It takes faith to fight the war on innocence
“Childhood is a privilege,” states a government childhood education committee in the 2017 movie The Child in Time. That doesn’t ring true to Stephen (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose daughter has been abducted. The movie goes on to explore the theme of childhood-related loss: loss of a daughter, the loss of a man who was never allowed to have a real childhood and, ultimately, the loss of all children in a society with repressive rules.
The Child in Time is set in England and based on a novel written in 1987. Quite a lot has changed since then. “Repressive rules” have been replaced almost globally by a child-centric approach that involves affirming any feelings and opinions a child may have, in many cases to the exclusion of the parents.
Ironically, however, the loss of childhood in our world has surpassed what is portrayed in the movie, and this is accelerating at a dizzying pace. Children are exposed to an enormous number of mature topics, with those of a sexual nature topping the list. Society seems unconcerned about shielding children from violence or extremely negative topics.
Knowing children, ‘moronic’ parents
At the same time, another cultural trend encourages individuals to fight back and speak up when something offends them. At first, this may seem a good thing, and it would be – if all parties agreed to have open, honest dialogue. Unfortunately, in most cases, the pattern has become one in which an offended party calls out an offence, makes a big fuss, and then expects only accolades in return. The offender is presumed guilty.
In short, part of society is pushing early sexual awareness fused with closed-minded self-righteousness.
Kids soak up this attitude of being easily offended. Concrete examples abound. My oldest is 21. We noticed when she first started to watch TV that virtually every parent in cartoons or shows was moronic. If a parent-child relationship was mentioned, it was mostly as a source of conflict.
And that’s nothing compared to what producers and content creators are foisting onto our kids now.
Don’t trust the ratings. We watched two shows lately that were rated 7+. We used to feel pretty secure with this rating when sitting down with our 11- and 14-year-olds. But our latest selection featured blatant adultery (multiple times), a woman changing in front of two men, more swearwords than you can count, as well as crude and sexualised language and ideas. Then there are the ads, such as the gum commercial featuring two young girls violently kissing.
New children’s books don’t even bother to hide their ideologies, that it’s possible to be a boy even if you are treated as a girl, and vice versa; or celebrate changing your pronouns and maybe identifying yourself by a mental disorder. Even the classics are not immune. A Little Women graphic novel at our local library has heroine Jo coming out as a lesbian.
Assault on innocence
Why all this targeting of children? In her book Awake, Not Woke, Noelle Mering states that “innocence is dominance”. Blatant sexuality makes children uncomfortable. A grown man dancing seductively in a bikini might make a little child giggle or look away. The discomfort arising from innocence points to the fact that there is something abnormal about this way of acting.
Therefore, Mering states, activists are working hard to rob children of their innocence in order to revolutionise the culture in a sexually transgressive way. Hence the sexually explicit books in school, the drag queen story hours, and, in our own city this summer, a camp led by Vancouver drag artists where boys and girls as young as seven can let their “alter ego hit the stage.”
Both Mering and Jordan Peterson have described parents who allow their children to be exposed to auto-gynophilic males as having Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a mental disorder on the part of a caregiver who projects illness (or in this case a condition such as transgenderism) onto their child. The narcissistic caregivers do this, says Peterson, as a display of their moral virtues. This syndrome can appear in any adult who is in charge of children or who makes policies and decisions that affect children.
What’s a parent to do?
The answer is obvious: what parents do best. We protect and guide and love our children. We have to be aware of what is going on in our schools, daycares, and summer camps. (A family member came across a bike camp where young cyclists were taught about pronouns). We have to have courage and speak out when things are not right. We need to cancel TV channels as well as monitor and limit computer time and book selection.
We need to talk to each of our children, explaining the errors around them in an age-appropriate manner so that they will know the truth and come to us when they encounter false ideas. We need to teach them to turn off the TV or computer when something questionable occurs. We need to provide good websites containing book and movie reviews so that they can do their own research. We need to be there for them to talk to at all times.
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We parents want so badly for our children to be happy and to flourish. We, especially moms, agonise over situations or ideas that might cause harm to our children. We protect them from physical harm the best we can. But mental harm is much harder to shield them from and, in many ways, more of a worry. If we had the opportunity to give our children some sort of medicine that would protect them from predators or from dangerous ideas that would cause mental harm, wouldn’t each of us do it?
Arm yourself, and them, with faith
For myself, the “medicine” comes from the resources of my religious faith (I’m Catholic) which provides the clear sense of identity, beliefs and moral convictions that give meaning and purpose to a person’s life. My identity is that of being a child of God – God who made everything, from the universe to me, to the angler fish my son loves. He made me for love, goodness and happiness. If this is so, then what worries could I possibly have? Even in the hardest of times, the means (grace) to live up to this vision are always available to me.
Frankly, I think that nothing else is up to the job of equipping my children – and myself – for today’s ideological challenges.
Even from a non-religious point of view, there is plenty of evidence in support of this proposition. Despite recent scandals and bad press for religion, a 2022 study by W. Bradford Wilcox and Riley Peterson confirmed much previous research showing that religiously devout people are happier, more involved in society and less depressed than their non-religious counterparts. This study, based on the Baylor Religion Survey, showed that, as adults, survey respondents had more meaning in their lives.
These are practical and very tangible benefits to living a life with religious beliefs. What is more, the Baylor data showed that these benefits increased with weekly church attendance. This, Wilcox and Peterson suppose, is due not only to greater community involvement, but is explained primarily by a personal commitment to their religious beliefs.
What drew me to the faith was, actually, something not very religious. I was looking for common sense. I found this in the teachings of the church and in the people I met who truly followed those teachings. Every time I had a doubt or query, I would dig into what the church taught and was always amazed at the overwhelming logic.
Turning over in my mind all the insane notions being promoted as truth, I keep returning to the idea that the solution is actually a very simple one. We can undo the knots of our over-complicated world by turning to what is simple, to God, who made us and who is purely truth and love. If we are sincere, our children will follow.
Facing a war against innocence, what’s a parent to do?
For those who have a faith, it is time to know and live it more seriously. For those who don’t, why not try it?
An earlier version of this article was published in the B.C. Catholic.
Ida Gazzola is the mother of six girls and one boy. She writes from Burnaby in British Columbia, Canada.
Image credit: Pexels
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