Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To Hell in a Hand. . . . held device?

Yesterday with a remote in my hand, I was surfing channels on a TV with cable. (My wife & I find no need for cable in our home, luckily I can get Catholic media from my Local Radio Station) Thumbing through, I stumbled on to an all news station promoting the release of the new iPhone. I'm all for technology and advancements, but part of me shrieks at the sight of this thing. I was struck with the reality of what the devil can do with this latest intrusion in to an already media saturated culture.

Recently, my local Bishop, the good Bishop Finn, released a Pastoral letter on Pornography. And a lot is going on here in the metro Kansas City area , through the leadership of NCPCF, to hold the S.O.B.'s (Sexually Oriented Businesses) accountable for the laws they are breaking, by the obscenity they are promoting and profiting from. With these movements on my mind, I have had several other encounters that inspired me to post on this topic. Two encounters in particular I'll mention here. 1. Fr. Wehner's Weekly Men's Mass prep Podcast for this coming Sunday put out by NFCM (please take the time to listen) makes a timely challenge to us Catholic men to get real with the temptations in our lives. 2. A conversation with a friend and co-worker about a new video release, Breach, which I have not seen but have caught bits of publicity & discussions about it enough to be familiar with the plot and characters. The FBI agent, main character, is a "devout convert Catholic", Opus Dei member & daily communicate that happens to also have a sexual fetish for strippers. My discussion with my friend debated the question of was his public Catholic life just a cover for his being a double agent for Russia, or did he truly believe all that the Church teaches while living in slavery to his sin of impurity? My friend couldn't get it that the later could be true, and I left him with my hope, and prayers that he never gets it.

So my reason for writing is not to comment or condemn the sexual saturation of our culture (which would be time well spent), but instead to delve into the ways to deal with it. My oldest son is turning 9 in a few weeks. If my memory time line serves me, this is the age that I was first exposed to pornography as a child. This of course was the early 1980's and Al gore hadn't invented the Internet yet. And my neighbor, with the only Apple 2e on the block, with its lone blinking cursor, was little threat to my young innocence. The culperit instead, was a heavily creased Club Magazine, hidden in our unfinished basement left there by an older brother that introduced me to this depraved world of modern slavery. I, being the youngest of 3 brothers, learned lots of things too young to fully understand them.

How were you exposed, and how old were you when the porn-demons attacked your world? Or how did you avoid it? How do we shepherd the flock of our domestic Church's? How do we train up our boys to be pure? What can we do to develop self mastery in little bits, instead of the Big Falls, experienced by those living through spiraling rock bottom conversions as adults?

These are things I think about as a Catholic Dad. Do you?


Matthew S said...

I would say, start with a firewall, I use copplus, a stand alone linux box, Steve wood has a few good tapes on how to deal with your child. The big thing is to make sure that you have open lines of communication with your son. Also, how does your son see you treat/look/objectify women? Maybe you could take him to the grocery store and get into the habit of praying for all the people you see as you walk down the aisles. Lastly, I would get rid of the TV, except for some classic movies and a DVD player. We have done this, in fact ours is in a closet in the basement not hooked up most of the time and it has been a blessing to us.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

the-rooster said...

I think it is crucial to educate them in the faith early and also to be a good role model of how a pure catholic man should act toward women. My first exposure was before the age of 10 too, and that was before the internet, so I can imagine how hard it must be these days. Computer filters are good, abandoning the TV is good, and I feel lucky because my wife is going to homeschool our children (with my help) so there will be less bad influence from kids his own age who have been exposed and want to share that with others. At least, I have faith that the other homeschooling Catholic parents are doing the same. Thanks for talking about this topic! It needs to be brought up more in the church and our community as much as possible!

bethalice said...

My son just turned 14. I am proud to say he is the "modesty police" in our home. He will, on his own accord, turn his head if a woman pops up on the TV, who is in the least bit immodest (by traditional standards, not just modern standards.) He will do the same in public. How did this happen? By the grace of God. Our Lord showed me the way. First of all I live it, by dressing modestly at all times, and making sure my children do too. I also control what comes into the house, which includes no cable TV, and being very picky about DVDs and reading material (sticking mostly to the "old stuff"). I also homeschool them. We do live in the real world, so I have also had conversations about what to do when faced with immodesty or immoral behavior. This had made him unpopular with some boys his age, but he likes it that way - he says he doesn't want to hang out with boys who don't show girls proper respect. Some of my family (not Catholic) think he is immature because he doesn't ogle girls. I tell them it takes real maturity to show respect to girls. My other child, a girl, has a strong sense of modesty too. She refuses to wear anything above the knee, and only crew neck shirts with sleeves. She is also unpopular with some girls her age, because she does not talk about boys, she doesn't care about fashion, and she doesn't know any of the "top 40" songs. By "today's standards" she may seem immature, but I say she is acting her age! As a single mom, it has not been always easy, and when I am at the end of my rope, Our Lord pulls me up. It is important that we, as parents, live it, not just say it. "Do as I say, and not as I do" does not go very far.