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This post is a departure from my usual posts. But its important.
I attend BayRidge Alliance Church with my family. One of the ministries offered by BayRidge is Shift Parenting Seminars, designed to equip parents to raise their children in the fear of the Lord in a world bent on evil.
This past Sunday, BayRidge hosted Strength to Fight for its March seminar. Strength to Fight is an organization that sheds light on the evils of the porn industry and equips parents to prepare their children to navigate a porni-fied world.
Josh Gilman spoke of the awful statistics that tell of the havoc porn is reeking on our homes. The stats brought shock to my heart and tears to my eyes. The stats of how many men and women and children are entrapped, of how the porn being produced is violent and sadistic, that this violent porn is setting the parameters of how men and women and adolescents view sex and relationships.
But I don’t want to focus on those facts. You probably have heard them and maybe you feel defeated already. But Gilman left me with a way to beat the porn industry: to talk about its evils, to put words to my disgust, and to give words to others to speak of theirs.
And so I am.
One of the things that shocked me was that MindGeek, a company that disseminates over 90% of the porn worldwide, is located in Montreal. Montreal, Canada. That’s 3 hours down the 401 from me. In a global world, that is my back yard.
He believes that a bill geared towards limiting the availability of porn in Canada was gutted due to MPs being influenced by MindGeek. That has got to stop. We can not have a corporation dedicated to destroying lives for money influencing our government.
But there is hope: Gilman said that they are starting to see, in the last 2 to 3 years, internal correspondence in MindGeek speaking of their fear that public opinion may be shifting away from being accepting of porn.
We can live in a porn-free world.
Gilman believes that we can change our porno-fied culture within the generation, much like public acceptance of slavery was shifted over a short time. But it needs to be because of the people. We need to say out loud, to our family, friends and neighbours, that this worldview is not ok.
I come to the table as a mom. I fear for my son and daughters. My initial thought is to shelter them, to shut them off from the world. But I was told that they will eventually encounter pornographic images, and my responsibility is to teach them how to deal with it.
Right now, I am not worried that my kids will accidentally click something, because they currently do not have access. My kids get no screen time.
But some day they will. And I want to start building the foundation of trust and openness today, so that if they do encounter something in the future, they will know they can talk to me.
There is a book called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. This book had been on my radar for a while, and I had heard positive things about it from other parents. Strength to Fight was selling copies and I picked up the junior version, written for 3-6 year olds.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures gives me the language to speak to my children in a way to prepare them and protect them, without scaring them. It tells them what is bad, and what to do if they see something that is bad.
I read it to my kids today. I read the very basic version and I did not include words like “pornography” because the other idea that stuck with me was “be specific, but not graphic.” My kids are sheltered, and I don’t want to give them more then they can handle. You need to prepare your kids as they become ready, building on previous conversations.
The last few pages of the book gives kids practical things they can do if they encounter a bad picture.
Today, Atticus walked by me and casually said, “if I see a bad picture, I can tell my mom.”
This is how I can protect my kids. They need to know that if they encounter porn it is bad, but it doesn’t make them bad. They need to know they can tell me and we will walk that path together. They need to know I will not react in fear and anger, but in love.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures also talked about what to do if someone tries take bad pictures of kids. I believe this book gives language to kids so they know what is good and bad and they can protect themselves.
I weep for the world that we are in. But I take joy in the work of organizations like Strength to Fight who are working to equip me to help and protect my kids.