The Ship Only Sinks When the Ocean Gets Inside
One of my author friends is writing a historical novel about a ship loaded with gold that went down in a hurricane off of the U.S. Carolinas in 1857. Her great grandfather was one of the lucky survivors (most of the crew and passengers perished). It’s an amazing story and illustrates the dangers involved in ocean travel.
But here’s an important truth.
As long as a ship stays floating on the ocean, her passengers and cargo are safe. The ship only sinks when the ocean gets inside!
Our kids are like ships floating on a sea of sexualized media. As long as the inappropriate media stays outside (or is thrown outside), our kids’ brains will be safe from the lies and addicting nature of pornography.
How do kids keep the ocean of pornography from sinking their ship?
Here are three important habits to learn and practice:
1. Report the leaks.
If you see something, say something. This was the motto posted all over New York City after 9/11. The same works for pornography. Teach your kids (and remind them often) to come and tell you when they see something that they feel is pornographic. Being open enough to tell someone reduces the shame factor and pornography’s seductive power.
Jill C. Manning, PhD, author of What’s the Big Deal about Pornography?, reports that she tells her husband immediately if she is exposed to anything pornographic. Parents can model this same behavior so children will feel safe doing the same thing. (“Honey, I saw something pornographic today—it was in the app store. I have no idea why they used that cover! I’ve been working at getting the image out of my mind all day.”)
2. Seal up the cracks.
Minor holes in the hull of a ship need to be repaired before they let the ocean water burst inside. Are there cracks in your family’s media plan? Review the TV shows, music or movies you and your kids watch or listen to at home. (Or that they’ve been exposed to someone else’s home.)
Get all hands on a deck for a Family Media Night and work as a family to seal up those cracks by reinforcing your family’s media standards. (Check out the Family Media Standards section of this blog post.)
3. When a rogue wave washes over your ship, start bailing!
Sometimes exposure to pornography hits us unexpectedly. Don’t let porn stay in your ship—use CAN DO Plan™ from our read aloud book Good Pictures Bad Pictures to bail it out.
Specifically, distract yourself every time those images, song lyrics, or scenes come back into your brain. Divert your thoughts to something else that is positive and exciting. Or go and do something physical that requires mental effort to sustain.
Practice this over and over (like bailing out a boat!) and soon the image will fade. It works because you create a new neural pathway that leads away from that pornographic memory.
Simple habits? Yes!
But powerful when applied. Teach your kids to keep porn out of their brains just like sailors need to keep water out of their boats.
It may even be fun to make some paper boats and demonstrate how they can sink if too much water gets in. (Here’s a helpful YouTube video that shows exactly how to fold an origami ship, and here are printed instructions.)
If you know someone who would benefit from this article, please share it!
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