Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warning: Graphic Content & Strong Opinion Advisory

My daughter is two and she is a very brave little lady. She has never been afraid of the dark. She has never met a stranger that she didn't like. In fact, she is so friendly that my mommy radar is on hyper-drive most of the time because I want to protect this little one who can not protect herself.

We are very cautious about what Norah is exposed to. We don't let her watch television because it is just too hard to control what will pop up on the screen, even PBS. However, we have some kids DVD's and a subscription to Netflix. She loves Curious George. I love them, because they are short episodes and full of fun, adventure and learning moments. 

One afternoon, We were watching an episode of Curious George. All of a sudden, Norah became very upset -- crying and screaming, "No! No! No!" as she scrambled onto my lap and hid her face in my shirt.

I was confused, because there was nothing that seemed to be particularly scary going on. Then I realized that she was reacting to Mr. Gopher Getter. 

Immediately I turned the episode off and I held her until she calmed down. I tried to explain (as best as I could) that he could not hurt her and that mommy wouldn't let Mr. Gopher Getter visit our house ever again. 

I sit here at my desk contemplating this post. I am conflicted. I am conflicted because I know in my heart that my motives are pure, but I also realize that the topic I am about to broach is very sensitive.

However, what I am about to say has been on my mind for months now and I think that I need to share my thoughts. 

A little over five years ago we moved to Cincinnati. One afternoon I was driving up Auburn Avenue on my way to the grocery store, or maybe it was the bank, or the library... I don't remember, exactly where I was going, but I will never forget what I saw on the side of the road. 
There on the left hand side of the road was a large brick building surrounded by a gate. 
Outside of the gate, I noticed a handful of people walking back and forth, heads bowed in what appeared to be prayer. One gentleman was holding rosary beads. One man was wearing a sandwich- board type sign, and across the front and back it had a pro-life message. 
It was a peaceful demonstration.

I was impressed. 
As the months went by I realized this was not some one-time rally or some yearly Right-To-Life event. There were almost always people there at the gate, praying and holding signs with pro-life messages. 
They were there as a constant reminder of what was happening in that building. 
Silently protesting, praying, grieving.

In fact, in the five years that I have lived here, I can count on one hand the times I have not seen at least one person there. 

Then, one day, on my way back down Auburn Avenue, I noticed a car parked on the street with a large poster fastened to the back. On this very large poster was an enlarged photo of a baby. 
Its little face, torso and limbs were all there. 
However, it was dismembered. The broken, bloody body of this aborted child lay before me in pieces. Forceps holding the decapitated head slightly higher than the body. 
It was gruesome.
It was a complete shock to the system. 
I felt nauseated and disgusted.

The thought crossed my mind, How can the graphic display of a nude, mutilated child be legal? What about the little kids that live in this neighborhood? What about the toddlers in car-seats that are unwillingly subjected to these images? 

Please do not misunderstand me.  
I am pro-life. 
I am pro-freedom of speech.

I am also pro-common sense and pro-discretion.

I drive down Auburn Avenue weekly with Norah. We have to. Our doctor's office is there. Our bank is there, and other places like Kroger, CVS, and the dentist. 

I want to protect Norah from these images.
She is at that age where she is highly impressionable and emotional. 
She has a memory like an elephant, but her understanding of what she sees and hears is often beyond her understanding; so seeing images of a decapitated, dismembered, bloody baby could be easily misunderstood and very frightening for her.

Thankfully, so far, I have been able to distract her from looking out the window when we drive that section of the road. I pray that I will be able to continue to guard her eyes and protect her mind from these gruesome images.

I believe that parents are responsible for their children in every aspect. We are entrusted to care for and protect their bodies, to guard their eyes, ears and minds. To protect their innocence. To introduce the world to them in bits that they can cope with. 

No, we can't protect them from everything forever, but we should do what we can to protect them until they are prepared to handle the ugly realities that sin has brought into the world. 

I believe that fighting to protect the unborn and fighting to protect the innocence of those that have already been born should work hand-in-hand.

Unfortunately, the fact that these images are displayed without discretion, shows a callousness towards basic decency and a lack of concern for the emotional well-being of children.

The end does not always justify the means.
A lot can be said for the sanctity of life. 
I believe in protecting the unborn as well as the born. 


The Lazy Philosopher said...

I believe in letting children know that there are bad things in the world - but it should always be at a level of understanding which is appropriate for their mental/spiritual/emotional development. Not the shocking images or words so often used to drive home the point of how horrible things are in the world. Because even something a child cannot fully comprehend will be understood as something disturbing and "wrong" and can have a lasting effect on their emotions.
:) Keep protecting her, and know that if you're there for her she'll survive even the times that you cannot shield her.

Anonymous said...

I agree, not only do I not want my kids to see those images but I personally don't want to either. They likely do have a time and a place, but they should never be displayed where children can see them - very good blog.

It's strange what random stuff frightens our kids, isn't it? My youngest went through a lengthy time of being afraid of that roaring line you see at the start of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios - he's on Tom and Jerry and other kids things. At school it was so bad (last year) the teacher had to make sure if kids were choosing a video for the class to watch at the end of the day that it wasn't by that Studio, he was literally terrified. Thankfully he grew out of it as mysteriously as he grew into it!

Mary Ellen

Jodi said...

Thank you, LP and Mary Ellen.

Keith and Crystal said...

Beautifully written, Jodi! I couldn't agree more. Great post!

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