Davis Park, New York

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I recently went through a bad break-up.   It was unexpected and painful, and for days I languished on the sofa letting the tears hit the microfiber, consuming Kit-Kats and babbling about the “good times”.  Luckily, I had my hubby to lean on. (wait…you didn’t think?…no!!)

My favorite department store and I had parted ways.  At an impasse over what I deemed a “capitulation to the sexualization of tweens”  and they saw as a “marketing strategy,”  the proverbial line in the sand had been drawn.  In the aftermath, I was left tearing up my stash of considerable store coupons and wondering at how such tiny grains of cultural influence produce the beach on which said line is made.

I had contacted the store’s headquarters, and in a timely fashion received a phone call from the top brass who listened to my complaints regarding the dressing/lounge area of their Junior Department.  There, grandmothers, children, and young girls trying on clothes are treated to a selection of videos.  The one that generated my complaint included a sultry number featuring a barely dressed singer grabbing a drink in one hand, her man in the other, and “dancing” provocatively together to lyrics my girl has no business hearing.

The lifestyle it glamorized had little to do with my 14-year-old who had simply popped in to buy a pair of shorts.  Much like the risqué magazine covers at the supermarket check-out lane have no relevance to our family or our cart piled high with groceries. But we nonetheless manage to find ourselves “boxed in” as we wait our turn — customers on either end, us and the raunchy titles in the middle.

As I puzzled out loud to the nice gal on the other end of the phone regarding just what it was her store was now selling, I also lamented that not only was it not an appropriate video for a young teenager, we resented being held hostage to this type of marketing ploy.  (Anyone who’s schlepped five kids to the clothing store knows what a true hostage situation is.)

From her tone, I knew she thought I live in a bubble.  She’s right.

Our household has fashioned a comfortable “bubble” for a reason.  It is not to render my kids ill-equipped to live in real world some day.   It’s to prepare them so they can.

The bubble is a safe place for us to love our kids apart from worldly influences, to pour God’s word into their hearts — the full and beautiful measure of His love, mercy and faith.  So that one day they’ll know that they are different and set apart — not by their parents — but by a Savior who gave all just for them and for all who believe and who is fiercely protective of their eyes, ears and hearts.

Under the protection of this bubble they will drink it up, understand it, and be ready one day to face the dressing rooms and check-out lanes of life.

Because the expansive tide of popular American culture is strong and relentless, and much of it seeks to erode all that I hold dear, and what I know to be true.

And these kids need to hear the truth.  Lots of it.  All the time.  Because one day they’re going to stand on the beach of popular culture.  And they’ll draw their own line.