Influence is swirling around us, begging us to eat a certain something, watch or listen to a certain something, dress like a certain someone, and the list goes on.
I have been thinking a lot about influence the last few weeks. I find myself fascinated at how many times in a day I am influenced by something or someone. The power of suggestion is huge! I am a lover of mexican food and just the mere mention of it makes me want a taco or nachos and usually that desire is only satisfied by melty cheese, cilantro, and crunchy chips. But I'm getting sidetracked now, see what I mean. I have learned that I can also influence others to suddenly need some nachos by merely mentioning it on Facebook. Mexican foods are just the tip of the iceberg, a funny, simple thing. What I'm talking about isn't so simple.
I'm talking about the influence of my children, particularly the female child. Everywhere I turn the media, the kids (or so called kids) TV shows, the books written for girls and just about everything in Target is calling to my girl. She is one month from turning twelve, but I feel like she is on the cusp (and I think she thinks she is too) of 21. The questions that flow from her about EVERYTHING imaginable are a constant barrage to my answering capabilities. It is my job, for lack of a better word, to answer those questions. But there are days where I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. The world is yelling while I am calming explaining things. The influence around her to be thin, to have shiny hair that is smooth and frizz free, to dance as a self expression, to sing whatever she would like, to be all that she can be, to be as strong as a man, to not listen to anyone but herself, that she all of her own power can do it all, to be what is considered beautiful and not what isn't, to dress as the Disney channel and Nick stars deem as perfection and probably forty other things that I have forgotten. Influence.
As I started really thinking, I started wondering about who is speaking loudest into my children's ears? What influencer is winning this tug-o-war? Is it God, me, my husband, the Bible or the Disney channel stars or teen magazine covers (which before you panic I DO NOT BUY ANY TEEN MAGAZINES). We have no TV, but we do have Netflix. We homeschool, but she isn't hidden under a rock, which at this point is looking pretty good! Don't get me wrong, she is an awesome kid! She loves God and church and for the most part her preteen attitude is pretty good, the emotions, well let's just say she tends to run on the dramatic side but for a preteen girl, she is awesome! I love my girl dearly, which is why I pray daily that the right side is winning that tug-o-war. But when shirts for my 'little' girl have only a lace back (something I just cannot get on board with), I fear one day just giving into what is available will win over what is taught as being modest. Clothing, just one in a list of many things that frustrate me greatly!
So today I sit and ponder, have I allowed opposite influences to my beliefs in and how deeply do they influence? Am I over thinking it? Should she be exposed to all of these influences so that she can make the right choices based on what she is taught? Like I said, her scope of influence is still pretty limited but there are days when I start to question. . . .
What are your boundaries for your youngest ladies? Your sons?
I think this, that we as parents must prayerfully and carefully set boundaries. Pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom and patience. And most of all, pray that all we are teaching and living has a greater influence than the screaming world around us.