The Thanksgiving countdown clock is officially ticking. The airports are already packed and the roads are becoming more crowded. Grocery stores are filled with last-minute shoppers and I am sure the Butterball “turkey call-in hotline” is ablaze. Hopefully you have your Thanksgiving plans laid out. For most of us that means traveling to see family we have not seen since last year or perhaps longer. Many of us remember those days when you would spend hours in the car to travel to grandma’s house to see family members you did not know all that well and eat food you did not like all that much. During the long car ride you no doubt would hear the annual sermon from your parents of being on your best behavior and putting a smile on that face or they would put one on there for you. You might protest about the clothes you had to wear or the performance you were expected to make but in the end you were reminded that all of us have to make sacrifices on this “special” day. You might remember that uncle that ate directly out of the serving bowl of potato salad, that cousin you had to play with who was just a little off, and no, you never got the good piece of chicken but it wasn’t that bad right? When you arrived you had to go around the room and greet your relatives with a hug, give grandma a kiss and then disappear with the other kids until time to go. We all lived through it and now that we are parents we get to make our kids go through the same routine, right? Well, not exactly. There are some who believe that being forced as a kid to go through this experience, especially with people they don’t know, being forced to hug, greet and have physical contact as an expression of something owed to them just because they are family members has a negative impact on development. Making your children, specifically your daughter, offer a relative a hug “just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.” The last part in quotation marks is a direct quote from none other than the Girl Scouts of America. http://www.girlscouts.org/en/raising-girls/happy-and-healthy/happy/what-is-consent.html
Yes, go back and reread that. In fact, go to the website and read the whole article. What was once a trusted organization that taught our mothers, wives and daughters how to be strong women now wants us to teach them that everyone is out to get them, even family members. Are they saying that females are so weak and parents so inept that we cannot teach our children right and wrong? Are we to lead our daughters to believe that even grandma is a possible predator? Realize it or not, that is exactly what this once respected organization is doing. This is an overreaction to the Hollywood and celebrity scandals being reported by the media. It is a typical reaction by groups like these who fail to own up to personal responsibility in the fallen world we live in. They look to blame someone or something other than themselves for bad things that happen. Instead of imploring parents to teach their daughters appropriate and respectful behavior in unfamiliar situations we now behave as alarmist and teach our children to do the same. I think that it is shameful to even suggest that a young lady isn’t smart enough or strong enough to have discernment enough to reject the advancements of a predator because he bought dinner. The blame is not traced back to an awkward Thanksgiving hug, but directly to a parent who does not take an active role in the whole of a child’s life. A parent who does not teach their children that there are certain places you don’t go and certain people you don’t hang with sets that child up for failure. A parent who does not make the hard choices about what the child can and cannot wear or who he or she can date is the parent who sets up a child for future trouble.
Doing things and going places we don’t want to do when we are kids are all part of growing up. These life experiences help us to mature into a responsible adult capable of making life choices that honor ourselves and our Lord. Please don’t fail to protect your child by being honest with them about real life. Teach them to be wise and discerning. Don’t overreact by training them to be leery of every new person they meet. The worse we can do is train them to adopt a victim mentality at every turn when things don’t go their way or they don’t get exactly what they want.
Your family traditions could be worse. Paul tells the church to greet each other with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16 & 2 Corinthians 13:12). But I think most of us are good with a simple hug. Happy Thanksgiving.
Serving the Savior
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