I have 2 girls who I hope never experience sexual assault. I pray that they are surrounded throughout their lives with real men who will value them for their person, not their body. And I pray they will never falsely smear another person's name through the mud for political gain or revenge.
I also have 2 boys who I hope will never be rightly or falsely charged with assaulting someone else. I pray they will be wise with their actions and thoughts, and that they will value women and not view them as sex objects. I pray they will never have their lives ripped apart because of their own stupid actions or because of the manipulations of a liar.
It's hard to be a mom in 2018. And my oldest is only 10 years old. We haven't hit puberty yet, and I am totally not interested in discussing Kavanaugh with my kids. It's not because I don't care, it's not because I think they would never be in a similar situation (as either Kavanaugh or his accusers, and either as guilty or innocent). It's because instruction needs to be age-appropriate.
Yelling in a tv or laptop screen that someone is a liar or that such-and-such political party is corrupt or that all of this is for political gain or that we should ignore due process of law and accept a sketchy testimony. . . none of that teaches someone under 11 years old a whole lot except that Mommy is angry (and believe me, I'm angry about a lot of aspects of our current political system) and jumps to conclusions. So I don't.
But what CAN we do? What can young moms do for our kids and for future generations, when we have nastiness in the world? What can we teach our kids today, tomorrow, and the next day, to help prevent another Kavanaugh disaster?
- Teach them to respect others. Teach them proper touch and don't shame them if they respond strongly to someone touching them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach them boundaries of touch, modesty, and listening to the feelings of others.
- Read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Talk about the importance of telling the truth, what a handful of lies can do to your believability, and model truthfulness to them. Do you stretch the truth to them? They will learn to stretch the truth to you and others.
- Talk about being falsely accused and what that feels like. Role play with them and you be the accused. Respond in various ways, either humbly, defensively, pathetically, angrily. Ask them which responses make your testimony of innocence look more believable.
- Talk about what it feels like when you are telling the truth and you aren't believed. How does that make you feel?
- Teach them not to name call. Humans are created in the image of God. Treat them like it. Treat them like it even if they are acting like trash. Challenge them, engage them, accuse them through proper channels. But don't be passive aggressive, don't shut down communication prematurely.
- Teach them the dangers of narcissism. Teach them they are not always right. Teach them to view a situation through another person's eyes. Are they defending what they did (or didn't do) to a sibling? Ask them if they would feel the same if they were in their sibling's place.
- Teach them to address the issue, not their own anger. And if you ask them a direct question about a situation, teach them that you expect a direct answer, not a rabbit trail. You are their first courtroom.
- Teach them to choose friends wisely. I'm talking here about close friends that you hang out with a lot. Open a conversation about peer pressure and "what would you do?" scenarios if others are doing things they know are wrong. Give examples at their level of times you made the right or wrong choice. Be honest with them.
- Teach them not to hold grudges. Don't judge a person because of his past. Teach them forgiveness. Model it. Don't bring up their past offenses to them constantly. Be wise in discerning someone else's character, but don't assume that the person they once were is the person they now are.
- Teach them that mumbling "I'm sorry" in a surly tone isn't repentance. Explain to them the difference between a lame apology or an excuse for their actions, v. genuine repentance. If your words don't match your actions, it shows.
- Teach them that this world is not their home. Teach them to pray for our Lord to come quickly. And for us to be faithful workers in His kingdom until that day.
- Teach them that there is forgiveness in Christ. Always. That means that there is forgiveness every time you as a parent fail to model all of these bullet points to your children. Every time you don't respond in forgiveness. Every time you don't model a cool, calm, and collected manner of assessing a situation. Every time you aren't completely honest with your kids. You will fail, I will fail. Let them see our humility, our picking ourselves up and practicing what we preach. Let them hear our reminders to them and us that our model is Christ, not any mere human.
Don't give up. Don't cop out. Don't check out. Don't flee. Stay and engage and train our future. But pray for the day when the glory of the Lord will fill this earth and there will be no more political posturing or political parties. Amen to that.