Sand in my sheets.

I've reworked this post in my head a million times.  I'm not sure it is necessary to share, but somehow, recording my thoughts tends to enforce my opinions, or justify my actions, or allow me a good forum to write "someday letters" to my kids.  This is one of those times.  There are no pictures, so it's probably on the boring side too.  Read on if you'd like, or simply check back another time.  :)

During the warm weather months, and especially since we have installed wood floors, the sand from the sandbox tends to filter in, get stuck on feet and make it into the bedsheets!  It doesn't make for very comfortable sleeping conditions.  I brush my feet off, sweep the floors, swipe off the sheets, but still, little people crawl into my bed often and don't tend to do those same things...thus...sand in my sheets!  I'll probably miss it someday.  HA!

The constant sweeping and brushing and swiping got me thinking one day that the sand in my sheets is much like other things in my life.  I don't WANT sand in my sheets, so I work to keep it out, but when I get lazy and climb into bed not taking the time to prevent it, guess what??  I get sand in my sheets, and while I may be able to tolerate a little bit of it, when it builds up it is down-right nasty and I can't lie down comfortably for even a moment.  Kind of weak, I know--the analogy, not the tolerance!  :)

It's been an interesting summer for us.  We often joke about the little bubble that we live in thanks to our church and school safe it seems because the majority of our friends and acquaintances are on the "same page" that we are about things...important things.  It even allows us to become a little naive sometimes about the harsh reality and fast pace of life outside of our bubble.  I'm not trying to imply that anyone who is outside of our "circle of friends" doesn't live like we do.  Not at all.  Just saying that it is simply a little easier to be surrounded by like-minded people. 

It is always hard when someone brings home a colorful word they heard somewhere, or a phrase that is less than respectful that usually comes from Disney or Nickolodean TV shows, or even when they want to do something that so-and-so does that we probably won't approve of due to the violent nature, or when they beg for something that "EVERYONE" else has.  I'm sure we can seem a bit stuffy at times, but for the most part we know that a good number of our friends give their kids the same answers that we do, so we don't get too worked up about it.    We have also been assured from friends that our parenting challenges are pretty similar if not exactly the same as theirs are, so we feel a little more confident, a little more normal, a lot more encouraged. 

As our children grow up, milestones are reached, new phases are entered and new challenges presented.  We're not necessarily on top of that, but certainly have always felt capable of dealing with them, praying that we don't screw it up too much!  This summer has introduced much to us.  We've been reminded how fragile everything is, how quickly things can change, how diligent Satan is, and certainly how much we cherish the protection of our little bubble. 

We often feel like media and society in general make parenting very difficult.  I've thought long and hard about how to sum up what we struggle with most here, and I would have to say that it is definitely something that we are not on the same page as the majority of parents.  We're ok with our children being children and sheltering them from some things until we think they are ready or more ready at least, especially regarding the issues of dating, modesty and respect. 

Dear children,
We know that you desperately would like to have a cell phone, email account, facebook page, PG-13 movies, access to all of the TV channels that come with our subscription.  We know that you'd like to access the internet whenever you'd like without having us unlock it first.  We know you'd really like to have the latest version of some Wii game that is so great, but it is rated "T" for Teen and has warnings on the label regarding violence and disturbing graphics and/or language.  We get it that most of the girls wear bikinis to the pool and that pants are now actually made to show your underwear band.  We don't work to keep these things from you because we're frumpy or controlling. We try to stand firm because while it may make sense that a little won't hurt, we're tuned in to what COULD happen when a little becomes too much and it just seems more prudent to limit or refuse it diligently. 

Despite your idea that we were never children, kids, teenagers, or even young once, we were, and we understand your desires, feelings, and frustrations.  We also now understand a parent's perspective, and it makes all the difference in the world.  Our primary job is to protect you.  ALL of you, not just your physical being, but your soul too.  What parent would offer their child junk food regularly if they knew the negative side effects?  What parent would do that if their child was struggling with weight problems or health problems??  Most of us can say no to frequent Big Macs despite the advertisements that make them seem more wholesome than they really are, and even if it is hard, we can recognize that it isn't a good choice, we just can't muster up the will power to say no.  Unfortuneately, when it comes to other things it doesn't seem that we even recognize negative things anymore.  We're just so conditioned to accept everything. 

We want to offer you every bit of good influence that we possibly can because the world will offer you the negative all too willingly.  We want to provide you with some defense mechanisms.  Unfortunately, what we want for you seems to be very much against the grain of society.  We have kind of learned that it is ok to manipulate situations to ensure that the negative influence is minimal.  Social media says that pretty much anything goes, do what you want, especially if it makes you feel good.  We're ok with not following along.  We're gonna play it safe and not just hope that since everyone is doing it, you'll be just fine.  We're ok with being the wierd parents...and you can blame us if it makes it easier, but our hope is that you'll adopt our train of thought and be confident and comfortable with it.  It is hard to go against the grain...oh, so much easier to just give in.  Virtues aren't formed easily.  While we know that there is no guarantee that you will not faulter and struggle and maybe even get yourself stuck in deep in a bad situation, we must provide you with as much good as we possibly can...situations of potential growth instead of potential temptation. 

We love you, and we will do our best to protect you from harm...body AND we will continue to work on keeping the sand out of the bedsheets, even when it seems impossible, overwhelming, or just plain inconvenient, because we know that while a little may be tolerable, there is more in the sandbox waiting to come in and it can soon become unbearable. 

Your God-appointed guardians