Monday, March 21, 2011

The Seduction of Self-Empowerment

Yesterday a conversation with my 4th-grade daughter left me slightly flabbergasted, somewhat amused and decidedly concerned.

It all started with the clipping of fingernails.

Strange as it may sound, she is opposed to the cutting of her thumbnails for the stated reason that she uses them to open things, "scratch Daddy" (when they are playing/roughhousing) and other sundry reasons. Which is all fine and dandy, except that I am going to cut them anyway.

So she put on a high and mighty tone and announced, "Well, it is my body! And only I can decide what to do with my body." To quote my father-in-law, my immediate response was, "Hold the phone! Whaaat??"

Then she informed me that in school last week the students were told that they get to choose for themselves, make their own decisions, be in charge of their own bodies, etc. Now I trust the school and imagine this conversation may have taken place in the context of abuse or bullying prevention, topics which I know are discussed regularly each year. But regardless, as I promptly and firmly informed my daughter, "Anything we hear we have to compare to what the Bible says. I like your school and I trust your school, but if they ever say anything that is not what the Bible says, the Bible wins. We always, always, always go back to the Bible."

Well, from there the conversation deteriorated to a complaint about how her life is so hard and she is the only one in her class who has rules, and how so-and-so tells everyone that he has no rules at all in his house. After pointing out that so-and-so probably only says that to get attention, I retorted that if it is true then I feel sorry for him because that means his parents don't really care about him. And I elaborated with several examples of rules we have in place at home that keep our kids safe, which she readily understood.

Understood, but didn't necessarily like, as she went on to sigh and expound on how wonderful her life will be when she is on her own and has her own house (a small one, though, because she doesn't really like to clean) and etc. etc. etc.

Yes, this is life with dramatic girls on the teetering precipice of puberty and adolescence. I take it with a grain of salt yet at the same time the "mama bear" comes out in me at the reminder that my kids are being fed the seductive bread of self-empowerment and "it's all about me" and one tasty morsel can unlock an voracious appetite for selfishness and willfulness, especially when the child's human nature is already inclined to such things.

1 Peter 5:8 warns Christians to "be alert ... for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." What a sobering and powerful reminder to be aware and proactive and protective in my kids' lives. After yesterday's conversation I am all the more ready! I pray daily that the Lord's hand will be upon them during the hours we are apart, that the Holy Spirit will guide them and that they will be aware of Jesus as their Friend and Companion throughout the school day.

Because I can't be all places at all times ... but I am so thankful I can trust the One Who is.


Terri Fisher said...

How true, Steph! Our oldest has taken to saying that everything is his choice, and that we can't tell him what to do. Needless to say, we remind him that he is living under our roof, eating our food, wearing clothes bought with our money, and once he is not, then he can make the choices he would like to make. (We're not talking minor choices here, mind you.) -SIGH- Some days I wish the next two years away, but then I think of what his future will be like if he doesn't grow up and let God, and it scares me. -SIGH- And so we pray and trust God. -SIGH- Hang in there!

Deborah said...

Praying for you, Steph & Pedro...and for you, Terri & Dave!

With love...