Jason and I have struggled sometimes as we've seen our kids at such tender ages pushed up against a very concentrated dose of all the wickedness the world has to offer. Pornography, Profanity, Overt Objectification of Women, Atheism to the point that believers are mocked as stupid and ignorant (yep, London had that one- in her classroom), Homosexuality, Drug Use, the Democratic Party (just kidding). But it's all here, and we have occasions to talk about a lot of it frequently, sometimes when I really don't want to.
Last week London and I had a conversation about strip clubs. She saw some posters and asked some questions, and I had to do right by her to answer truthfully (but appropriate to her age and maturity). Tonight McAllister asked some deep questions about homosexuality and same sex marriage. I had to do right by him and answer truthfully, both in teaching him love for everyone, but more importantly in teaching him what I know to be God's commandments and how sacred the family is. London is 8, McAllister is 6! I know if we lived anywhere else these hard grown-up questions wouldn't be coming up, at least right now.
I guess that's hard to take, but then I have to ask myself, would they ever? If we didn't live here, would I ever have this opportunity to be the first person they talk to about all the wrong choices being made in the world? Instead of running to the hills (which I want to do some times), I think today I am grateful and humble to do this job. They're so young still that they don't rely on friends or exterior sources to find the truth. I am their touchstone for what they hear, see or experience in this little corner of New York City. What an incredible privilege. I have promised myself I will gloss over nothing with them, as much as I might cringe at the idea of discussing cigarettes with Daisy or drug abuse with London. Instead I will look at it as an opportunity to testify to them of what I know to be true, what I know to be important, and what they, too, can figure out for themselves. Scary. Hard. Keeps me on my toes.
We had a Family Home Evening Lesson on Fathers tonight, and Jason was out of town. We had our lesson (and McAllister's questions as mentioned previously), then went around the block for ice cream. Nice (but freezing 15-degree) night. When we came home they were listening to the new Primary song while getting their PJ's on, 'The Family is Of God'. While listening to the 3rd verse:
A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,To love and serve in the fam’ly.
I heard London say under her breath, 'That is so true!' I got tears in my eyes and had one of those split-second moments where it all comes together. This is what I'm doing all of this for. If she sees me in all my million weaknesses, but still gets what I'm trying to do in spite of them, and then applies them to herself and her potential, I have been a successful mom. Day in and day out, we butt heads every 10 minutes. She is already convinced she knows much more than I do. But for her to make that reflection meant a lot, especially since it was to herself, not to me.
There is hope. In all of this.