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.More 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