As a high schooler I so longed to escape the drama and pressures to simply conform to popular culture. I had no desire to participate in underage drinking, running the edge of the law, or disrespecting my parents. I had no real love for the show described as funniest of the times...the Simpson's. Here we see the prototypical popular culture Hollywood wants us to accept: A dunce Dad who worships beer and donuts, the Mom who is good hearted, the girl who always knows best, and the little boy who is a bratty idiot bumbling through life. Any number of shows continue this tradition today.
I thought then being an adult would allow me to just be...me! Then came college and adulthood. That pressure to conform to popular culture just nevers stops. I was watching football one Sunday last year, and noticed the commercials were just a rehash of everything of those years but even worse. Dumb men, women on display, worship of bear and stupid stunts by young boys.
I finally realized the reason I kept being targeted like this was I refused to come inside the "normal" range of tolerance for this behavior. Where most say that this is simply harmless, silliness I could not in good conscience allow my children to see it, before they had the Armor of God to fend off the vices.
So I've been supporting this little boys club at church, called Blue Knights ( www.beholdpublications.com). In fact a friend and I founded the parish club for our boys. Since then the group remained small, not for lack of marketing...simply because it competes with so many other things out there. I pulled my eldest from the last part of two baseball practices last year to attend these meetings...yep we're not the norm. We shut off broadcast TV, and screen what we see on Netflix. Radical? To most yes. However only the beginning of what I must do as a parent.
My wife in her spiritual journey learned the thing we will each be judged on by Christ will be how we did my our children in terms of bringing the faith to them. I learned contemplative faith is a gift of God given to some, but not all. As a result, whatever we do for our children to raise them as children of God requires us to provide each child the unique skills and rules necessary for them to traverse life's turbulent seas.
My Father repeatedly said the same as I grew up, "I love you the same. I just love you differently." As a child I did not understand it as well as I do now. Of course I also wish the English language would use the proper words for types of love more freely. What he said really echoes the bible parable about the workers coming in at different times...or being given different amounts of talents. To each God loved them the same (unconditionally). However God gave of himself to each differently based on the man before him.
Some children will never pass the stage of the Fear of God (doing what is right as to not disappoint God). This is fine, because if they keep the Fear in their hearts, they will always live inside the boundaries of natural law. This takes them towards God's Kingdom with their fellow men. Other's given the contemplative gift, well maybe they will be quiet enough to listen and heed God's word. From that personal message I pray they develop a Love of God, where they make God's ways their own freely without reservation. Either way, as a Father I would be happy to one day have them beside me worshipping God in heaven for all eternity.
Society has no interest in you making it to heaven. The world we see on TV wants you to buy this good, pull the election lever for their candidate, or pull you from others and focus on your personal pleasure. So to each of you out there contemplating the road you will travel with your family, don't be afraid to step outside the norm. Homeschooling, one parent employment, staying up every night working late in charity for your public school child, finding the right worship methods for you, finding the right role models in faith....each journey is custom built for you.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Happy praise God Sunday!
P.S. These photos are what you can do if you turn the norm on its head....Halloween should be looked at for a Christian as the eve before All Souls Day when we praise those of virtuous living! We should pray for our family, friends and selves to be on the same road to heaven!