Monday, October 10, 2011
Black & White
I remember as a little kid discovering old movies on Saturday morning. Do you remember the time when there were limited television channels and certain programs were only available at specific times? Those old black & whites; love at first sight. Better than cartoons, which were also only on Saturdays. I'd wrap up in an afghan on the couch and watch movie after movie.
What I remember about that time is that I was allowed to watch those old classics, every single one of them. And that's saying something because I wasn't raised in a house where I could watch everything on television. There were shows that were simply too adult for a kid, shows like Starsky & Hutch with drug references and prostitution inferences. And shows that were just unacceptable in our home, the ones that presented immorality as though it was common place.
Because back then, immorality wasn't common place.
We rarely went to the movies because, even though we only saw rated G films, it was difficult to predict what might be shown in previews. My parents took seriously what their daughters were exposed to.
Music was mostly Disney albums with a little bit of pop thrown in, Donny Osmond and Shaun Cassidy. You're probably giggling now about all of the archaic references? That's ok. I'm smiling too.
What I am really thinking of is how wide open we have thrown our arms to, well, to everything.
Desensitization. That's what my parents were actively fighting. How many parents think about densisitization any more?
For instance, how many young kids count themselves fans of singers who dress provocatively? That would've been an opportunity to discuss what we are not, not a source of I Pod tunes, when desensitization mattered.
Frankly, in hindsight, my parents edited things out of our lives that didn't need editing. They err'd on the side of caution. And none of that "stuff" that I missed out on had any negative impact. I'll tell you what that strictly enforced standard did accomplish.
The first boy that asked me on a date was one that I grew up with at church. We were in Sunday school classes since, well, since forever. After service one Sunday evening he invited me out with himself and a bunch of other church kids for pizza. My response? No.
No because my parents had not given me permission to date.
No because even after they did, I did not accept dates with any boy until they said it was ok.
A few months later a boy from my school asked me out. And I said no.
No because my parents did not know him so that made him unacceptable until they did.
No because he used profanity and was not a Christian and I (notice that my parents didn't even need to instruct me?), I would not consider dating a boy who was not a Christian. By dating, I mean going to a football game.
Desensitization. I could be casual friends with nonChristian kids but dating was on the other side of the standards line. I was not desensitized to the implication of dating someone. It means that person has entered into a closer position in life.
Yes it does.
Sex was not commonplace in conversation or television or music so it was certainly not easy for me to offer my body to a boy. I was not desensitized to sex.
That means my first sexual encounter was on my wedding night. PS, that was with the Christian boy from church that my parents approved of before I dated who fathered my children and with whom I will celebrate 25 years of marriage in a few weeks.
Of course, that 25 years of marriage thing has a lot to do with how far divorce was removed from my life. Divorce was not an option which left us with only one other option...staying married. I was not desensitized to divorce.
Has my life been perfect? Nope.
But the stuff that used to be called "the world" was hard to reach from the house I grew up in. It was a big deal, a decision, to cross the line because the line was very very clear.
The line saved me from a lot of pain.
Now it's called self-righteousness, to be separated from "the world." To call something wrong is politically incorrect. Immorality is almost gone, because nothing is immoral.
I think we need a few more Saturday mornings with an afghan on the couch watching old black & white movies. We are living in the gray areas now and movies aren't the only thing that was better in black and white.
Purity. Modesty. Morality.
In the Bible, it's still in black & white.