September 30, 2011 will be the opening night for Courageous. A movie about Fatherhood and what is most important in the lives and roles of family duties and obligations. Courageous is the fourth film produced by Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia. Therefore, Marysville Parenting Examiner would like to present articles that focus on the meaning of being courageous in today’s societies, and how courageous parenting can influence and bring about a better vital and healthy aspect of the Marysville, Washington Community.
Defining Courage and Courageous
The American Heritage Dictionary defines courage as the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution. In this sense, we further define courageous as that of having or possessing a character of courage – or being valiant. Vicissitude is defined as a change or variation, the quality of being, changeable, mutability, or, one of the sudden unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one’s life, activities, or surroundings. These three define the roles parents play in their homes, in their workplace, and in the lives of their children, as well as the lives of other children. In this sense, being a courageous parent is one who acts in a capacity where they face their fears with stout self-confidence and resolution against the dangers and unexpected changes in their own lives and the lives of their children.
Understanding the issues parents and families face is key
There is no doubt that parenting today is vastly different from twenty, thirty, forty, and even a hundred years ago. With the onslaught of the epidemic of sexualization of children in our society (locally, nationally and even globally), rise in children needing foster care, and even the legal cases that have captured our attention – Casey Anthony, Susan Powell, et al. All play a significant role in how parents are challenged, the struggles parents face, and a means to combat some of some messages that are becoming more detrimental upon our children, families, educators, researchers, and advocates for traditional family values.
To stand up against the traditional family, the values parents want to instill in their children, and to create a more vibrant and healthy community for our children’s future is going to take courage. It is going to take courage for a parent, an educator, a caseworker, a grandparent, and community leaders to stand up and say “enough is enough” and bring back the necessary values that will secure a more productive and conducive environment for our children.
Yes, there are many advocacy programs; public education does have means in educating and addressing issues of bullying, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other issues our children face today. However, parents must take an active role in the care and well-being of their child. As much as these programs have advanced in our day and age, the information available, parents also must step up to the plate and become courageous in how they raise their children. Parents must fight the current fashion trends that the fashion industry is pushing out to market “sexualized” clothing for tween girls. Combat the violence prevalent in video games and music videos, the sensationalization of reality shows, online gaming, and even pornographic material that is readily available than it had been fifty years ago.
All this boils down to parents having to educate themselves, and become active within the community, to present the harms and dangers that current social trends and issues are influencing their children, and subsequently their families. One such active role, which is previously mentioned, is the ability to attend public meetings on social issues. By becoming educated on what is going on in the gaming, fashion, and even movie industries, parents are placing themselves in a far better place to defend traditional family values, set appropriate boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable, and to create an atmosphere where children can thrive in a more productive way.
Will this prevent a child from straying and being rebellious and doing what they want because their friends are wearing the same type of clothing? No, because there is no foolproof plan that parents, educators, and community leaders can develop. However, being able set the boundaries, understand the dangers and fears that are ever-present in our community, parents have a better chance of weathering the storm and guiding their children to make better-informed decisions. Again, it is not about saying “No!” to one’s child, it is about saying no and then give the reason for why a movie, music, video game is inappropriate.
Being a courageous parent is a call to action
Whether one agrees that there is a social epidemic plaguing our community, and subsequently our society, or disagrees – the reality is that being a courageous parent in today’s society is a call to action. A call to action in the sense that when we stand up for the traditional values for our family and children, openly discuss the issues our children are facing, not being afraid of what our children are relating to us, and using appropriate methods to help them analyze why something is inappropriate. We are teaching them valuable life skills that will be advantageous later on in their lives. In a sense, we are on the front lives of the culture war. We are battling against corporations that are pushing the envelope more and more in demoralizing our children.
Not only is it a call to action, it is a call to arms. Because, let us face reality here for a moment. When you are in the market place, think about how many times you have seen young women who are preteens dressing inappropriate, wearing too much makeup, or even a child that is barely learning how to walk is dressed in the opposite gender clothing because the parents want them to develop an “alternate” sexual identity? It is also a call to stand up to the ridicule and mockery, and even the heartbreak when one has to comfort their son or daughter because of ridicule and mockery (in regards to dressing modestly, or not swearing, or refusing to participate in gossip/bullying of a fellow student).
When we stand for our children, stand for the boundaries and fundamental values where we teach our children to not only respect other people, but to respect themselves as well, we are instilling to them the same courage to stand up against the social issues that they themselves have to face when they leave the home.
Raising courageous children takes a courageous parent
Imagine two divorced parents sitting down and discussing the behavioral problems of their teen son. His lack of respect towards authority figures, refusal to work on chores, refusal to keep him clean, and other behavioral issues all play a role in how the two parents discuss and develop strategies to not only cope, but also support each other.
A stepfather and biological mother sit down and discuss appropriate actions for discipline for the 16-year-old girl who is infatuated with the bad boy of the school, including having a family council with the biological father (if possible).
Raising courageous children to face the issues that they will face in today’s society will take courageous parents. When a son sees his father treat his mother with respect, honoring her, loving her, helping her out, despite the long hours he has had to work that day, goes much further than the father who comes home from work, plops down on the easy chair and then waits to be served by a tired homemaker. When a daughter sees her mother care for her husband while he is frustrated in not finding work, consoling him, comforting him, encouraging him, she sees her mother working hard outside and inside the home influences the young daughter of what it takes to be married and some of the sacrifices needing to be made. This is far better than her witnessing her mother complains about how the daughter’s father is not doing anything to help support the family.
Parents teach by example, not by word. In addition, children are more resilient than what parents sometimes give them credit.
The choice is ours
If we do not stand up and learn to become courageous parents in the lives of our children, then we have no room to sit and blame the media, the public education system, the judicial system, or any other such program for failing our children. If we do not stand up and learn to become courageous parents in the lives of our children, it is our own fault and failure. Social issues will not go away. They will only get worse and this is why we need to start realizing the importance of becoming actively involved in knowing what our children are viewing, listening to, reading, and even wearing.
Let us all be courageous parents, educate ourselves on what issues are currently affecting our children, and begin to communicate with our children what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.