Raising G-Rated Kids in an X-Rated World by Anonymous

Raising G-Rated Kids in an X-Rated World by Anonymous

Peyos and tzitzis flying. A crowd of young boys playing outside in the beautiful weather this past Shabbos afternoon.

However what happened next was both shocking and a true reminder that we are in galus; in one moment everything shifted as a non-Jewish man walks by this lovely setting and drops his pants, exposing himself to these innocent neshamos.

This incident and the recent exposure of a pedophile ring in Nachlaot that harmed over a hundred young religious children unfortunately demonstrates that despite the intense efforts we must make to protect our children, the truth is that despite our best efforts to maintain their innocence, our children WILL be exposed to immorality we do not want them to see!

We no longer live in a time where isolation can be the only answer.

Whether through advertising, magazines at the checkout counter, internet, or unethical people both within the Jewish community and without– we and our children are frequently exposed to promiscuity and immodesty that would have disgusted the liberals of previous generations.

In fact, parents in America need to understand that with a simple free library card, their children can access some of the darkest corners of the internet at the local public library!

The question that we desperately need to start discussing is how will we handle this new reality?

How will we give our children the tools to handle this exposure? How can we empower them to look away from what is in front of their eyes? How can we teach them to be safe to the best of our abilities? How can we instill the Torah values of holiness and purity in an uplifting and positive way that empowers our children to understand how to set appropriate boundaries within the context of this hefker world around them?

I don’t have the answers to these questions- but I beg you to join me in this urgently-needed conversation.

I think we are outdated and ignoring reality if we think that just telling our children what they are NOT allowed to do is enough.

I would love to see our wonderful educators and teachers, kallah and chasan teachers, and Rabbanim sharing what they feel is needed to create a curriculum taught in every day school to empower children with strong Torah values needed to handle this exposure.

It would also be very helpful to widely publicize rabbinically-approved suggestions for a conversation that every parent should have with their children to help them protect their bodies and neshamos.

“Lo alecha hamilacha ligmor vilo ata ben chorin lihibatel mimena.”* It can seem overwhelming to open this discussion with our children, but it is our responsibility to try. May Hashem bless our efforts with tremendous success.

May we see the day where all Yiddishe neshamos see themselves as holy and pure so they have the strength to resist the vulgarity of the world around them. And may we merit soon to the arrival of Moshiach so that we and our children can truly be safe and protected.

How do you think we can keep our children safe in this new and evolving reality?

*You don’t have to finish the job, but you are not free to abandon it either. (Pirkei Avot)

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Lars Plougmann

Related posts:

A Morning in the Life of Yoel (3-Minute Cute Video)
109-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor: Look for Beauty Everywhere
Jerusalem Thanksgiving

6 comments

  1. We tell our children that they have a “makom habris”, that it is holy, and that they (and we) are not allowed to touch it with our bare hands (as it says in halacha).

    We don’t tell our children that the 5th inui of Yom Kippur is “drinking” (the five are eating/drinking, annointing, washing, leather shoes, and marital relations). We say that the fifth is that a mommy and tatty need to act in a different way, and the details are in the set of laws called “Taharas Hamishpacha.” We feel that not feeding children misinformation or avoiding topics is a key. For example, they know that a man may go to the mikvah before Shabbos or daily, while a woman goes “at certain times.” They don’t need details, but the framework they need.

    They know the concept of a Yetzer Tov and a Yetzer Hara; that when (for example) a mommy and tatty fight it comes from the Yetzer Hara, who likes to destroy shalom bayis. This provides an excellent base to explain all sorts of behavior and misbehavior.

    They have learned about tznius, and how there are different halachos for different sets of people. For a baby, a diaper is tznius. For a boy, short sleeves are tznius, etc. We don’t look at non-tznius things because it is not good for our neshama. We are holy and the things we look at must be appropriate.

    They know about teshuva, that mommies and tatties might do wrong things and feel bad, and make a hachlata to do better in the future. I hope that they will realize that the same is true for them.

    They know that the internet is a place of klipa. They know that we are allowed to use it for work, but we need to be careful because it is dangerous like crossing the street.

    We have briefly touched upon the halachos of yichud, but will have to continue to explain it in the future.

    I hope that these areas provide a basis for which to address all of the dangers they may come across in the future Chas Veshalom.

  2. I don’t know have any answers to the questions raised. However, I would like to share two things:

    1. I would recommend reading a book by Gavin de Becker called “Protecting the gift.” He teaches parents how to recognize danger signals, develop safety skills, as well as how to speak to their kids so that children understand that their bodies are private. For example, if anyone attempts anything that kids should say, “STOP, or I’ll tell.”
    http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2

    2. All the parenting books I read, there is always the reminder that our children learn from us and I’m always amazed at how true this is. If there is a super “bad” Shabbos treat (95% sugar), I take a bite, and say “This is not good for me, even though it seems to taste good” and I put it down on my plate untouched. (My husband did this after 2 bites, and my 4 year old admonished him saying, “You took TWO bites!) Now my 4 year old has that phrase in his language and I’ve heard him use it many times. Unfortunately, my 2 year old uses the phrase for things I want him to do/eat that are good for him! 🙂

    • I second the recommendation for de Becker’s book. Excellent, informative resource and he writes beautifully. I also highly recommend his first book “The Gift of Fear”, which is about using intuition to predict violence and stay safe.

  3. Thank you for writing about this crucial topic. This is something I think about every day when I go out and expose myself and my young kids to so much immodesty. I think Rabbanim should address this topic extensively bc the yetzer hsra can be pretty enticing, especially for kids raised ffb who are curious.

    Please post future articles regarding this topic!

  4. chaim teleshevsky

    There is a law in the laws of kosher that when something is imparting it’s flavor it can not simutaniously absorb…

    empowering children and training them to constantly be imparting to others (i’m talking about going to the park with your two year old and two sets of shabbos candles for her to find somebody to share the light of shabbos with.)and careful about what they absorb together with tons of positivive parenting and a huge siatta dishmaya is a great start!

  5. Rhonda Verdun

    Yeah. When China and Iran make up the largest portion of the UN’s “Human Rights Council”, you know they’ve jumped the shark in a big way. I mean…seriously…are you freaking kidding me? That’s like making the president of NAMBLA in charge of setting guidelines for the International Nanny Association. 6 likes

Leave a Reply