Monday, January 24, 2011

You want some SKIN?

Just when you think you've been shocked by liberal media advancements toward our children. Just when you think we've danced as close to the line as is humanly possible. Just when you think your jaw could not drop any further without touching the ground...

MTV tops itself again.

First of all, let me say to all teenagers who will read this and think, "Thanks alot, Jill. You made my life infinitely harder after my parents read your blog." You're welcome.

I remember the early days of MTV. Conservative parents everywhere were freaking out (mine included) because now their children would be exposed to the likes of Madonna (when she wasn't so Maddona-ish yet), Michael Jackson (when he was still the color he was when he was born), and rock stars with purple hair and neon guitars. I had better not even THOUGHT about trying to sneak a peek every now and then because somehow, my parents would find out, and let me tell you... it would not be pretty for me.

But I recently have come to realize that it wasn't so much what was on MTV then that bothered them. My parents knew where it was headed down the road. Fast forward to today.

Part of the intention of this blog is to expose you, as parents, to what's in front of your children. I spend hours (and I do mean HOURS) reading articles, watching videos, listening to music, reading reviews, etc., so I can stay informed, for my kids and yours. See, I don't want to be caught completely off guard, nor will I trust my children (or yours) to be up front about what's going on in their culture and world. So, imagine my reaction when my brother-in-law (who is a PHENOMENAL youth pastor) told me to investigate MTV's newest rage, the teenage-geared show called "Skins." The meaning of "skins" from urban dictionary is "parties usually involve large amounts of drugs, alcohol, sex and loud music. After the skins party, the guests usually wake up in somebody elses house/garden completely disorientated, naked and covered in puke/piss/blood."

I. Am. Angry.
I. Am. Shocked.
I. Am. Grieved.

Here's the deal in a nutshell. Skins is an hour long show about teenagers. Or at least what the world WANTS us to believe/see about teenagers.

That's not the problem.

The problem is, MTV has actually employed teenage actors to play their true-to-life roles. That's right. In Skins, you will see fifteen year old girls in NUDE sex scenes. NUDE. You'll hear sixteen year old boys DEMAND sexual favors of girls, in great detail. You'll see seventeen year old children making drug deals, popping pills, and committing grand theft auto.

And your kids are watching it.

See, MTV is clever. They are billing this as "true to life" and "just showing the world where teenagers really are." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? First of all, I know PLENTY of teenagers who aren't living like thugs and fools. In fact, the majority of them are not. Secondly, SHAME on MTV for using MINORS to play these roles. The definition of pornography is "The explicit depiction of sexual subject matter, especially with the sole intention of sexually exciting the viewer; The graphic, detailed, often gratuitous depiction of something." Bingo. Third, WHERE ARE THESE BABIES' PARENTS? (Let me at 'em). Fourth, just because it's on TV and not a pay-channel does NOT mean it is permissible in our homes! Just because it's "legal" for these children parade around in prostitution and drug-related scenes does NOT mean it's okay for my daughter to learn that she can or should allow boys to demand vulgar and explicit actions from her. Just because it's on "primetime" TV does NOT mean that I should allow my son to think it's ok to use the F-word whenever and however and to whomever he chooses, or describe girls' body parts as if they are objects found in a landfill. And just because "all the other kids" watch it CERTAINLY does not mean that MINE WILL.

I know, I know. Some of you are literally saying, "Well, you can't control every thing they watch." I agree. They go to school. They hang out with friends. But let me tell you this. I CAN CONTROL WHAT IS WATCHED IN MY HOUSE. Even if this means there is ONE TV, ONE computer, and ONE smartphone, and they are all in MY room, under lock and key! Furthermore, I can instill in my children a heart filled with self-respect and dignity, where they instinctively turn their eyes and their hearts away from filth when they are exposed to it. Don't tell me it can't be done. I can show you family after family who's children didn't fall into this trap. Families that I admire and look up to because they produced children who aren't perfect, but who soared above the traps of garbage that others fall in to.

Need more reason to understand why I am angry? Watch this. (you'll have to click on this link, as I couldn't post it to my blog.)

Has this given you a heads up? I hope so.

So, where to go from here? Be up front with your kids. Going in with guns blazing will cause a freakout and will be counterproductive. Sit down with them and ask them if they've seen it, and why they like this show. Ask them where their own moral compass is regarding these issues. Try to lead them to follow the chain of events to where these destructive lifestyles are headed. (Pregnancy, STD's, suicide, prison, minimum wage jobs for their whole life, poverty, etc.). Then, PULL THE PLUG. They don't have to like it, nor do they really have to even understand your reasons right now. That's the beauty of parenting. We have to protect them from themselves. And I know you're like me in the fact that you want your adult children to look back and now EXACTLY what you stood for.

And one more thing. I'm now a Taco Bell fan for life.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where to begin?

How about here?

Or here?

Definitely here...

That's right, blog friends. My sister has had a baby boy! His name is Legend, and since day one, he's living up to his name. I had the privilege of being right at Lori's side as she ushered her heart into this world on January 3, which was three weeks before his expected arrival. When he came out, his cord was TIGHTLY wrapped around his tiny neck. He was purple and didn't make a sound. He struggled to breathe off and on for the first day or two, and was taken to a bigger hospital in Orlando, where he spent the next nine days. The verdict was that he had a paralyzed vocal cord on his right side, and a condition that alot of preemies have called SVT (his heart would run very high heart rates off and on). Thanks to a medical team that I cannot brag enough about and the power of a magnificent healing God, Legend has a heart that is perfectly healthy, and his cry is getting (MUCH) louder every day. He is the first boy in our family... first in four generations on my Mom's side... and we are over the moon about this little seven pound bundle of chewiness.

As I sit and hold Legend every day (my office is not even one minute from his house... the perfect lunch getaway), I cannot help but think of my own girl and wonder where in the HECK the time has gone. I reflect back on her early years, and I literally feel like I'm trying to see through a fog. The memories are blurred and I only see bits and pieces of time. I want to pin Lori and Seth to the wall and somehow force them to understand how quickly this tender phase of their lives will pass. But I know that even if I could, they won't get it until they go through it. Days of diaper changing, spit up, rocking, and worrying turn into weeks and months, which all add up to one magnificent adventure.

One of the ten million wonderful things about Legend being here is how his very existence has forced me to hold Abi a little closer... squeeze her a little tighter... bite her sweet cheeks a little more often. Her birthday is fast approaching, and for some reason, I cannot bring myself to say the word "seven" when asked how old she'll be. See, the fact is, she's not in little powder scented diapers anymore. She doesn't require me to rock her to sleep, though on the rare occasion she asks, I gladly oblige. She can wipe her own rear end, pick out her own clothes (haha), and get her seatbelt on without my assistance.

But she's still a baby. MY baby.

My baby, who still says things like, "Mom, I have so much fun with you." MY baby, who asks, "Will spiders crawl into my mouth while I sleep?" MY baby, who would eat pancakes 24/7 if allowed the chance. MY baby, who cries while watching Animal Planet. MY baby, who hasn't outgrown running to me when the bell rings and kissing me right in front of all her friends. MY baby who at her young age is already so hormonal, I think I'll lose my own sanity BEFORE she starts her period.

We ooh and aah over the tiny ones, the new ones... and understandably so. But Moms, Dads... we have babies that are tender, albeit sometimes hard to love, at seven, twelve, and seventeen.

Take a minute today and smooch on your baby. I'm already counting the hours until I chew on my girl when she gets out of school today.

But first, it's only an hour and a half until lunch. And this is where I'm headed.