“Mom, can I go on Netflix and watch a movie when you’re gone?” Samuel called me on my cell phone to ask. At the time, just shy of eleven years old, our youngest is pretty responsible.
“No, son, wait until I get home. I’ll put a movie on for you.”
I was heading out to take Grace, our thirteen year old to youth group and could see her sigh and shrug in frustration at my response to her little brother. When I got off the phone, I asked her, “What? Why did you sigh like that?”
“Because, Mom, why can’t he just put on a movie? I don’t understand you sometimes. Samuel isn’t going to put on anything he’s not supposed to watch.”
“Honey, I trust Samuel.”
“Then why didn’t you let him go on Netflix?”
“Grace, you kids are my responsibility. I take this parenting job seriously. You know, honey, there’s a scripture that comes to mind, ‘The enemy prowls around like a lion, to and fro, looking for someone to devour.’ Gracie, think about it, a lion is going to look for the defenseless first. Your brother is home alone. I am not going to leave him defenseless. Your dad and I have gone on Netflx before and seen pictures and things that are pretty terrible—even with the website protections on. Why would I want your little brother to see some of those things?”
Once we got to church, Grace went off to meet her youth group leaders and practice for worship, while I went off to meet with my women’s Bible study. About fifteen minutes later, I could hear my daughter singing.
Then She Talked Behind My Back
Being a proud mama, I just had to walk towards the sanctuary and listen. Not wanting to embarrass her, I stood behind a door in the hallway, my eyes closed, listening to her melody. I thanked God for her desire to sing and prayed the words she sung would go deep into her heart. The band stopped mid-song and started talking.
My daughter’s voice rose above the rest as she began to animate our conversation in her junior high way, “Guys, listen to this, my mom won’t even let me or my brother go on Netflix unless she’s home with us. Can you believe it? She even started reciting scripture.” She used her best mom voice, “‘The enemy is like a lion, searching to and fro who he can devour.’”
As she talked about me, I stepped from behind the door and stood there, smiling.
The kids in the band saw me first and said in unison, “Busted.”
Grace looked shocked. Nervously she laughed and ran off the stage, across the sanctuary floor and threw her arms around me, laughing while she said, “Mom! Were you there the whole time?”
“I sure was.” I smiled down at her, not returning her hug. “And, I have to admit, I’m really impressed…”
“Mom, I’m sorry!” She continued to giggle nervously.
“I am proud of you.”
“Proud of me?” She squeaked.
“You did a great job of reciting scripture to your friends.” I hugged her, kissed her on the forehead and left.
Too Strict? I Don’t Think So
Here’s the thing, I wouldn’t leave my kids alone in Hollywood–so why would I leave them alone to be entertained by Hollywood? Sorry, but these folks are a royal mess of people who are doing a terrible job at raising their own kids. I’m not giving them the chance to hang out with mine unless I’m there, too.
As a mom, I don’t enjoy making tough decisions, especially when my kids don’t understand. My children are only home with me for a little while, so I try to make the most of opportunities like this one. Still, I’m always a little surprised to discover they listen.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. 1Peter 5:8
Joanne Kraft is a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and Family Life Today. Joanne is the author of Just Too Busy-Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She’d be the first to tell you she has four kids who are great – most of the time.