COLUMN: Everyday dangers

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By Jon Rohr

Everyone has had to do it, but I don’t think anyone likes it.  Yes, you’ve done it too! I’m talking about using a public restroom.  Whether you are on the highway or in the mall or even visiting at the hospital, sometimes you just have to visit the facilities.
Recently I listened as a young father educated his son in using a public restroom.  He was careful and patient and kind.  He explained about washing your hands and about being careful what you touch because public restrooms can be so dirty.  He helped him and explained to him and I wanted to cheer him on for being a great dad!
Public restrooms can be dirty and we need to be careful.  I just hope that father does as good a job preparing his young son for the world we face every day.  The dangers of a public restroom are one thing, but, let’s face it:  this world can be a dangerous place, too.  How do we preserve our children’s innocence and still prepare them for such a world?
Perhaps we need to take seriously God’s word in Proverbs: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Pr 1:8 NIV)  We need to be serious about instructing our children and preparing them to face a difficult and dangerous world.
Some people would withdraw, like refusing to use a public restroom, but I don’t think that’s the best answer.  We cannot run away, but we can prepare, we can protect.  As parents and adults we need to be wise in what we allow our children to see and hear.  And we also need to help them put things into context. We need to talk to them, engage them, interact with them.
Every day our children and grandchildren are exposed to things we never imagined as children.  A recent study shows that, on average, a child is 11 years old when exposed to pornography.   Another study says that kids see about 8,000 murders on TV by the time they are out of high school.  Our kids need our help.
Teaching our kids to handle the dangers of a public restroom is important.  Teaching them the skills and values needed for a healthy, happy, and holy life are even more vital. So talk to your children.  Look for those teachable moments.  Don’t steer away from those difficult subjects.  Know what you believe, know why you believe it, and pass it on.