Thursday, April 15, 2010

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.
~Elbert Hubbard

I have been thinking a lot recently about being brainwashed. I mean seriously, have you considered how easy it is to be brainwashed in this media crazed world we live in? Several years ago I stopped listening to rap music. I know… the thought of me listening to rap music is odd; odder still is the thought of me dancing to it in my car. I had moves… moves that George describes as seizure-like! I gave it up… but I do miss ‘the moves’.

Why did I give up rap music? Well, as you can imagine, the lyrics are really bad. The music is good (to me), but the message is B-A-D! I was at a point in my life where my convictions were being challenged greatly on a daily basis and the message I was getting on my 45 minute commute to & from work was not reinforcing my values. In fact, the message was making me ‘long’ to straddle the fence just enough to feel like a normal person; live my 20’s with gusto! What I knew in my heart never changed though and I eventually realized either the music had to go or my values did because the fact of the matter was ‘Ludicris’ was brainwashing me… and I was letting him.

You may have missed the big news, but I am a mama now. Crazy, isn’t it? It was a shock to me as well… a BIG shock! I try to be very purposeful in raising Andrew. I try to keep focused on the big picture… the man he becomes. I want him to realize and receive all the things the Lord has planned for his life. I would love to be the mother of the next Billy Graham. Maybe he will be musically inclined and win a DOVE award? Or maybe he will be a software developer and teach Sunday school or just be a greeter for the morning service? I don’t know what the Lord has for his life, but he has something and I want him to seek it out.

So, how do I guide him in his journey? Well, for starters we go to church – Sunday School too. We listen to children’s church songs on the car, watch Veggie Tales, say the blessing before dinner and say a prayer before bed. He has come to expect these things and can even say the prayer with me at night (although rather unclear) and don’t even get me started on the way he holds my hand, bows his head and says ‘Amen’ at dinner. Have you any idea how hard it is not to consume that child!

Most of you would say this makes me a good parent and for the most part I would agree – at least I try to be a good parent. But, what would you say of the Muslim family across the street that uses every opportunity to instill Muslim values into the lives of their Children? You would probably wouldn’t rush to call them good parents; although if pressed you may have a hard time putting your reasons into words.

I have heard it said many times and have actually said it myself – these children are brainwashed. We have no problem believing that children raised in homes that preach values drastically different from our own are brainwashed. So, doesn’t that mean that I am brainwashing Andrew? Wow, that’s a very hard thought. It came to me about a month ago and caused me to sit and really think about it.

I’m a Christian… I know what believe and more importantly, I know why I believe it. I have always known the ‘what’… always. I have known the ‘what’ because my parents and people near & dear to me told me the ‘what’ over and over and over again. But, the ‘what’ doesn’t get you very far in life, does it?

I am firm believer that you cannot truly believe something until you have questioned it. I cannot simply take what I have been taught my entire life and assume that in this world full of trials and temptations, those ’whats’ would prevail without a ‘why’! I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in silence with a piece of my faith, a conviction, a truth and questioned whether it was ‘The Truth’ or just ‘good teaching’. The key to questioning what you believe is having an open heart for the answer. This is how you get to the ‘Why’!

So, as I sat in silence asking whether I am being a good parent or whether I am brainwashing my child, God revealed my journey to me. It wasn’t long before I knew with assurance that I am not brainwashing Andrew – I am giving him the ‘what’. It is up to him to find the ‘why’.

Do you know what you believe? More importantly, do you know why you believe it?