Grateful for... (What I Believe: A Long-Overdue Stance)


On many blogs lately, there was been a YouTube trailer featured, linked to, or embedded in a multitude of different posts.  The trailer is for a documentary called "Miss Representation."  The film discusses the negative affects today's media has on the young women and young girls of the world, which is deteriorating our girls' self-esteem, personal body-images, how they talk to & treat others, and the legacy of strength intended to be passed on to the next generation.  The discussion includes interviews with teenagers (guys & girls alike), successful women of accomplishment, women & men of scholarship, women & men in leadership & government positions, as well as women & men who work in mainstream media.  

I agree that society/the world/the media have gotten away with moral travesties!  I agree that it should stop.  I agree that the tipping point or paradigm shift can only happen if we demand accountability on the media's part & demand better for our kids.  We must be our children's champions.

If you'd like to see the trailer for yourself, please go here.  Though I agree with the position of the documentary, I do not want some of the images, shown as proof of what we already know to be true, to have a home here in my family's blog.

The first blog I heard of this from was a dear friend of mine.  Her blog did not feature the video either, instead she chose to link to her friends' blog where it was viewable.  Rather than leave my lengthy comment on this poor-gal-who-doesn't-know-me's blog, instead I decided to post my comment here.  Once you've seen the video, you'll understand where I'm coming from.  Since this had originally been intended to be just a comment, please excuse the lack of capitalization.  Thank you.


"i'm here via SIF's blog.  what this video/trailer addresses are daily concerns of mine.

being the mother of a 14 year old HS freshman, i'm constantly guarding against the negative outside-influences in my kid's life.  i don't agree with the media out there doing its thing but, it DOES feel like i can't stop those in the media from continuing further down the path.  what i HAVE found we can do is educate our daughters.  

solid ground rules/expectations (in regards to dressing modestly, using clean language, having self-respect & respecting others, etc.) are set & continuously maintained within our family & home.

"no other success can compensate for failure in the home." ~david o. mckay
we encourage & foster a good relationship with our daughter where we can openly communicate and discuss questions she may have.  also, we CAN limit the media's influence here in our home & family.  as vile as the media's offerings are, we are not victims.  we do not have to welcome any of it in.

also, in our family, we are very careful about the music we listen to.  when a degrading song comes on the radio, the channel is changed and the floor is then opened for educating our daughter as to why it's degrading, the extent of damage such lyrics & artists cause, and -despite the catchy beat- what elements are most offensive so we can avoid the unseen destruction from future songs or artists' tactics. 

in addition, we don't watch TV.  no MTV and no network programming here.  (not only do too many shows lack a conscience any more, i definitely cannot trust what additional smut or filth enters the home via simple movie trailers and other commercials in between.  so we've been TV-free for 7 years now.)  we DO have an extensive DVD collection that we enjoy, where the titles selected and in our library have gone through meticulous evaluation on our parts as the parents.  that's.our.job. 

we also have netflix and a wii.... but with both of those, we most definitely rely on the parental controls to help police all content viewed there.  some old movies that were released prior to the movie ratings system aren't even able to be viewed.  books are also scoured to be sure content is appropriate.  our family library consists of many classic pieces of literature, material from trusted authors, and books that educate, uplift & teach us how to become better in various aspects or skills of our lives.  no romance or graphic novels are allowed in our home.  we also do not take magazines in the mail, with the exception of perhaps 2 (one for adults & one for teens) each month, both from our church.  we've taken protecting our daughter so far as not even allowing victoria's secret catalogs come in our mail or into our house.

we have one functioning computer and it is centrally located in the house, where anyone can see the content being viewed.  passwords are in place so that computer time can be closely monitored.  internet time is limited in our home as well.  the internet is not used as an entertainment source, but as a resource for school projects & correspondence (via email, and online journaling on our blogs).  therefore, there simply are ZERO hours wasted on youtube, and our daughter does not have a facebook account. we feel its better to be safe now than sorry later.

please keep in mind, however, that just because we discipline ourselves, that doesn't mean we live under a rock or are socially inept in any way. 

since there is so much that we cannot control when she walks out the front door, we have to keep ourselves involved & relevant in her life.  we do this by getting to know all of her friends & their parents.  we are highly involved with school committees & supporting the sports teams she plays on, as well as her class activities.  we do not allow her to spend the night at anyone's house other than family.  however, we DO allow "late nights," where she is picked up from others' homes by 11pm at the latest.  also, we DO allow her friends to stay the night at our house, as we know what movies will be viewed, where the girls are at at all times, and what will be consumed.  when her friends are our guests, they're treated as extensions of our family.  going to a movie, playing board games, or going bowling is a family event and we do enjoy those things together.  this allows for my home to be a refuge from the negative, outside influences of the world/society/media.  not just for my daughter, but for her friends as well. 

countering the negative influences of media/society/the world doesn't happen successfully by only removing the bad.  if that's all anyone did, there would be a vacuum effect that would follow.  when something bad is extracted, and the void is not actively & vigilantly filled with positive, then the void most often is filled with worse & more shocking influences.  influences lead to thoughts/attitudes.  thoughts/attitudes lead to actions.  actions (even if swift & fleeting) lead to permanent consequences. 

