I’m sure you’ve heard the robotic voice that the Emergency Broadcast System uses as they simulate an emergency: “This is only a test.” As of today, it is no longer a test in my book. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to wake up and acknowledge that our world has changed!
My 14 year old daughter calls herself a generalist. Unlike her brother, who picked a sport at age 6 and has stuck with it, her interests are numerous and varied. This means that she’s constantly meeting different types of people and entering new environments. After her first day at a local theatre camp last week, she got in the car and informed me that she had met a girl who considers herself pansexual and asexual. I vaguely remember the term asexual being connected with anemones from high school biology class, but this is altogether different. And Annika had to explain to me what pansexual meant. What has happened in our world that a 16 year old girl would ever entertain those terms… not to mention come to that conclusion?
My focus is not on the subject of sexuality. If you have ever struggled with your sexual identity, or known someone who has, you know that the battle is real. (It’s important to understand that God is for you. We have to trust that His design is best for us. His desire is for you to experience forgiveness and freedom from the struggles you have.) My point for writing, however, is to sound the alarm that these subjects are being discussed and explored among our children. As parents and loved ones shepherding the next generation, we cannot be found unprepared to navigate these dark waters. These topics are hard enough to address among adults, let alone children in their formative years of thinking and development.
If you have grown up in a conservative environment, then you might be shocked by Annika’s experience. If you have children, perhaps you have tried to keep them from places where they would interact with different views. The problem? What was once the exception you could avoid is becoming increasingly more common in our society. Generations of failed relationships and worldly living have left us facing a different culture. The same day Annika met this girl, she was grouped with 9 other rising freshman. Among the group were an outspoken atheist and a young man who dresses as a drag queen once a month. These are real young men and women who the Lord created and loves, who have been introduced to ideas that were barely known, nor ever uttered, a generation ago.
So what is the answer? As believers, do we huddle up and shield our children from all of the moral decay? Do we put our kids out there to be light in a very dark world? How do we engage the culture? How do we manage the tension of our responsibility as parents and believers? Without a doubt, it is a tension to be managed and not a problem to be solved, as my husband often says.
One thing is for certain: Putting our head in the sand is not an option. If you think that you are preparing your children or grandchildren so that they will not be found defenseless when evil pervades our land, then you must realize the enemy has already started his work. We must realize that the whistle has blown. The game has started. The danger is now and real.
Check back on Thursday for one of the most important things you must do to provide those you love with a fighting chance to choose a path of protection and peace.