It’s amazing how often parents just stand by and watch their kids lose their innocence.
This past weekend on my flight coming back from speaking in Nebraska two elementary-aged kids sat next to me. Their mom sat a couple rows behind and her kids ended up by me– a boy and girl, probably 3rd and 5th grade.
I introduced myself and joked a little about the drawings on the emergency card. They laughed and I asked them questions about flying, “Have you ever flown before?” “Do you like flying?” I wanted them to feel comfortable with me for the flight. After the takeoff, I helped them order their drinks and work the tray tables. They were really polite, sweet little kids.
Soon the little girl pulled down her seat tray, removed a stuffed monkey from her bag and placed him up on the tray, sitting comfortably with his legs crossed and staring back at her with his shiny black little eyes. The boy pulled out a toy dragon and placed it with care on his tray table.
I remember thinking, “How young. How innocent.”
About 30 minutes into the flight, they slid their backpacks from under the seat in front of them and pulled out some magazines. The little boy had a MAD Magazine, the little girl had the newest tween magazine, littered with pictures of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Robert Pattinson and other teen idols.
It was heartbreaking watching this little girl, probably just 8-years-old, looking in awe at pictures of Miley and Kristen, reading little “did you know” facts about their celeb lifestyles. It was upsetting because I saw the innocence slowly being sucked away. Here’s a sweet little kid who probably just learned how to ride her bike. Her favorite companion is a stuffed monkey. And what does our society want to do with these little girls? Grow them up much too fast!
Which ‘Twilight‘ guy do you like better? Robert or Taylor? Here they are with their shirts off. Aren’t they dreamy? Here’s a rapper singing with Justin Beiber. Oooops, don’t download any of this rapper’s music– it’s explicit.
I felt like covering the monkey’s eyes. I’ll protect you Baboo!
After the kids tired of the magazines, they started playing with their toys. It was adorable. “Hey, let’s say that Baboo rides your dragon!” The kids made their toys fly, wrestle each other (the dragon seemed to always prevail against the monkey), and romp off to an assortment of imaginary worlds.
All of a sudden their mother came up to check on them. “Hey, use the earphones and listen to the music or watch the TV show.”
The kids stared back at their mother like, Do we have to?
Mom dug the headphones out of their seat pocket and showed them how to put them on. “Here, watch this show.”
I looked up to see what United was playing for “family” enjoyment. An episode of Two and a Half Men (I kid you not).
The kids reluctantly put on their headphones and stared up at the screen while their mother returned to her seat. After two minutes the kids grew restless. The boy leaned over to his sister, “Let’s play some more.”
The headphones disappeared, Charlie Sheen’s sex jokes were silenced, and within seconds Baboo and the dragon were back to wrestling once again.
If only we could freeze this moment of innocence.
Unfortunately, in just a blink of an eye, middle school will arrive, the monkey and the dragon will probably be shelved, and the iPods of these two cherubs will be full of that day’s Katy Perry, Christina Aguillera and Miley Cyrus. Mom won’t have to encourage TV watching anymore; TV will trump building forts, riding bikes and playing with toys. ABC and MTV will become their teachers, innocence will be totally lost… all under the watch of well-meaning parents.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’ (Ezekiel 33:6)
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)