When I was asked to read Julie Hiramine's book Guardians of Purity: A Parent"s Guide to Winning the War Against Media, Peer Pressure, and Eroding Sexual Values, I was prepared to hear about these things.
And Julie didn't disappoint. She takes on many topics from television to music to internet and social media to the role Hollywood plays in our lives.
She gives many practical tools and guidelines (that I REALLY wish had been available 11 years ago when I was pregnant with our first child!). She challenges us to be deliberate and intentional about the hearts of our children from an early age. She encourages us to have a plan early on, when our children are 2 or 3 years of age, for how much tv, what kind of tv and how to talk about the difference between girls and boys. She shares about how long to let siblings bathe together, how to instill modesty into our children and how to model purity for our children.
But Julie goes so far beyond these topics. She challenges us to be proactive in the battle for our children's hearts. She discusses what it means to have quality family time, how important it is to allow for individual time for each child and how to encourage our children to pray and seek God. She gives tools for instructing our children from God's Word. She encourages us to go against what modern culture would say is normal and instead opt for God's truth and desire for a pure life, set aside for His purposes.
While Julie's goal is to encourage us toward purity, she encouraged me in other areas as well. She takes on the topic of social media and the role it takes in our lives. This doesn't apply to my children (yet!), but it definitely applies to me! What is the purpose in the time I spend tweeting, posting, instagramming? It is to bring glory to God or to myself?
"This is the online worship factor. Is it all about me or about truly being a representative of God's mighty army and making advances for His Kingdom? So much of technology centers about my life, my pictures, my friends, my little world. What happened to our calling and destiny to be world-changers for the almighty King? We get sucked into this vortex of self and the "me" factor that is all about me getting worship from my friends. Last I read in the Bible, Lucifer fell from heaven because he wanted the worship that belonged to God." pg 20-21
My very favorite part of Julie's book was the last few chapters. As a mom of "tweens", I know that we need to be intentional as we head into the next few years. What I don't know is how to do that! How do I explain to our children our goals for their future...their dating, their courtship, their marriage? Do I even know what I think about dating? About kissing before marriage? About how far is too far? This book gave me so many things to think about and process...Brad and I spent much of our last date night talking through these topics. Neither of us were perfect before marriage, and I don't expect perfection from our children, but shouldn't we set the bar high? In an atmosphere of grace and love, we want to help our children guard against the temptations that surround them.
One of the sweetest parts of the book is when Julie talks of "Developing a Love Story With God". She shares the story of a young woman who is struggling as she "waits for the one". Through some reading, this girl comes to the realization that,
"God created marriage and singleness for the same purpose. Both equally teach us about the love that God has for us. They do it really differently, but one isn't better than the other." pg 164
What a beautiful picture!
I'll be honest and tell you Julie sets the bar really high. She and her husband have chosen to live an unordinary, unusual life and they have encouraged the same in their children. If they take the same tone with their children as she does throughout this book, I'm confident their children know they are loved and protected. There is no blurring of the lines, no guessing when it comes to their standards.
One thing I've learned in my oh-so-short time as a mom, is that children respond best when they know what is expected of them and even more so, when they know you have their back. Julie's book is 12 chapters worth of tools to help us live a life of purity and in turn communicate such a life to our children...a life set apart.
Guardians of Purity is definitely a book to keep around, one that we'll be referencing for years to come. I would highly recommend it to soon-to-be parents and parents (and grandparents) of children of all ages!