"He was Charles, I was Laura."
It's the first line of an essay that I've been thinking about writing for years...
It's the first line of an essay about my relationship with my father, particularly during my turbulently (on my behalf!) pre-teen and early teen years when he had, what I considered, a silly preoccupation with Little House on the Prairie episodes and the portrayed family life.
"He thinks we should all live like those people Little House on the Prairie"....I would rant in my head. "How RIDICULOUS is that? Things aren't like that anymore....He's dreaming!"
The fact of the matter is that he was dreaming...shouldn't he have?
The fact of the matter is that people don't live like that anymore...don't we all sometimes wish that we did ...even if it is just in some part of our lives or for a moment?
The fact of the matter is that now that I have my own children I completely empathize with the dreams of my father for his family. Dreams of a simpler life. Dreams of a more moral life. Dreams of a life without the constant and often ugly outside influences of our media saturated culture. Dreams partially inspired by his own not so great upbringing and a deep wanting for his children to have it differently.
Thanks for having dreams Dad... I get it now.
I was watching another movie with Ava last night and this morning...She and I had so much fun watching Ramona and Beezus together that while Scott was out last night with Ella, Ava and I went to the library to see what other movie we could find and, in her words, "watch with popcorn, and juice, and blankets and turn out all the lights." ...It's one of her favorite things to do.
We ended up with the movie Ella Enchanted.
Now, I read a young adult book along the same lines quite some time ago and it was perfectly innocent and sweet.
I also looked at the cover and thought..."hmm...looks perfectly innocent and sweet."
Not so much.
It was FULL of all sorts of stuff that my daughter should not have been watching. It was FULL of all sorts of stuff that are the sort of things that create young girls in our society who are boy crazy, with low self-esteem which leads them to want to wear midriff baring clothing and treat people in not very nice ways to get the attention of boys.
I feel like I learned a very big lesson in the last 24 hours...
I'm embarrassed to say that while I did think that some of it was inappropriate I let her continue watching the first 40 minutes of it last night...it wasn't that bad.
But then she asked to watch the rest of it this morning. Well, once miss Ella Enchanted begins to fall in love with Mr. Charming Fancy Pants, things start to get weird. Nothing major, just a lot of little things...and little moments of boys and girls falling in love. Not what my 3 year old needs to be watching!
At one point Ava said to me..."mommy, they love each other...She keeps smiling at him..."
ICK. It's SOO not as over her head as I thought it was!
And then there were, as I said, the midriff baring prancing fairies, and some not so nice words and references to Ella Enchanted's fairy godmother being intoxicated!
Anyway, I fast forwarded through most of the scenes to the end of the movie. I should have just shut it off...but I figured we could fast-forward to the very evident wedding coming at the end.
In the future, I will have to shut things off. I'm embarrassed to say I took the easier way out this morning.
I also learned a major lesson: everything geared towards "kids" is not very "kid-like" (aka: innocent!), that there are a WHOLE lot of cultural influences coming my daughter's way that I need to start guarding her heart against. That I need to be the gatekeeper of what she sees and does not see and that it is a role not to be taken lightly. That I should check the back of the movie to see what the rating is (PG in this case) before I bring it home and find myself disgusted.
The whole thing even has me thinking about some of the Disney movies...if the point isn't for said princess to fall in love (Why does that ALWAYS have to be the point...no wonder I grew up wanting to find love in all the wrong places for a long time!), then they are wearing midriff baring clothes (Ava told me last week that she wanted to wear 'purple boobie shells like Ariel!), or there are components of the movie that include incredibly dark characters practicing evil types of witchcraft and sorcery (like The Princess and the Frog...a movie in which I do like the main character's strong personality and motives, but there is this whole component of voodoo throughout).
Oh Dad...Can we all just go live in a commune out in the midwest somewhere and recreate Little House on the Prairie?
I'm partially kidding...but I'm sure you catch my drift.
Today I'm very thankful for a God who does guard our hearts if we focus on His words. For a God whose principles permeate my marriage, and whose principles need to permeate our family more often. For a God, Ava's heavenly father, who created her to be beautiful and strong and bold in ways that are not always the ways suggested by the world. For a God who convicts my heart when I see something that I need to guard my daughter against. For a God, who over and over in the Bible says that wisdom is one of the greatest gifts and who gives it to us when we ask.
Please God help me to be a good mom.
Thank you God that you are there to guide me on this journey.
I'm heading out to buy some Little House on the Prairie DVD's, want me to pick up some extras for you?!