Friday, March 27, 2015

Pippin in the Evening: Part 2

To continue our conversation with our children about media choices, which started with a bad media choice by my husband and me, we had a Family Home Evening lesson about media.

First, we read a story in the March 2015 issue of the friend called TV Trouble. To read the article, you can click here.

Then, we had a discussion about what to do if our children were faced with a media dilemma. This is not our entire conversation. Our 6-year-old daughter had some wonderful answers, but the extra experiences our son has had recently will probably be more helpful for this post. Our daughter is understanding all the "right" answers (not just lip service, she really seems to understand the gospel with her heart). She just hasn't had many experiences with it yet.

Mom: K (our oldest son), remember when your friend was over and he turned on the cartoon "Total Drama?"
K: Yeah.
M: How did that show make you feel?
K: I wasn't sure how I felt.
M: I wasn't feeling totally comfortable with it, especially since your little brother (3 years old) was watching with you. It didn't seem very appropriate for him. Do you remember what we did?
K: Yeah. We gave him suggestions of others shows we could watch. He wasn't interested in any of them.
M: Then what happened?
K: Well, we went upstairs and looked at our movies and he found a movie we could all watch.
M: Did it all work out?
K: Yeah.

Then, we asked the kids some questions about what else they could do when confronted with a situation that included an inappropriate media choice. Both our 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter had great answers (call home, say a prayer and ask for help, ask the friend to change the channel, ask the friend to do something else, leave if the friend doesn't want to change what they are doing, etc). We felt confident that they knew alternatives to watching something inappropriate. The hard thing is actually doing it. My husband and I talked about Pippin again and how we didn't know how our friends felt, or how they would react when we left the show. But, we let the kids know how wonderful it made us feel afterward. We felt empowered by the spirit.

The lesson seemed to be really effective for all our children.

Then, we got THE QUESTION! Our 9-year-old is trying to decipher what the spirit feels like. He's starting to ask harder questions, like:

K: Mom, I'm confused.
M: Oh, what are you confused about?
K: I don't know when I'm feeling the spirit. How can I tell?
M: That is an excellent question (as I'm trying to think of a good way to answer this amazing question). You know how when you do something good, you feel happy inside?
K: Yeah.
M: When we were volunteering with daddy at the Hospice place yesterday, how did that make you feel?
K: Good. It was fun.
M: It was fun, but it was also good for your spirit. It made us all really happy to be helping others. That's the spirit telling you that you've done something good. Have you ever been around anything that made you feel uncomfortable?
K: Yeah, when kids at school say bad words.
M: Those kinds of feelings are when the spirit leaves. It will take a lot of practice and you'll have to keep listening and trying, but you will learn how to be able to tell when the spirit is helping you feel something and when it is leaving because something is not appropriate.
K: Oh, okay.
M: It's okay that you don't have it all figured out now. Just pay attention to how you feel when you are at home, on the bus, at school, with friends. You will be able to tell what you feel when the spirit is with you.
K: Okay. I can do that.
M: Does that help you? Are you still confused?
K: That helps. Thanks, Mom.

During the course of the conversation, I could tell that he was relieved to know that he didn't have to have it all figured out right now. He seemed worried that he wasn't listening or something because he can't always tell when he has the spirit with him and when he doesn't. It appeared to comfort him that it's okay for him to still be figuring things out.......And, let's be honest......I'm still learning this as well..........

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pippin the.......Pornographic Musical?!?!?!?! Part 1

My husband and I recently went to a broadway show called Pippin the Musical. Before we bought our tickets, we tried to find reviews about the show. All the reviews raved about how great it was. The Pippin website said,"Pippin may be inappropriate for children 8 and under." We had a hard time finding the storyline, but the trailer and pictures gave every indication it was a show about a circus. With it being appropriate for our older children, according to the website, we decided it should be appropriate for us. Well........the show did have circus tricks. However, the storyline was overly sexual. There were innumerable sexual innuendos, which made us uncomfortable. The second act (from the booklet they give you at the musical, which we couldn't find online) seemed like it might be more tame than the first. So, we began the second act. We were shocked to see that it was worse than the first act. When they had a bedroom scene on stage, we left. We should have left sooner. I couldn't believe broadway could be so pornographic. There were kids at the show.

