What example are you setting?

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A while back when my girls were younger, I found a website that played a variety of old songs that I used to listen to when I was younger. I found a song that when I was young that I used to listen to all the time because I thought it was a funny song. It was the “Humpty Dumpty Dance”. You know, the “Stop what you’re doin’, ‘cause I’m about to ruin…” song.  Now understand that I grew up in a “good” home but not a Christian home and I pretty much had free reign on what I watched and listened to as a kid. I was a young teenager when I first danced with Humpty Dumpty, and not much thought was given to it because I had listened to worse (I remember watching Eddie Murphey’s “Raw” with my Father…not good.)

But I am older now and I have three wonderful girls that I am trying to raise right, and so when I had my little girls in the living room dancing the “Humpty Dumpty Dance” something happened.  I listened to the lyrics. And when it came to the part where he was describing an adult relationship taking place in a local hamburger joint…I couldn’t get to the stop button fast enough.  For some reason, I didn’t remember that part.  My girls said, “Come on, Dad. 

We were having fun.” And I said, “No…it’s not a good song.”  So we picked another song that didn’t quite have the same innuendoes as ol’ Humpty.  
Now some will state, “You hypocrite! You listened to that song when you were a kid, why don’t you let them listen to it.” But there were a lot of things I did when I was younger that I will not let my kids do.

Why? First, because I want to raise them in not just a “good” home but a “Christ-centered” home. Second, my girls were young at the time and definitely not ready for such lyrics, and perhaps most important is that I know the trouble I got into when I was younger because I didn’t have the boundaries set by my parents.  I heard things that led me to think things that led me to do things all because I didn’t have those boundaries set by my parents. So I want to make sure that my kids have those boundaries for them to help them avoid the same mistakes I made.

I learned my lessons because of my experience. And when I pass down lessons learned from my experience it is called “wisdom”. And we are encouraged to pass down our wisdom to the next generation. We are also encouraged to protect the innocence of our kids. Now I know that can’t shelter our kids from the world (especially in the teen years), but we can guide their lives and do what we can to keep them from messing up where we did.  For me, that would mean that I don’t allow my children to listen to music that has raunchy lyrics or vulgar language and I don’t let them watch shows that do the same.  
One day my wife and I were watching a crime drama on TV and one of my girls walked into the room.  At that moment, a vulgar word was said (and not just a vulgar word but on the echelon of bad words it was up there at the top! And this was on regular broadcast TV!) and so we quickly turned the channel.  My girl said, “Dad, I hear worse at school.”  And I said, “Maybe so, but you won’t hear it here.” Quick question, what boundaries are you setting for your children and why are you setting them?
(Barry Robinson is the pastor of Williamstown United Methodist Church. He can be reached at brobinson@williamstownumc.com or call 859-823-5171.)