Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Naked Agony

So, I really like the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Our oldest son, 11-years-old, loves them too. He recently read "Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary." One day, he came to me:

K: Mom, I was reading that Fablehaven book and I came across a couple words I didn't understand.
Me: Oh good. What did you do?
K: I tried to look them up, but I couldn't figure out what it meant. When I typed them in, inappropriate pictures came up. I closed them out really quick. I'm telling you because I can't get those pictures out of my mind. I've tried all those things we talked about before, singing a hymn, saying a prayer, listening to a song I like. I still can't get them out.
Me: I'm glad you came to me. Remember how we talked about the mind always wanting to think about something?
K: Yeah.
Me: We should do something that keeps your mind busy for a while to keep your thoughts away from those pictures.
K: That's a good idea.
Me: I would love it if you would tell me next time this happens, even if you don't have a problem getting pictures out of your head.
K: I will.
Me: So, what were the words you didn't know?
K: "Humid stench" was one. I know what humid is and stench is smell. I don't know what they mean together. (He showed me in the book.)
Me: Literature sometimes uses different words to describe something in a particular way. Humid stench in the story means a really heavy, sticky smell. It's a smell that surrounds you and you can amost feel it because it's so strong.
K: Okay. I get that now. The other that pulled up inappropriate pictures was "naked agony." I know that naked means no clothes. What's agony?
Me: Agony is a lot of pain. Naked agony would mean that everyone can see your pain. It shows on your face and in the way you walk and talk.
K: Okay. I get it now. Why do authors use language like that?
Me: It's to use really descriptive words. They want you to feel like you're there, so sometimes they use words in a different way than we expect to give you a better feel for the scene in the book.
K: Okay. I really like this book. It's a good one.
Me: I'm glad you like it. If there are more phrases you don't understand, you can ask me if two or three words together don't make sense to you.
K: I will.
Me: Oh, and try to use the dictionary app instead of the internet next time you just need a definition of a word. That might prevent this kind of thing from happening.
K: I didn't think of that. I thought that app was only on the other iPad.

At first, I sarcastically said to my husband, "Thanks to Brandon Mull our son was exposed to pornography." After a day for me to realize that our son was highly resilient and this opportunity gave us a chance to talk about pornography in a real setting, rather than hypothetical, I was grateful. I would rather have him exposed to a quick picture and learn how to deal with it than leave him to experience videos that pull him into addiction later.

We had another conversation later.

Me: I know that pictures of people without clothing can be interesting because we usually keep those parts covered. When you were looking up those phrases from the Fablehaven book and saw those pictures, were you curious and interested in looking?
K: No; I knew what it was, so I just wanted to quick get rid of it.
Me: All right. If you are ever tempted to look, you can let me know. I love you.
K: I love you too.

I didn't realize the significance of this conversation at first because I was assuming I was going to have a conversation about how pornography can be interesting. I was prepared to talk about how pornography can be engaging and tempting. I was surprised at his answer. Then, I was pleased. I remembered the talk by Joy D Jones at the most recent conference entitled, "A Sin-Resistant Generation." She said, "Being sin-resistant doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does imply being continually repentant, vigilant, and valiant. Perhaps being sin-resistant comes as a blessing from repeatedly resisting sin. As James said, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." This is a situation where our son demonstrated that he is learning how to become sin resistant. He's certainly not perfect, but I felt inspired by his determination to do what's right.  

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