What is it about precious, innocent children that make you want to sing Christmas songs of joy? They just bring out the giggles and wonder in me. I know, I know sometimes they are impossible. But often there is humor in those scenarios. And when there isn’t, there are opportunities to grow in patience and extra love. I feel like there is no big downside to children. It’s like having messy angels in your life, right?! :D
Recently, one of these grandchildren popped over. This wasn’t hard. Ten of the eleven of them live close by, and five are in our neighborhood. We are a metaphorical hotel lobby and these “guests” (kids and grandkids) are checking in and out of our living, family rooms, and kitchen on the near daily.
We like to read books together, and on this day, this little grandchild and I read “I Can Feel It in My Heart.” You can learn more about this book in previous posts, but basically, I wrote it to help little children know what to do, should they encounter “digital dangers.” By this, I mean running across inappropriate media. This includes, but is not limited to, pornography.
I know-How could a child possibly see pornography? This is what I thought too, until one of our children told us about someone who was seven years old, being brought up in a loving Christian home, who was accidentally introduced to pornography. Curious and scared at the same time, this experience set this person up for a soul-torturing addiction years later. “I’m not sure how I am going to break this,” this child told our child. This young person was emotionally crushed by the weight of it. Addictions can be overcome, but they can feel like monsters.
Think of how those monsters could reach a small child…an older teen in the neighborhood with a phone? Someone on the school bus? Bumping into something on a computer?
The true story broke my heart and made me think. I knew there were thousands of teens struggling with pornography problems and addictions. This issue is apparently the number one issue that teens seek out counsel for, from their bishops and pastors.
I thought, “We have to reach these children before they are teens. We have to teach them early in their lives. We have to normalize talking gently and respectfully about digital dangers. We have to warn them that monsters really are out there, but that they can know what to do if they run into them.”
Then I had the idea (thanks, heaven) to write this book. It focuses on this issue in a gentle, respectful way. It focuses especially, on our Savior, Jesus Christ. The book is filled with warm loving illustrations of the Savior. Should they run into danger, the book teaches them to pray and to rely on the Savior, who loves them more than anything, and to be brave enough to tell safe people what happened.
I think our very young little grandchild didn’t fully understand the little book, which is good, but it planted a “safety” seed, which is also good. The book’s message will be helpful one coming day, in this oft darker world than many of us ever knew.
In the meantime, after we were done reading it a few times (children love book repetition, don’t they?) this child asked to take it home.
Clutching the book warmly, this child looked at me with impossibly big and angelically innocent eyes and said “I would really like to take it home, please. Can I take it home Nana? It gives me a good feeling.”
Me too, sweetie, me too. And it’s not because I am some F. Scott Fitzgerald-level author. It’s because the Savior and His love are on every page. It was inspired by Him.
It gives children comfort and the confidence they need to face potential monsters… and win.