First of all, as most of you already know, our family suffers from, oh I don't know -- ZERO pigmentation in our skin (honestly, I think we are the whitest family on the planet)! It is due to this unfortunate skin condition that we do not venture out to the beach very often. :o)
However, today we wanted to do something different and FREE that would be enjoyable for the whole family. So off our little white family went to the white sandy beaches of Clearwater, Florida.....
I have often wondered what young Amish people think when they go out during Rumspringa and see the sad realities of the world we live in. I think I got my chance through my own sweet children today.
We walk all the way down the boardwalk until we can get a good view of the beach and the ocean. Our reaction to the absolute beauty of God's creation is cut short as soon as we see the people who decided to come to the beach, too. All over the place -- walking along the water's edge, sunbathing, flying kites, playing ball -- everywhere we were completely shocked at what people were wearing (or, rather, what they weren't wearing).
Speedos, bikinis, thongs, etc. Everywhere we looked! My mind immediately came to the old children's song that says, "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see..." and J and I discussed that we were all going to have to work extra hard to guard our eyes from what was surrounding us.
Unfortunately, this proved to be much more difficult for the children to do. They were so surprised to see people dressed like this that they began staring at everyone near us deeply and intently. They stared especially long and wide-eyed at those few bold couples who chose to perform certain lewd acts with each other in the water next to us (this is what I meant when I used my example about Amish in the real world).
A little while later, I was shocked as I observed my 7 year old daughter, R, intensely watching a couple of young women (in thong bikinis) sunbathing near our blanket, and mimicking what she saw. She had pulled her bathing suit up where it resembled more like a thong, and then began walking around our place in the sand in a"sexy" way, tossing her hair back and forth. At first I just rolled my eyes because, to me (and probably anyone else who saw her), she looked utterly ridiculous. However, a more serious problem existed there that needed to be dealt with quickly. It is amazing how quickly the culture you are surrounded by becomes "normal" to you and it affects you less and less as you begin to resemble it more and more.
She knows that we do not and will not ever allow her to wear clothing that does not promote modesty. No midriff shirts, no short shorts or mini skirts, no pants with words written on the butt, and certainly no bikinis! So, after a prompt rebuke and a lengthy discussion about what God's Word says about modesty and purity and abstaining from every appearance of evil, she acknowledged that she understood, gave me a smile and a sweet hug, and went back to playing innocently, as a child should.
I think we have all heard that saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That old cliche took on a whole new meaning for me today. I was reminded of another (less popular) saying that deeply influenced my decision to homeschool, "If you allow your children to be taught by Caesar, don't be surprised when they come back a Roman!"
We don't teach our children how to sin. We don't have to. That knowledge and desire to do evil is born with them, with every human, since the Fall of man. In a society that constantly cries out for you to "Just do it!", and, "Do whatever makes you happy", and, "Just follow your heart", more Christians need to take a stand for God and should be teaching their children what God's Word says about those statements:
- The wise man, fearing, keeps himself from evil; but the foolish man goes on in his pride, with no thought of danger. (Prov 14:16)
- For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim 3:2-5)
- The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9)
- ...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. (Phil 4:8)
I don't know when we will make our way back to the beach again. Not just because of our blindingly white skin (although right now it is an interesting shade of red), but also because we need to prepare our hearts and our minds (and those of our children), before we can go out into a place where so much sin is relished and revered. If we decide to go again, we will be sure to "Put on the whole armour of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Thanks for listening... I will get off of my soap box now... :o)