Friday, October 28, 2011

Finding Beauty

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2 NIV)

Kids and ParentingPoetry. The prologue of John (John 1:1-18) is pure and lovely poetry. It's one place I like to go when I need a dose of beauty. In a world of pop-culture, I need those doses regularly.

Over the summer, my twenty-year-old daughter, Maddie, lamented all the pop-culture I was responsible for making her miss during her childhood. "Mom," she said, "when people my age talk about 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' or 'Strawberry Shortcake,' I'm lost." This made me laugh. "What was so bad about Strawberry Shortcake?" she wanted to know. It's not the first time I've heard that question.

"What's so bad about (fill in the blank)?"

My children have asked me that question and I have asked myself that question hundreds of times over the years. I've asked it about all sorts of books, movies, and activities. It seems to me, we only have so much free time—time set up for no purpose other than enjoyment and we can choose things that are "not bad," or we can choose things of value.

Early in parenting, I wanted to give my off-spring only value. So while other children were reading books about a babysitting club, mine were reading the Wind in the Willows and Misty of Chincoteague.

As the years continued, I softened my stance somewhat, so by the time my son was old enough, he saw all the Star Wars movies (I only liked the original three). Maddie, of course, laments this, too—“how Spencer had it better.” I try not to laugh.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible was written by Paul in an intimate portion of his letter to the Philippians as he sought to instruct them on how to live:

… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

I'm not immune to pop-culture and I admit to watching things that are "not bad" and sometimes, even things I know veer straight into "bad." These things don't edify me in any way; in fact, if I'm not careful, they'll erode my convictions. But sometimes I watch them. That's when I need a dose of pure or lovely or admirable. That's when my husband and I trek to some beautiful part of God's world, or I listen to Pachelbel's Canon, or I read the poetry of the Book of John.

The other day, Maddie called to say she was tired of seeing little girls who dressed too old for their age. She said, "When I have children, I'm picking pleasing-to-the-eye-age-appropriate clothes." I was glad we were on the phone and she couldn't see me smiling.

You know, maybe I'll surprise her the next time she comes home. I'll put together a Strawberry Shortcake Fest complete with videos, shortcake, and balloons. Time spent with her laughing—that's a place where I find beauty.

Epilogue: Last Sunday afternoon Maddie and I held our Strawberry Shortcake Fest. The cake tasted good; she appreciated the card and balloons. We didn't make it five minutes into the video, though, before she cried, "Turn it off! I can't take it. It's soooo mind-numbing!"

My work here is done.
Lisa Mikitarian, Dec 2008

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Of course Strawberry Shortcake is mind-numbing, but who doesn't love singing about friends and baking endless supplies of treats???

    Love, love, love Philippians 4:8.

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