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    Don’t Look Twice: Critical Advice to Give Our Children

    August 31, 2020 by Brandy Vencel

    I love the little gems Charlotte Mason drops concerning purity in her fourth volume, Ourselves. She would likely be astounded at how very needed her words are. In a world where pedophiles and abusers are hunting down child victims, we have to teach our children how to protect themselves. Don’t look twice isn’t just sage advice; it’s critical protection for our young.

    When I was a child, pornography usage among the young was often deliberate. What I mean is, they sought it out. The children viewing pornography weren’t as often victims the way they are today. Junior high boys might have heard, for example, that Johnny’s dad had a subscription to Playboy magazine, and they would go to Johnny’s house after school to seek it out. This is what I mean by deliberate. (Deliberate does not mean justified.)

    These days, children can have pornography thrown in their faces without warning. Just last week, fifth graders in San Leandro, who have been forced by our governor to stream their schooling online at home, were targeted by a hacker who streamed pornography into their online classroom. I heard similar complaints in a California parents’ rights group to which I belong, including one incident of violent beheadings streamed into high school online classes in Orange County.

    Don’t look twice. This is what we must teach our children.

    So many times I have reminded my children that the first viewing might not be their sin. There are people who hate children and seek to destroy them, I say. They may target you. They may show you something awful and evil just because you are a child and they want to corrupt you or violate you in some way. Or someone you think is your friend may be looking at sinful things and want you to do it, too. You cannot always control the first time you see something. But you can control whether you look twice. Be the kind of person who doesn’t look twice.

    Charlotte Mason says something similar in Ourselves:

    Christ has said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That does not mean, I think, “shall see God” when they die, but “shall see” Him with the eye of their soul, about them and beside them, and shall know, whenever temptation comes through this Appetite — “Thou, God, seest me.” That thought will come home to them, so that they will not be able to make themselves unclean by even a thought or a word. They will turn away their eyes from beholding evil; they will not allow themselves to read, or hear, or say a word that should cause impure thoughts.

    Ourselves, p. 22

    Protect yourself, my child, because I cannot always be there to do it for you.

    We train our children in other types of self-defense. They know how to disarm someone carrying a gun. They know to identify all the exits as they walk into a crowded room (we started training them to do this after there were threats made against local churches one year on Christmas Eve). They know how to fight and resist a kidnapper. They know how to use a variety of weapons. We consider their physical safety and prepare them to preserve it.

    So ought we to do with their purity.

    When our children were little, they were never without a protector. We knew they could not protect themselves, so they were constantly accompanied by an adult who loved and cared for them. Likewise, they are still, even as teens, not allowed to go gallivanting on the internet unaccompanied. They do not have the password to the laptop. They know to ask before using the iPad. They do not have their own devices. They are heavily supervised. (Our oldest received the password to the laptop on his 17th birthday.)

    But you know when one of our daughters first saw pornography? With her grandma. An evil person hacked the Focus on the Family website. This person was trying to corrupt others, to harm whoever sought out the organization that day.

    We can’t pretend that if we do all we can, something won’t happen anyway. Evil people are devising plots all the days of their lives. You never know when your child will be their target.

    What was seen could not be unseen. But what was seen didn’t have to be seen twice.

    That is where character and self-control come in.

    Something to add to this advice is that there are two ways to look twice. One is to look again, right away, or by returning later. The other is to look again with the mind’s eye.

    Children must be taught to avoid this second way — looking again with the mind’s eye is a corrupt use of the imagination and it will poison the soul as easily as looking again with the physical eye.

    My child, do not treasure the memory of evil. Run away from it. Get help. Think about something else.

    Whatever you do, don’t look twice.

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  • Reply Victoria September 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Such good advice.

  • Reply Kathleen Yeager September 2, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Thank you very much, Brandy! Such an important topic, so timely, such a simple response and so profound. I read it aloud to my husband and son and will be forwarding it to our daughters. We are grateful to you. God bless you and your family!

  • Reply Michelle September 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Wow, Brandy, thank you! This topic has been on my mind and heart lately, to the point of some sleep lost. Thank you for words that I can print for my girls to read that underscores lots of things we have been discussing. I am often sad that they have to grow up in a world like they are right now, but then I am reminded that the LORD put them in this time of redemptive history, and in our family, for His reasons. For His purposes. At this time. And, I pray they may follow Him and do His work all the days of their lives.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      You sound like Gandalf when he tells Frodo that it is not for us to decide which time we are born into. ♥ It is for us … not to grow weary in doing good. ♥

  • Reply Leslie September 1, 2020 at 8:14 am

    This was such a good read! Sometimes I get too relaxed, forgetting Satan truly is prowling and about his persistence. I will be putting more emphasis on not looking twice and also talking about the mind’s eye with my kids too! Thank you for the reminder!

  • Reply Jennifer Hodge September 1, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Great post!

  • Reply Brooke Favorat September 1, 2020 at 7:30 am

    I heartily concur with the previous commenters! This is so needed and you give very sound wisdom. It is something I have been desiring to discuss more with my children as they grow, having barely touched the tip of the iceberg with them in discussing pornography, but have felt uncertain of words and approach. Your words here really give me a clearer vision as to how to handle these discussions. Thank you, Brandy!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      One thing I love is that this advice can be given without giving lots of gory details. They KNOW when they are seeing something they ought not to see. Many children don’t need us to list examples. And this allows us to coach them without violating their innocence.

      I had to laugh the first time my oldest came to me. “Mommy! I saw something I shouldn’t have seen!” I think he was about 10. My stomach dropped; I was so scared about what he was going to say. He followed up with a story about a vampire video another little boy showed him (at CHURCH of all places). He had bad dreams for weeks, but I was actually relieved about what it was.

      • Reply Brooke September 2, 2020 at 5:27 am

        Oh, my, I would have been relieved as well, even though I am sad when my kids see something scary in a movie or ad that disturbs them. I much prefer fairy tales if they are to conceptualize disturbing concepts lol…

        That is such a good point about no details, and pegs just why the advice is so helpful! My biggest hesitation has been not wanting to harm their innocent ignorance of the ugliness, but focusing on general truths and principles is a great balance!

      • Reply Jami September 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm

        Not over explaining is another Mason principle. Not to stir up curiousity where it may still lie dormant with our desire to tell too much.

  • Reply Jasmine Bryant September 1, 2020 at 7:19 am

    This honestly reminds me of what I call “murder porn”. Videos of people being shot, beat, and more. It is shared constantly without any remorse or consideration for families of the dead. It is shared with the intent of being informative, but how many times should news, YouTube, google share this videos? It’s sickening because these horrible images amd videos of death are being engrained into peoples head from supposed ” ethical sources” that should know better, and act better!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 1, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Oh Jasmine! Sooo true! I was thinking about this the other day in regard to all the rioting and police brutality videos. We have to balance the need/desire to know what is really going on with the idea that we don’t actually need to see someone be beaten or executed.

  • Reply Leisa September 1, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for this. This is a topic that has really been on my heart lately and we will be talking over these issues in our family this year. We have already begun, but I love how you lay out this issue, especially with looking with the “mind’s eye.”

  • Reply Melissa August 31, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I have two boys and this topic really concerns me. Its everywhere, even emails have bad pictures in them now. That was something that occurred to me not long ago as I was clearing my spam folder and it made me sick to my stomach. I won’t always be able to block access to the internet and they will be leaving my house some day. This is such a good reminder of the talks we need to have with our children and you have given me some great talking points.

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