I have two very tiny boys in my house. Two precious boys. All filled to the brim with the XY chromosome. Completely unaware of the world around them. Absorbed in their snack bags, the most recent episode of "Special Akin (Agent) Oso", and the matchbox cars in their tiny fists.
Until this past weekend.
Matt and Oliver ran an errand to Santana Row, a swanky little block of shops in our city, to get a new trashcan of all things. And to hear Matt tell it, Oliver proclaimed loudly enough for anyone on either floor of Crate & Barrel to hear him...
"Daddy! Dat gwell (girl) is wearing her swimsuit in da store!"
She was not wearing her swimsuit, ya'll. And she was not a little "gwell."
He and Matt had a quiet conversation about giving her privacy with their eyes. And Oliver quickly moved on to asking about lunch and if he would get ketchup with his grilled cheese.
But as his eyes are opening up to the world around him, so are ours.
Shepherding these little boys. Growing them. Loving them. Raising them. Training them. Teaching them. Encompasses so much, including what they are to do with those beautiful, sparkly, deep blue eyes hidden behind curly lashes.
And I don't want to wait until they are twelve years old to start helping them navigate the sexualized culture we live in.
And oh. We have so much to learn and so very much work to do preparing for the preteen and teenage years. So many prayers to pray. So many books to read. So many conversations to have with parents who have walked this road before us. So many conversations to have with our sweet boys before they get all squrimy and twitchy and awkward about these topics.
But here is what we are doing at the age of two.
At two we are talking about our eyes. And how we can give people privacy with our eyes. Because not everyone knows that they need or deserve privacy. But because we are safe people to be with, because we are strong, because we are brave, because we are protectors, because we want to love people well, we are going to give them privacy.
Our culture is going to communicate, in no uncertain terms, to you, sweet boys, who at this very moment are sleeping in beds with rocket and girraffee sheets... our culture is going to tell you that letting your eyes linger, letting your imagination wander, letting your internet queries jump from innocent to explicit is normal, developmentally appropriate teen behavior.
And I agree…
It is normal in the sense that it is common and unsurprising.
Similarly, it is normal and entirely developmentally appropriate that you both threw several tantrums today. Oliver, bud, you fussed and whined and stomped your feet. Milo you let out fierce howls every time I moved a remote out of your reach.
All normal, expected, common behaviors.
But not healthy to indulge, not safe to leave unchecked, and certainly not in your best interest.
The same is true of lingering eyes, wandering imaginations and explicit internet queries.
Not healthy to indulge. Not safe to leave unchecked. And certainly not in your best interest.
Oh if you could only know the absolute wildfire that can erupt from the smallest ember. The fallout has the potential to be absolutely devastating, in your own precious life and in the lives of people who are so precious to you.
And the thing is, sweet boys. When you see a woman... or any human being for that matter, you are bearing witness to a soul, with eternity knitted into his or her very fabric. Someone, who CS Lewis explains, "may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare."
It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
Oh buddies, if you can keep it in your mind, that when you see a woman, she is so much more than the skin she is in. If you could see her in light of eternity, in light of the precious and peculiar way she was knit together, in light of the overwhelming possibilities she has been given... You would know it was a grievous offense against her to look at her in any way that does not preserve or provide for her dignity.
And sweethearts, it would not just be an offense against her, but an offense against the Lord who in no uncertain terms said that is not the way. Over and over, He wrote it down... Do not look at a woman with lustful intent. Do. Not. Do. It. Do not do it. And not because he is trying to rob you of pleasure, buddies, His heart is to preserve your deepest satisfaction and your biggest joy, which will not be found in your imagination or on a flickering screen. There is nothing for you there. And when you choose to linger, or to wander, or to move from innocent to explicit, what you are saying to God is "This. I chose this. Not you, God. I do not want you. I want this."
That is no small thing, sweethearts. That is no small thing at all.
Our prayer, little loves, is that as you grow, you would begin to see how very crowded the world is with souls and that your heart would drum with the desire to preserve and provide for their dignity. May you have such big appetites for joy, that you refuse to be tempted with the allure of a flickering screen or a fleeting image. May your trust in the Lord and your love for Him and what He loves, drive you to believe Him when He says that lingering eyes, and wandering imaginations and explicit images are empty and hold nothing for you... May you know in your core that He will provide for your deepest joy.
And sweethearts, we pray for tender spirits, that are quick to confess, quick to turn, quick to repent, when you find that your eyes have been places not meant for them. There is a flood of grace just waiting to be poured over you, when you come with tender hearts to the Lord. An absolute flood of grace.
We love you so much it sometimes hurts to breathe. We promise to fight for you and along side you as you learn what to do with those beautiful blue eyes.