The next day our 9-year-old son, who knew how excited we were to go on a nice date, asked about the show. Here is our conversation:

K: Did you have fun last night? How was the show?
M&D: Well, we had fun on our date with our friends, but the show was very inappropriate. It had a lot of sexual stuff in it that made us uncomfortable. We ended up walking out.
K: Really?
M&D: Yeah, it was hard to get up and leave because we didn't know how our friends were feeling and what they wanted to do, but we felt better when we left. The show was just really inappropriate.
K: That's disappointing.
M&D: It was very disappointing, but we still had fun with our friends. We didn't let it ruin our night. We got to talk and have a good time.
K: Did they leave too?
M&D: Well, some of them did, but the others stayed in because they were afraid of walking that close to the balcony in the dark (one of them had surgery on her legs the day before and was unsteady on her feet. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to walk steadily in the dark. We were on the first row on the balcony and it was a long way down). She said she would have left if she felt she could walk safely.
K: That's good.
M&D: Yeah, did you know that you can leave something anytime if makes you uncomfortable. We paid a lot of money to see that show, but we didn't let that or our friends stop us from leaving when we felt like we needed to go.
K: Yeah. Well, didn't you have a feeling beforehand that the show was going to be bad? (WHAT AN EXCELLENT QUESTION!!!!!)
M&D: You know, we did our research and tried to figure out if it was appropriate. We didn't get a feeling while we were getting the tickets, but we definitely felt like we should leave during the show.

We felt like this was such a good experience for us (the conversation), that we decided to take it further and have a family home evening lesson using an article in the Friend this month. I am going to put a series of posts related to this musical we used to teach our children. This was Part 1........

Friday, March 20, 2015

Experience the Electronics

I finally had the conversation with our oldest (9-year-old) son about images and the power they have on our brain. Hubby and I have been preparing for this conversation for about two months. This will definitely be a series of conversations, but here is our first one. I need to start with a sub-story that I refer our son to during our conversation.

A few months ago our son read a superhero comic book. There was a cuss word in it. One night as he was going to bed he called me to his side.

K: "Mom, I can't get a bad word out of my head. I've tried and it won't go away."
M: "Oh, where did the word come from?"
K: "It was in my comic book. It didn't even need to be there, but I saw it and can't get it out of my head."
M: "Have you tried saying a prayer?"
K: "Yes, and I still can't get it out of my head. I've tried thinking of other things, but I can't.
M: "Have you tried singing a Primary song in your head? You love that Gethsemane song. You could try that one."
K: "Okay."

Now, on to our conversation about the power of images......

First of all, our son recently acquired a DSi. His friend is moving and has three, so he gave one to our son. His friend's version has internet, but the one he received from his friend does not have internet access. Our son knows the rules and that he may be able to have an electronic devise with internet when he turns 12, if he completes his Duty to God requirements.

K: "Mom, B's (his friend) DS is really cool because it has internet. Mine is still cool, but it doesn't have internet."

This was my big opening. I've been waiting for a moment like this to discuss this with him. His father has been waiting too, but this was the right moment.