so why not start the whole process with positive, uplifting influences in the first place?

for this purpose, not only do we have our set of values by which our family is successfully kept in check but, we keep our daughter involved with good, positive friends who share & are raised with similar rules/beliefs.  this is why she is actively involved in church & youth group activities & attends wholesome dances on a regular basis.  this is why we encourage her to fill her time playing HS sports.  through sports, not only is she gaining new skills, but she is learning how to get along with various personality-types.  she's learning how to problem-solve in a very real & tangible way.  she's learning how to lift-up those around her, how to be dependable, and how to be a team player.  she's learning to stay healthy, both physically & mentally.  she's increasing her skills & talents, thus building her confidence & sense of self-worth in what she can accomplish and not in the labels she wears, the amount of skin she shows off, or what boy's paying attention to her.  not to mention, she's learning to busy herself with worthwhile endeavors.

for eons there have been proverbs & scriptures that teach us idle hands are the devil's playthings, and that idle minds are the devil's workshop.  same with idle time.  idle time = empty brains.  too much "nothing" time leads to something... something that is less than virtuous.   frankly, anything less than virtuous is not good enough for my daughter.  anything less than virtuous is also not good enough for my future grandchildren. 

"who can find a virtuous woman?   for her price is far above rubies."  ~proverbs 31:10

so what am i trying to get at? 

yes, the media's out of control. 
yes, we should be ashamed of what the media is promoting. 

however, no matter what's going on outside of our home, we have a duty as parents to put our foot down, and be anxiously engaged in placing boundaries to protect our children.  we must be hard-nosed about this.  we must not be consumed with fear of what others might think of us.  we must not worry about being popular with the under-developed intellects of our children & their peers.  we must be the sounding voice, demanding that schools enforce their codes of conduct, their dress codes, and that they police not only drugs & alcohol consumption, but even the lyrics of songs allowed at school dances & school sporting events. 

here's a perfect example: volleyball this year. 

it's disheartening to hear the majority of play-lists for many of the teams as varsity girls warm-up.  track after track is degrading to women.  they mention an array of sexual acts women are expected to perform, disrespectful names women are referred to as, illegal drug use, graphic violence, etc. 

  • why are our young women representing their communities to music that negates their validity in this life?  
  • why are our young women singing these songs, word-for-word, as they warm up for tax-payer-funded, school-sponsored sporting events?  
  • more importantly, why are they ALLOWED to step foot onto a court with these horrific lyrics as their teams' theme songs?  
  • where are the coaches & where are the rest of the parents at?  
  • why aren't the adults paying attention?!

do our kids have a choice?  heck yes. 

what they do have their choice in is whether to obey or disobey.  what they do not have, however, is the choice of consequences that follow their decisions. 

we must be firm.  that is how lessons of are learned & decency is perpetuated.

adults: we are the adults for a reason.  to set the boundaries.  to teach self-discipline.  to set the bar for the next generation.  if we are irresponsible with the children we are stewards over, and we neglect to protect them & fail to demand better for them, then i am afraid that the world/society/the media will do nothing but continue to be a degenerative force that will soon annihilate our children's future. (i say children, because these influences teach our boys evil & degrading things as well.  the boys see or hear something they think is "cool" because its in a song or movie or magazine or online, and then they start to subscribe to that mentality as well.  again, thoughts lead to actions.  actions lead to consequences.  often those consequences are hurtful or violent, and always permanent.)

we absolutely cannot afford to be passive.  we cannot afford to stand idly by and just expect the state of the world to heal itself.  won't.happen.  nothing comes from nothing... put in nothing, and you'll get nothing in return. 

society's back-sliding has to stop somewhere, and that somewhere is in the family, in the home, with the parents. 

"without hard work, nothing grows but weeds." ~gordon b. hinckley

set your mind now.  set your precedences now.  set your rules now. 

be strong & don't back down.  children need boundaries, so that there's never room for doubt as to where you stand.  so they know they're loved.  so they know they're worth your invested time & attention.  so they know they are not alone.  so they see you follow-through, and so they learn what integrity & virtue are all about."


Thanks guys & gals for hanging in here until the end...  
Now, thoughts are wonderful.  Actions produce change.  



S.I.F. said...

I will totally take responsibility for this one! ;)

I love you lady, and you are an amazing mama setting your daughter up with the best possible foundation she could have!

2browndawgs said...

Thanks for stopping by. I have been enjoying reading your "Grateful for" posts even though I haven't had time to post a comment. They go nicely with morning coffee. :)

Now to today's topic...that video seemed like a "hate Fox news" video. Small snips from a 24 hour news station don't really tell the whole story.

But to the larger point...

I agree that it is up to the parents to decide and monitor what their children (boys and girls) are exposed to. I also agree that always limiting what a child sees or hears does nothing to prepare that child for the future. I think open discussion between parents and kids of the good and the bad of what is out there in the media is just as important as limiting what a child sees or hears, (always depending on age/maturity of the child of course). Well that is my 2 cents anyway.

It sounds like you are doing a great job of raising your teenager. :)

Cherie said...

You just rock!
I haven't seen the Miss Representation - I am going to watch it.

Spread Your Love For the Gusty Ridge Ranch


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