Our family reads the local paper over breakfast. Everyone has a favorite section, and my third- grader's is the comics. One morning recently, I read over his shoulder, catching up on my favorite cartoon. That day's strip dealt with a third-grade class's reaction to allegations of sexual misconduct in the White House. The language in the punch line was rather graphic.
Though this strip was insightful and humorous, it was definitely adult-oriented, and I quietly folded up the paper and moved it out of my son's way. But soon he had found it again. As I watched him poring over the whole page, I suddenly realized that I felt peaceful about his ability to handle this without it having a bad effect on him.
Not long ago I would have agonized about how to deal with this topic in speaking to my kids. I was constantly trying to head off their exposure to adult subjects through the media, what they were hearing at school, on the Internet, even in the comics. Soon I began to feel like the boy with his finger in the dike - but with new leaks springing open all around me.
Where did my newfound peace concerning my son's well-being come from? I realized that it had developed as I began to understand the relation that each new generation has to God.
I am learning that God equips each of His children with intelligence - intelligence that reflects His pure nature. Fundamentally, the ability that little boy at my breakfast table needed in order to deal with today's issues came not from me as a parent, or from teachers, but from the divine Mind. God is this Mind, the source of all that is good and constructive in human experience. Christian Science explains, "God is the parent Mind, and man is God's spiritual offspring" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 336). The child of God's creating is spiritual, and is not made up of capabilities acquired from human intellect. This child "... reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker" (Pg. 475).
As I study the Science behind the teachings of Jesus Christ, it is becoming clearer to me that God would never abandon His creation to fend for itself. I am seeing that the innocence and purity of my children is spiritual and unassailable; it cannot be touched by evil influences that are not of God and therefore don't have real power. As my trust in God as the loving Parent of each child grows, my fear as a mother is receding. "To fear sin is to misunderstand the power of Love and the divine Science of being in man's relation to God, - to doubt His government and distrust His omnipotent care," says Science and Health (Pg. 231).
If mothers of Bible characters like David, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or Jacob, or Daniel, could have kept their sons away from the influences of war, deceit, hatred, and so forth, they probably would have. Yet look how, through God, each son was not only protected and unharmed but also able to bring a clearer understanding of God's power to others. Their experiences continue to inspire people.
What about my children today, and all the children of this generation? I'm learning that just as God's influence was with the people of Bible times, it is with children in all times. The divine Mind is speaking to each. When we recognize this spiritual fact, we are praying for our children. The effect of this is that we as parents are better able to fulfill our roles as wise guides for our children. And the effect on children is that they increasingly handle what comes into their lives with maturity, and at the same time are not robbed of the enjoyment and innocence of childhood. And they have opportunities to use their God-given understanding and intelligence to help lead the world toward the good conduct we endeavor to instill.
As I said, this spiritual peace concerning my children's innocence is something new for me. My kids will probably be faced with more things I wish they didn't have to deal with at different times in their lives. But I trust that God will continue to give us all what we need in order to keep our own thoughts and conduct under His control.