02 December 2009
What Do We Do?
(It's another one of those this-picture-has-nothing-to-do-with-this-post-other-than-the-fact-that-this-is-my-blog-and-this-is-my-cute-kid. Apologies to all.)
I just heard this line in a song . . .
"If you feel it, it must be real."
That turns my stomach.
This idea is absolutely pervasive. It has invaded everything. Our music. Our movies. Our commercials. Our attitudes. Our expectations. Our brains. Our hearts. Our actions.
And I hate it.
Because it is a lie.
I'm not saying feelings always lie. I'm not saying feelings are wrong. Or sinful. Necessarily.
I am saying - you cannot trust only your feelings. You cannot live from your feelings alone. You cannot base your actions on your feelings.
It is a dangerous way to live.
But we hardly know what else to do. We hardly know how else to play this game.
Because it seems everyone else is doing life by their feelings.
And I just wonder . . .
How can I rescue my kids from this disastrous pursuit of what feels right, of what feels good - of feelings forcing behavior?
(Is there any defense? Because some days it seems as if the battle has already been won.)
I don't think seclusion is the right answer. Avoiding the world hasn't proven to be an effective tool in my experience thus far. (Just look at how many kids graduate from private schools and home schools and instantly embrace everything they felt they were denied.)
I believe that you learn truth by studying truth. You don't learn what is true by studying what is false. You memorize what is real so you can recognize the fake. If I am intimately familiar with a made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookie, it won't be hard to taste the difference in a processed Chips Ahoy. I don't have to study every brand of chocolate chip cookie, from Great Value to Soft Batch, to know when I am being offered something less than homemade.
But even though I know that in theory, I'm not sure I know how to teach that to our children.
Particularly our teenage child.
The one who needs the balance, the steadiness of truth most at her vulnerable age where everything Mom and Dad says sounds silly and everything popular culture says sounds cool.
So what do we do?
(This isn't really one of those hypothetical questions. Go ahead and answer.)