Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm a Mother Who Knows

Julie Beck, the worldwide president of the woman's organization of our church, called The Relief Society, the largest women's organization in the world, gave a talk a few years ago called "Mothers Who Know".


Among some of her key points were that mothers who know are leaders, nurturers and teachers, and stand strong and immovable against the onslaught of opposition in this day and age. Her talk is probably among the top ten of any faithful Mormon woman you ask. It's certainly one of my all-time favorites.

Now, to take the title of her talk, "Mothers Who Know", more literally, I'd like to share an incident that occurred in our kitchen a few nights ago.

I had been reading the first book in THIS series to the kids as we relaxed in the living area of the kitchen. From where I sat, I could see the computer monitor, and suddenly a small avatar touting a symbol of fire popped up on the screen, accompanied by a vrooooooottt sound, following by a bee-bop sound.

I kept reading, but the 8-year-old girl turned to look at the computer and nervously asked, "Mom! What was that sound?"

"It's just Ferdinand (name has been changed to protect the innocent) signing in on Instant Messenger, then sending the 15-year-old girl a message that he wants to chat," I answered.

The 15-year-old girl, who usually has something smart to say, sat completely dumbfounded, shocked that I had learned her friend's avatar and could recognize what vroooottt and bee bop meant.

Fellow mothers, as a mom who's been around, I beg of you to be a "Mother Who Knows" and learn what your children do on your computers. Did you know that the conversation turns to sex 40 times faster if children are chatting than if they were talking face-to-face? When interfacing live, there are filters that keep teenagers from saying what they may be thinking, but during an internet or cell phone chat, those filters are removed and our children take on a more anonymous persona. For this reason, I have told my children that they are to show me their chats at any time without advanced notice. And when the 15-year-old girl's friends sign up and try to chat while I'm on the computer, I love to surprise them and begin a chat, immediately identifying myself as the 15-year-old girl's mother, just so they know that I could be looking over her shoulder at any time.

And don't get me started about pornography. I've discussed that HERE if you want to know what I think about that. Suffice it to say, pornography can have deadly consequences, literally, and we must, at all costs, protect our children from it's evil influences.

What are your thoughts? I'd really like to know.

Thanks for listening.

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sherree said...

One of my most favorite talks ever too.

My thoughts... Are a lot like yours I just have not always followed through with checking up on them when I should.
I loved how you said "your computer" I have not really thought of it that way,of course its my computer why didn't i think of it that way before.I have always struggled with feeling like i am invading their privacy and when i did check things out felt a little guilty. But what they do on my computer is my business. thank you for posting this I needed the encouragement that its ok to "know"love your blog :)

alessandra said...

I absolutely agree, that's why I don't want her ( 13 )to have her pc.

C said...

Jen, excellent post!! Oh how I miss you.

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

This is a very good reminder. My kids are very young but I hope to remember to keep an eye over them when it comes to these things. I like the idea of having the computer in a common place rather than in the rooms.

The Farmer's Wife said...

I LOVE that talk!!! LOVE IT!!!
I am a Mother who stalks Favebook to see what my kids are doing...If every Mother "knew" then we could jointly protect our children! Love the post Jen!

Judy said...

I too loved this talk...though I remember there was a lot of controversy from women in the church who felt Sister Beck had been too bold or overbearing or whatever. It's true though, we can't protect our children if we have no clue what they need protection from.

Harlene said...

I whole heartedly agree with you and with Sister Beck. I have always checked my kids texts and chats, randomly, as well as pics and files on their phones. I'm usually pretty trusting and try to do it in an agitated way, just so they know, I am "in the know" I also stalk facebook and have my own avatar, so I can see what all my kids are up to, when they don't think it's me they are talking too. Awful, huh?

Toyin O. said...

Great post!