This is a story about grace and mercy.
We’re not really going to talk specifics about porn and twerking. I’m thinking you can find that on Google if you’d like to know more. We are going to talk about the hidden lives and moments that teenagers have. The things they discuss with their friends. And the things they look at on their computers and phones that we as parents have no idea about. And the things that other teens do that indirectly can affect our families.
This happens entirely too often. This happens in families where communication lines are open. This happens in families that are grounded in faith. And even when our kids absolutely know better, there can be a lapse in judgement.
Now before you shake your head, go off, and start to tell me about the values in your household, I need you to listen. Because it’s not just your daughters and sons I’m talking about, it’s mine too. All three of mine to be exact.
And it’s because of one simple thing – curiosity.
Again, calm yourself down so I can explain myself. I am not telling everyone on the internet that you have given birth to a stripper. I am telling the internet world that as parents we are raising a generation of children among influences we can’t control.
And even though our children may not openly subscribe to those influences, they are still exposed, and just like with medical illnesses, with exposure comes the risk of infection. Remember Ebola?
When CJ was in the 5th grade, he couldn’t wait to come home and tell me about the moment he saw a drug deal occur on the school bus. While he recounted every detail, the most exciting thing to him was, “I actually saw crack.”
Imagine the look on his face when I asked him what the crack looked like, and then had to tell him that it wasn’t crack, it was marijuana. And while marijuana is bad (in Texas anyway), it didn’t have the same exotic appeal to him as witnessing the crack deal. Yes, I know. There are several things wrong with this picture.
When Tyra was in 5th grade, two of her classmates were caught smoking marijuana in the school bathroom. From her classroom, she could smell it. And even though the school handled the situation appropriately, there was an overwhelming feeling of, this is just the world we live in today normalcy.
And yes, it’s even happened to Jada, who had to witness a friends she’s had since the 1st grade be picked up from school in handcuffs for guess what, marijuana possession.
Grace and mercy.
In elementary school, one evening at the dinner table, CJ and Tyra mentioned twerking and physical education class in the same sentence. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Twerking?!?! Surely that couldn’t be the same dance that my college students talk about…surely not.
But it was the same dance…and when I asked them if they knew how to do it, they did. “Not because we do it Mom…we’ve just seen the other kids do it.” Right. And to believe that would also lend me to be a good candidate to believe I will find oil in my backyard and strike it rich. I’m just saying.
It now hit me that my children had been exposed, and to a degree infected. Because even if they aren’t twerking in public, the fact they can mention it so casually was a sign of a bigger problem.
Fyi, they really did know how to twerk. I know this because I acted like I didn’t know the dance. And when I attempted to do it (opposite of what it is), they quickly told me what I was doing wrong and gave me advice on how to correct my proper form.
Grace and mercy.
So we had to have a little discussion. A discussion about our bodies and how we choose to showcase rhythmic movement. And that we should honor our bodies. I told them (with a straight face, I might add) that I do not twerk and they shouldn’t either. To me, twerking encourages the visualization of sexual images that are uncomfortable to have…especially at school. They looked confused. Sigh. So I reminded them that it’s no secret in our house that I am a fan of hip hop artist Ludacris. I sometimes even refer to him as my younger, richer, hip-hop boyfriend. I told them that thinking certain thoughts about Luda is perfectly fine for me, but if I am teaching a class at the college and supposed to be helping my students, thinking about Luda is not appropriate because it is not the correct time nor the place.
School is not the appropriate time or place to be thinking about twerking or drugs. I personally don’t believe 11- and 12-year-olds should be thinking about twerking or drugs at all. AT ALL. I made that clear. And I also made it clear that our house is a no-twerking zone.
And then there’s porn.
It’s now 2016. We are now in the presence of two teenagers and another child who will be a teenager in less than six months. All three have cell phones, mobile tablets and laptop computers. All three are at risk of contracting the twerking and pornography bug. Because at school that’s what some people their age talk about. I have found that with my kids, those talks and mentions at the lunch table have led to some not-so-appropriate internet searches.
Lesson #1: Check the Internet History on any computer your child uses regularly. It’s okay to be taken aback slightly should you find something, but you should always address situation.