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Advice from a Parent
by Elizabeth Hale
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In another article I wrote, I talked about a song by the rapper Eminem. I would just like to explain why I wrote this piece.

I love my kids. We all love our kids. But they do not belong to us. They belong to God. We live in such a different culture from the one I grew up in. It amazes me. I thought I had seen the worst depravity imaginable. Look at the depravity that surround us now. Think about how it will be in ten, or twenty years.

This is a different world we live in. Our children live in it. If something interests them, I want to know about it, I want to experience it with them. Then, if I say no to my child, I at least can say the specific reasons for it. Some things are obvious. They're just wrong and everyone already knows it, even the kids. Other things, however, are a bit shadier, a bit harder to get a true handle on.

I don't advise rap music. I've heard it. The music itself is very entertaining, at least until the rapper opens his mouth. I listen to what they are saying beneath all the garbage. Yes, even in this, there is truth. And unfortunately, still garbage. So, in my other article, I was not suggesting that people make a beeline straight to the local music store and buy it. I DO NOT recommend this music.

But,I cannot shelter my children from everything. I don't want to. No matter how hard I try, they will be out in this world one day without me. I have to help them to be able to discern the things in this world. One of mine has already flown the coop. Try all you want, if your children are inclined to do something, they are going to. One way or another. No matter how often you have them in church, or whether you have put them into Christian schools, or whatever, if they really want to, they will. In spite of you.

I remember my parents hating some of the music I listened to when I was young, like Alice Cooper. Look at Alice now! These days, that music is 'classic'. Remember the uproar over the Beatles? Some of it, as I recall, they brought upon themselves. They got 'too big for their britches' as my grandfather used to say. Still, who among us doesn't enjoy a good Beatle song?
My whole family listens to the Beatles,even my grandparents listened when they were alive. My brother Greg loved them, and has quite an extensive collection of Beatle memorabilia, and got his passion for playing drums from Ringo.

I want to share my children's lives. I want to know what they read, what they are listening to, who their friends are.

My son Dusty and I can get very deeply into these examinations of things and people. I wouldn't give it up for anything, even if I am 'forced' to hear things I don't like. At least I am knowledgeable enough about these debateable things to state my position from an angle of authority. I hear what Dusty is hearing, therefore I can clarify my point and what the problem may be with a specific song. Or book. Or person.

He listens to me because I listen to him. He knows he can tell me anything. And he has told me some things I could never imagine myself telling my parents at his age. He and a friend went to a store nearby and he saw his friend stealing, for example. I asked him what he did.
He said he waited until they were out of the store and then he confronted his friend. Told him it was wrong. My son goes to a small Christian school. He isn't afraid to speak the truth. With anyone. He tried to talk his friend into taking the stuff back, offered to go with him. No luck. If I told my parents a story like this when I was young, I would have been forbidden to even speak to my friend ever again. I believe my son is going to encounter all kinds of people in his life, and I want him to know what to do, I want him to choose which way he will go, regardless of what his friends are doing.

Two days later, this same friend wanted to walk back to the store with my son. Dusty told him no, he wasn't going. He didn't want to be there if his friend got caught.

This was last year. Last week, Dusty came in and said he finally went to a store with this friend, and watched as he paid for his stuff. He said, "Mom, he didn't steal anything! I was kind of worried he would, but he said he stopped doing it because it was stupid!"

He invited this same friend to church.

The friend said, "I can't go to church. They don't want my kind of people there".

Dusty said, "What does that mean?"

"People who like to fight a lot."

"Oh," Dusty said. "I think they want all kinds of people there. Come anyway."

He hasn't, yet. He'll eventually get worn down by my son. Dusty likes to evangelize around the neighborhood, as well as get into a lot of trouble sometimes.

My point is, be involved with your children. Suffer through their music for them. Pay attention to the small things, and use them to help prepare your children for the bigger things that await them. If you can get close and stay close when they are young, they won't drift too far off as they grow.

I don't think my son will ever forget some of the things he learned from his mother on a six hour trip to Nags Head, listening to Nelly and Eminem on an alternating cycle THE WHOLE TIME! Yeesh!!!

Thankfully, his musical tastes have changed a lot.

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