M: "That would be neat to have the internet. Do you know why me and your dad don't want you to have internet on an electronic devise yet?"
K: "So I don't see bad stuff."
M: "Yes, that is part of it. We also want to make sure you know how to properly deal with bad stuff if you do come across it."
K: "Like turning off the computer and telling you if I see something that's not appropriate."
M: "Absolutely. Also, we want you to be able to know how to get rid of images, or pictures, in your mind that you may see on the internet. Do you remember when you read that comic book with the swear word?"
K: "Yeah."
M: "You couldn't get the word out of your mind."
K: "Yeah."
M: "Well, pictures are that way. Once you see a picture, your brain remembers it. It can be hard to get that picture out of your mind, like the swear word."
K: "Oh, that makes sense."
M: "What would you do if you couldn't get a picture out of your head?"
K: "Ummmmmm, I would tell you."
M: "It's really good for me to know if something like that is happening, but what if I wasn't there?"
K: "Ummmm, I would try to think of something else."
M: "That's good. To get rid of your brain thinking about one thing, you should fill it with something else. What if it's hard to think of something else. Remember, it was hard to get rid of that swear word and think of something else."
K: "I could say a prayer."
M: "Great. Heavenly Father definitely wants to help you get rid of inappropriate images. What else?"
K: "I could sing a Primary song."
M: "That's great too. It's good to try a couple different things because if the first thing doesn't work you can try something else. Hey buddy, did you know that you should tell me if you saw inappropriate pictures, even if you were looking for them? I love you and want to help you. If you were ever interested in something and looked it up, even if it was inappropriate I want to be able to talk to you about it."
K: "Oh, yeah, I guess."
M: "What do you do if a friend wants you to look at something inappropriate?"
K: "Not look."
M: "But, what if you don't know it's going to be inappropriate until you begin to see it?"
K: "Tell him to turn it off."
M: "That's a good start. You can always walk away and do something else too if he doesn't want to turn it off."

I could tell he was hitting his max information, so I stopped there. I wanted to keep the conversation going as long as I could because I know we will have to repeat some information and our next conversation will be going into more detail about peer pressure. I'm also going to look for some opportunities to point out good spiritual feelings and moments when the spirit is absent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It Grows!

Our little boy that just turned 3 years old. He's been potty training for the last little while, so is in various stages of undress a lot. He has taken an interest in his penis because it has been so exposed lately. This is absolutely normal and nothing to be concerned about. In the last week we have heard various comments, such as, 

"Daddy's penis is big." 
My response, "Daddy is bigger than you, so he has bigger hands, feet, and penis." That totally satisfied him. 

Last night he said, "My penis gets bigger when I touch it." My response, "Yes, it does. Sometimes it's small and sometimes it's big." 

He's not overly concerned or fascinated with his penis and leaves it alone most of the time when I respond calmly like this. It doesn't draw special attention to it, but I do have to remind our other children to take their laughing elsewhere. Then, remind them later that the body is sacred and it's not appropriate to laugh at a sincere comment from their little brother.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Marry Miley?

I had a conversation in the car about relationships with our 9-year-old. Bonus! I usually get to have these conversations with our 6-year-old daughter.

K: Why would anyone want to marry Miley Cyrus? She's not cute.
M: Well, she has lots of money and she's famous. That might be what some people look for in a wife...........What do you want in the person you marry? I know you want someone you think is cute, but what else?
K: Well, smart.
M: That's a good trait, intelligent. What else?
K: Someone who is kind.
M: That's a really good trait too. Do you think daddy is smart and nice?
K: Yeah. Well, nice sometimes.
M: (Smile). Those were two things I wanted when I married someone too, kind and smart. I also wanted someone who was a worthy priesthood holder. Daddy has a good testimony and I wanted that in a husband.
K: Yeah. That's good too.
M: I wanted someone who could take me to the temple.
K: Oh course!

Now, we've been working on kindness toward women and especially his sister. Having this in mind, I continued the conversation. He was a captive audience because he had asked the question first and we were stuck in the car on the way home from karate.

M: Do you think mommy is smart?
K: Yeah.
M: Do you think mommy is nice?
K: Well, sometimes.
M: (Smile) I know. I have to give you consequences sometimes. That's not very fun. What about A (sister); is she smart? Is she smart for a 6-year-old (he likes to base everyone on his age group)?
K: I don't know. I don't know what 6-year-olds know.
M: She is pretty smart for her age. Is she nice?
K: Yeah.
M: If A is smart and nice, do you think you should be treating her like you would treat your future wife?
K: But I can't marry her.
M: You aren't going to marry her, but you should treat her like you would your wife. Someday someone else is going to marry her and you'll want him to treat her with kindness and respect. You can help her learn what it feels like to be treated right by being a kind brother. Also, it's good practice for you. You can practice treating other women with respect and then you will already be that way for your future wife.

He had no idea this was coming! But, this is the first time I feel like some of what we've been trying to teach him actually was processed in his brain. I love my alone time in the car with him. We have some really good conversations.