The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Family

April 24, 2006

4-23 Apparently So parenting column by Craig Harris

Palestine — Are your children growing straight and strong, or crooked and bent? Do they bow to the winds of the popular culture, or are you instilling values in them that will enable them to stand strong and proud?

Does their moral compass point toward Hollywood or true north?

My friend Lorri Allen sent me her monthly e-newsletter this week, "The Good News Newsletter"; you can sign up for it at lorri.com. In this month’s article, she writes about the mesquite tree. She says some mesquite trees in South Texas actually grow horizontally because of the constant desert winds. The environment is harsh and they bow to the pressure exerted on them every day. Lorri writes: "Like the mesquite, we are shaped by the constant winds of our culture — the books we read, the TV programs we watch and the friends with whom we spend time. Are we twisted to meet others’ approval, swayed by any influence or trend that comes along?"

So, what external pressures are shaping your children? None of us lives in a cultural vacuum and we all are influenced by the world around us, but I think it is up to us to filter the world around our children. It is not only our right, but our responsibility to keep up with the cultural and media influences on them. They do not have to rent every DVD that comes out, see every movie on the big screen, no matter what their friends say, or watch every TV show on the idiot box. Parents, we must learn the word no when it comes to this.

TV programs are designed to entertain buyers of advertised merchandise, not teach our children the best possible behavior choices. We must understand this and teach it to our children. If we are counting on the culture to shape our children, we shouldn’t be surprised when they grow crooked and distorted. They will make bad choices, one after another, all of their lives if we don’t teach them right from wrong.

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