Hi, I'm Dawn Klinge, welcome!  I write here because doing so helps me to take notice of the sweet things in life.

 

        

  

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Thursday
Jan132011

Protecting my children from too much information

 

Children deserve to see the world as a good and safe place.  I’ve done my best to filter the information that my children receive by limiting their exposure to the news and to adult problems.  As they get older, more of what they take into their hearts and minds is out of my control.  I see those early efforts to guard their childhood, as one of the most precious gifts I could give to them.Freedom from concerns of the adult world leave him free to just enjoy being a kidMore recently, I’ve been thinking about putting stronger boundaries around the information I choose to take into my own heart and mind.  I think I need to be more selective about what I choose to read and listen to.  Negative news, contentious debates, and sad stories are everywhere.  I can’t take on the problems of the world, but sometimes I try.  It brings tears, a short temper, unnecessary worry, it sucks away my energy, and it doesn’t help anyone.  Last night, a friend said something about being mindful of where you choose to invest your heart, and in turn, your time and your energy.  She was talking about friendships, but I believe this advice holds true for the information I choose to take in as well. 

 

I keep coming back to three words:  true, kind, necessary.  As I’ve said before, I’m choosing to focus on these words as something to think about before I say anything.  In addition, I’m going to think about them in regards to the information I choose to take in.  Truth is sometimes hard to determine, but I can carefully consider the sources I choose to get my news from.  When I think about whether something is kind, I can consider if someone else’s failure, embarrassment, or tragedy is being exploited or if it’s serving as entertainment at their expense.  I’m probably most guilty in this area….gossip magazines.  And when I consider whether something is necessary I can think about why I’m choosing to focus on it.  Does it affect me or those in my life?  Is there something I can do to help?   Can I learn from it?  Or is it just pulling at my heartstrings for no particular purpose?

 

Putting boundaries on the information I choose to focus on is a gift that I can give to myself.  Through my example, it’s also gift I can give to my children.  My children will continue to gain access to more and more information as they get older, and they will have to learn to how to filter it on their own.  They will eventually learn that the world doesn’t always seem like a good and safe place, but I hope that they will carry with them, throughout their lives, the belief that it really is good.  The ability to keep their hearts and minds guarded from the onslaught of bad news in the media will be of great benefit to them.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23



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Reader Comments (18)

I used to say to my kids when they found some toy in the street, "You may not know who this belongs to, but you KNOW it's not yours." And that's not a bad standard for deciding what to listen to or pursue information about in this world. We have really so little time here - and so little energy. I think your friend is very wise - why should we waste one minute of emotional energy that we could be investing in our kids, or in good and strengthening pursuits. Where you sow, there also shall you reap - which is a little scary when you think about it.

in my faith, we have a simple collection of statements, called "articles of faith" about what we believe. The last, the 13th of these reads:

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

And this is very important to me. I know how I feel when I have spent too much time thinking about something unworthy of that investment - like sitting in the shade of something that is blocking the sun, so that I can't feel that lovely warmth, or see by that gorgeous light.

So I understand what you are saying here, and I feel the same way. But then, when I read you, that's often the case.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristenD

I agree so much with what you say about protecting your children, I have always been passionate about that ... but I've never thought about that for myself. It's a very good idea. I worry so much, or feel so deeply sad, after exposing myself to certain kinds of information. And every night I turn on the tv news, not because I want to, but because it's a lifelong habit. And every night it upset me in one way or another, even knowing how the tv news works. I need to give this whole thing more thought - so thank you for inspiring it in me.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersarah

I'm tired of feeling sad and helpless after watching the news in the evenings. I'd like to follow the worlds event less (without becoming ignorant of them) and follow the events that happen closer to my own homelife more.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

I am so on the same page. I don't think we need to be absorbing or engaging in all the negativity and our kids certainly don't. Now that Helen is older, I want her discussing current events, but watching the news is not the way.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Great post, thank you.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybille

I so agree with you.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhyllis

As my daughter has gotten older, I've tried to teach her something it took me a long time to learn: tucked inside each one of those hard-to-hear stories or negative comments is the human condition – someone walking through pain to reach a better place, one stranger reaching out to another in what appears to be an impossible circumstance or an unhealed hurt that will eventually mend. The news stories sometimes omit those parts, but I believe they are there, even if we don't see them in the particular bit that happens to cross our path.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

This is so wise, and I completely agree with you. I have stopped watching the news a long time ago. I'll tune in for the weather and maybe sports, but that is it. I just can't hear all the negative anymore. I don't think God wants us to live with fear and worry consuming our hearts and you are right, we need to be vigilant with what we take in.
Great post!

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKat

Very very true. I agree with you Dawn. Every morning our newspaper is filled with articles that seem to show the worst of humanity. The headlines are enough to make one cringe. I decided long ago that I did not want to fill my head with all of these negative things before I even started my day, so I refuse to read them. Same with the disgraced military man in our own country. I didn't read a word of it. Did I need to know all about the sordid details? No. Which begs the question "Why do these things even entice our interest in the first place?' Good post.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

So well said. It takes so much emotional energy to concern ourselves with things that are out of our control or cause us unnecessary stress or worry. I am not much for new years resolutions but I have been trying to organize our household a bit better and simplify, which got me to thinking about negative people. Why waste the time? I can't change other peoples actions but I can change my reaction.
Thank you for this insightful post.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAinsley

Perfectly said. I'm going to join you on this!

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkristen

great post!

i do not watch the news or read the newspaper anymore at all. i feel assaulted afterward. i get my news via the computer where i have control over what i will click on, what i will read, etc... the news is not allowed in our house! :)

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

oh...i do sometimes allow myself a little "recess for the mind" in the form of people magazine... complete distraction from anything real :)

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

True. Kind. Necessary. I'm going to say this over and over to myself from now on. Thank you for these posts!

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Great post Dawn!! I love the thoughts there. I too struggle if I have read too much information, too much news. I struggle with fear & heartache for what I've read, especially if it is something that has happened to a child. The news is filled with it. My husband finally talked to me and told me that it was OK, not to be the first informed and also to just steer clear of reading too much news. He saw how it was affecting my more carefree personality. I still read the news some, but definitely filter it more. I also read a lot more headlines and then pause to consider if I can handle reading more about it. I love your emphasis on true, kind, necessary. I think this is something I'm going to start talking with the little ones about.

January 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentererin

I do avoid a lot of information - I even filter my entertainment - I don't want art that makes me sad. It's kind of a life choice...though I'm not sure it's a right or wrong one - I do it for my own survival.

January 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparentingadabsurdum

I'm so with you on this one, I used to have NPR on every minute of the day, until I realized that not only was the endless stream of news stressing me out, but the kids were absorbing it too. ("What's a terrorist, mom?") Now I give myself a few minutes of news in the morning and before dinner, and then maybe a late night radio show. And it feels much, much better!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

I just wanted to say I love this post. I try to be mindful of "true, kind and necessary" as well but this was a lovely reminder.

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

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