31 Days with Mama A: Dear Daughter (Day 8).
Hello sweet things! It's Wednesday and we're over a week into our 31 days!
Are you new to the series? Then feel free to click right here and it will take you to the entire series.
I'm about to put the "Mama" back in Mama A.
I'm going to address something my daughter brought up at the dinner table last night. She was slightly upset with her dad and I because, among many other things, we won't allow her to have Instagram or any other social media access like some of her peers. She has an iPod, but she does not have free access to the entire internet at our home--there are only a select few websites she is allowed to visit. She is not allowed to text and she can only FaceTime under our supervision. We know her passwords and she knows that at any moment we can take her iPod to examine the contents of her photos, music, or anything else on the device.
This is a personal decision for our family, and we aren't shaming any parents who make different decisions for their families.
She was clearly upset with our refusal to allow her to join in the fun with her friends. So, her father and I explained it the best way we could:
"It's not always you, dear Mo. There are a lot of bad things out there that you aren't ready to know about. It's all those other people out there that we don't trust."
She started crying and said, "I just wish the world wasn't a bad place."
And I hope one day when she's older, she'll be able to look back and see that we had nothing but the best intentions. I know that it's hard when you're 10 years old and you're stuck in between childhood and the teen years. You want to be mature, but you are still very much in need of help.
Maybe one day when she's older she'll appreciate it.
And this is my response:
|Molly circa 2012.|
I know you think that I'm old and that I don't understand, but you need to know that we agree with you. We, too, wish that the world was perfect and that we didn't have to struggle every single day. Life seems a little scarier now and I think it has to do with the fact that we are bombarded with news and gossip and the like on the ol' inter webs. Your dad and I have also been through many experiences in which the bad seemed to overcome. We've seen and experienced things that have reminded us over and over again how much we long for Jesus to return and make it all right again. And like your daddy said last night, this "badness" is the reason we live and work at the camp. To give kids a chance to get away from all of the distractions of the world and to focus on the Good and the Truth.
Baby doll, the internet isn't all it's cracked up to be. I will let you in on a little secret: I wish sometimes the internet wasn't even around because I don't like the fact that we can't get away from everything and everyone.
We are constantly able to check our work email. We are constantly able to chat with our friends and family. We have a world of information at our fingertips and never even need to go to the library or call a relative for a recipe. Time within our home is no longer sacred and we cannot guard our separate family time because there is a constant stream of beeps, rings, and alerts demanding our attention.
And honey, it's not just notifications. Those mean girls and bullies on the playground? They now have access to their victims via cyberspace. If you don't have a phone or social media site, then at least that is one way they can't come into our home. Right now they have no power over you once you leave the school building at the end of the day. If we wouldn't let those people into our front doors, then you need to trust us to not allow them to have access to you through your devices.
The boyfriend/girlfriend stuff some of your peers are beginning to take interest in? They have no idea that pretty soon (if not already), the opposite gender are going to start sending them photos of themselves. Some of these photos will be cute and fun, and some of these photos will be illicit and too mature for your eyes. I've been the mistaken recipient of a couple of these vile texts, and I was horrified that those images were sent to me (even though it was an accident). I can't imagine how I would feel if they ended up in your inbox or on your phone. Whether it was an accident or on purpose.
There are sick predators and they prowl the internet looking for fresh meat. They are crazy enough to stalk people based on their status locations. They find those innocent photos of young children and alter them in ways that are vulgar. There are men and women who delight in those images, and they make me seethe with anger from my head to my toes. And those photos you take will never, ever, ever go away. There are people that can, and are desperate enough to, get to them, and I don't want anyone who is able to dig through the internet to find their way to you.
I know you think that we are being super strict at times and that we treat you like a baby. You are a smart cookie, Moo. We think you understand the basics in regards to right and wrong, and we feel like you have enough Jesus and moral fiber in you to make good decisions most of the time. But we also know that you are still a child, and like it or not, there are some things developmentally, emotionally, and spiritually you are just not ready to face quite yet. So we will make those decisions for you for now.
While you feel like our rules and decisions are oppressing you, we are actually taking some of the burdens off of you, dear girl, by not letting you carry them in the first place.
We don't want you to look at the world as a bad place. We want you to look at the big wide world in front of you and see it as full of endless possibilities. You have been given the gift of life and you need to embrace everything that comes with it. And there are a lot of people who are just like us and wish that the world was good.
We know you are frustrated and angry with us.
And it's ok. Your dad and I have friends our own age and do not need your approval.
But darling, these times, these decisions, and even your crazy parents are all part of your story. We know we can't protect you from every last thing in this world, but we can make an effort and at least try. We know that one day you're going to have to face all of this on your own, and we are going to give it everything we've got to get you there with ammunition and an attack plan.
Your father and I are preparing to "[send] you out as sheep among wolves.
So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16NLT)
We want you to be wise, and we want to protect your innocence as much as we can. You and your sisters are our most treasured possessions and we only want what is best for the three of you. Hang in there, baby girl. It's going to be a rough couple of years as you head into middle and high school. I pray that when we get to the other side of all of this you will understand a little better. We love you more than you'll ever know.
Love and smooches,
Love and smooches,
Mom (aka Mama A)