with on television, radio, and in movies. Because of this, our children are witnessing immoral behavior and taking it all in even if it’s not in the home.
The big problem is that children just do not have the capacity to understand it. Their minds and hearts are not meant to deal with such adult, worldly issues. For a young child, these new pieces of information can confuse them and scare them. They may think acting like the girl or boy they saw in the music video is normal or they may become anxious after hearing some horrible news.
It’s no secret that teens and children are taking on a new wealth of problems. The “wholesome” child of yesterday is a child who now has to combat the world and acceptance of sins, which were once the minority and now have become the majority of the behaviors you see depicted in the media today. No wonder we have more and more teenagers facing adult problems.
So, how do you keep your family protected?
Psalm 101:3 KJV says: I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.
This does not mean we can put blinders and earmuffs on our children. Instead, this is where prayer and faith play a part. As parents, we must have faith that the lessons we teach our children about God will be on the forefront of our children’s minds as they grow. These instructions will also put them in a position to be an example to others.
Pray with your child before they go to school. Pray with them in regards to particular things they have been noticing. Let them see that God is the answer.
Allow them to come to you with tough questions. Show them that no matter how hard the question may be you are there for them. If you need help, ask another trusted adult for advice on the topic.
If they are repeating something you do not want them to say or imitating immoral behaviors, explain to them why these behaviors or words are inappropriate or offensive.
While it is not possible to ignore these things, our love and guidance as parents will be a larger factor in who our children grow to be. Even if they stray for a time, which can happen even in a teen raised in a Christian, loving home, instill biblical teachings in your family and your children will keep these with them. God‘s word is stronger than anything else they will hear.
Do you face some of these issues with your own children? What is your advice for parents on this topic?