In Case of Poison



I heard a cry that was meant for a momma's arms barreling up the front steps. I dropped my kitchen duties and was in the living room in time to scoop her up.

"I stepped in poison! I don't want to DIE!" she sobbed.

I figured this had something to do with the "this lawn has been sprayed today" flag staked in our neighbor's lawn.

Upon further investigation, I learned that I was indeed right. Little girl often bops around the neighborhood close behind a friend who is three years older and full of helpful information, like what butting in line at the bus stop means and why you shouldn't do it. But today she'd pronounced a death sentence of poison-by-walking-through-your-neighbor's-treated-lawn on my daughter's head and then disappeared, leaving her to contemplate her tragic fate alone.

I breathed the phrase that has brought comfort to little girl many a time.

"Do you know this happened to me when I was a little girl?" Relief washed over her face and worry took a backseat to her wonder. "Really?"

"Yeah," I began to explain, leading her to the bathroom.  "I mean, if we drank the stuff on the grass, we'd get very, very sick. And we don't want to run around in the sprayed grass on purpose. But if we accidentally step in it, all we need to do is wash it off."

Drying her off, little girl asked me a few more questions about the exact details of my brush with poisoned grass as a little girl, and by the time she hopped off the counter, seemed satisfied that everything was going to be okay.


 *****

I read a scary statistic the other day. The average age of exposure and addiction to pornography is 11 years old. That is before most students even enter a middle school.

What's the big deal? What a person likes to look at is their business right? It is. But know that those images are not harmless. They are capable of altering minds and hearts. Of destroying bonds in healthy relationships. They are capable of destroying trust. Of shattering families and individuals. It's not a mess you can clean up in one day. The effects have the potential to reverberate through generations. 

Those who brush it off as no big deal are doing mankind an abominable disservice. 

Pornography used to have to be sought after. Now, more often than not, it finds you. And if you bite, computers, tablets, hand-held devices can provide access from then on out anytime you want in seconds. 

A new sentiment I hear being expressed is that it is not about if our children stumble upon pornography. It's about when they do. 

*****

Every day when that bus rounds the corner out of the neighborhood with a big chunk of my whole world on it, I know it's already begun. She is discovering, whether she is conscious of it or not, that the outside world is different than our home. The things we value here are a little different than what is valued out there. The way we talk to each other here is a little different than the way people talk to each other out there. This is kindergarten. I know the gap's just going to widen with every passing year.

It's not all bad. I hope we have prepared her well to develop and thrive in the world outside our home. But I hope and pray that the things she learns here will guide her decisions and behavior out there. And that no matter where she goes, she associates home with love, joy and safety and the place she belongs. 

Hearing those statistics about the age 11 the other day, I couldn't shake the thought that it wasn't too early to discuss these things with little girl. The fact that she is proficient at navigating our laptop and any tablet or smart phone she can get her hands on sealed the deal.

God does not leave us alone to deal with matters such as these. I told Heavenly Father that afternoon when I decided to do it, "I'm not quite sure how to approach this with little girl, but I am sure it's important."

As I went about my day, one word flashed largely in my mind.

POISON.

And I knew exactly where to go with it.

  *****

This is how Daddy and I tried to explain it to little girl the other night.

Remember the time you stepped in that lawn that had been sprayed?

And you were worried it was poison?

What is it that is so scary about poison?

How did it feel? It was really scary for you, wasn't it?

And where did you go? You ran home, didn't you? And we washed it off together?

How did you feel after we washed it off?

So our bodies are the part of us that walk and talk and breathe. Do you know what our spirit is? It's who we are on the inside. It's our feelings about Heavenly Father. It's how we feel about ourselves and the way we treat other people.

Did you know that while there are things that are poison to our bodies, there are also things that are poison to our spirits?

Want to know what one kind of poison to our spirit is?

And we went on to discuss the kinds of pictures that are not hard to find all over the internet and how the people in them may (or may not) be dressed. When people continue viewing pictures like this day after day, they lose the ability to feel close to Heavenly Father, to make good choices, and to feel close to other people. They often feel very bad inside because it makes their spirit sick.

You will probably come upon pictures like this by accident, like when you accidentally ran through that lawn. If you do, leave what you're doing, and come tell Dad or me like you did with the spray in the lawn. And we will talk about it, and that will be just like washing the poison off your feet. You'll be on your way, nothing more to worry about, in no time.

We figured that was enough for one night.

*****

I am recognizing there is another quality I want my home to possess. I want it to be the place my children come when they encounter this or any other brush with poison to the soul. Come home and talk no matter how mild or serious your brush with it has been. Don't feel like you need to keep it a secret or hide it or manage it on your own. Don't stay away. That little voice that's telling you it's hopeless or it's too late? Yeah. I've dealt with him too. And he's lying.
I am finding that it would be dangerous to assume that these things will not happen in my home or to my children. As unsettling as that thought is, I know I am not alone. Though I know the world outside will influence them, I pray that even more so, they will, through their goodness, influence the world. 



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