Monthly Archives: September 2014
My previous post discussed how people in a naked culture grow up around the unclothed body with a normalized perspective, never learning to view the body pornographically. Can experiences of such cultures help us in porn-proofing our children?
You Can Stop the Cycle
A frequent concern raised in emails sent to us by fathers with porn problems and by mothers married to porn addicts is how they can help keep their children from succumbing to the strong pornographic mindset saturating our culture. There’s a very effective answer: stop promoting a pornographic view of the body in the home. It must be rejected by precept and example.
At their level of understanding, children should be taught the principles given on the MCAG website. They need to learn the truth of body acceptance long before they reach their teens.
You Have to Live It
But demonstration of body acceptance is more powerful than explanation. Children cannot be porn-proofed if a porno-prudish view of the body is continually reinforced in the home by how we act, even if the mindset is mentally and verbally renounced. Parents can pass on a true family legacy of body acceptance only if they practice it. In other words, nudity at home should be routinely seen without ever being treated as obscene.
For most American families, the practical living out of body acceptance would mean courageously reversing old prudish habits, establishing new body-friendly customs, and inventing creative opportunities for ordinary nakedness to teach its crucially needed lessons. Some new of these might be:
- Adopting the age-old, healthy habit of sleeping in the nude,
- Never shutting bedroom doors for dressing or undressing
- Celebrating a relaxed “birth-day suit breakfast” on the weekends
- Keeping bathroom doors open for sink or toilet access while tub or shower is in use
- Investing in a Hot Tub for no-swimsuit family fellowship
- Building a backyard enclosure for full-body family sunbathing
Practical changes like these are powerful when body acceptance is simultaneously taught as a moral standard. But to insure that this healthy understanding works at a social level—not just in the home—children must be shown that nudity beyond that of parents and siblings can also be decent and nonsexual. It might mean sharing that new Jacuzzi or backyard sunbathing enclosure with relatives or like-minded friends who are also trying to raise porn-proofed children.
As radical as that last suggestion may sound, it is therapeutically realistic. In the context of such social realism, fathers fighting porn or mothers struggling with poor body image often gain as much healing from past thought-patterns as their children find reinforcement for a wholesome view of everybody’s body. Beyond-the-family nudity won’t be intimidating if home nudity is already a comfortable routine.
Instill Body Acceptance
A picture is worth a thousand words, but words are still important. The family practices mentioned above can quickly kill body shame and instill body acceptance. But open verbal communication is just as essential in porn-proofing children as open visual illustration. Children will be strong in behavior only when strong in understanding. Still living in a world where the body is toxically sexualized, they will be bombarded with sex-obsessed messages in the media and confronted by people indoctrinated by them. When questions arise, parents must be prayerfully open and ready to discuss the truth and its implications. Body acceptance is a holy way of seeing that is stronger than the cultural falsehood of body shame. Only by keeping children grounded in the truth about the body can they walk in freedom from the lie of porn.
Pastor David L. Hatton
Imagine your child being completely unimpressed with porn… disinterested… unaffected by its allure… is that even possible?
Yes, it is.
Bear in mind, however, that we told you MCAG is Radical and Revolutionary… you may be surprised by what you read here. And if you haven’t read the main series of articles on the MCAG site, you should probably do that first.
It Starts at Home
When I was barely five, I remember being in my mother’s bedroom and seeing her naked pregnant body as she dressed. When she let me put my ear to her belly, I recall saying, “Hello in there!” After she gave birth to my youngest sister, I often saw her breasts as she nursed. Not until years later did I see those breasts again, when I did an EKG on my mom in the ER where I was an RN. Finally, caring for her at home as she died of a brain tumor, I saw her fully naked several times. How beautiful her body was, even at age seventy-five.
Here in modern America, most of our parents stopped letting us see family nakedness early in childhood. The assumption behind this restriction is that, after “the age of innocence,” the naked body becomes a sexual temptation. Unfortunately, that assumption itself plants the seed of such a temptation, the restriction inevitably cultivates it, and society reaps the harvest of a pornographic view of the body.
I’m not blaming my parents or yours. They were misled by the prevailing culture, just as their parents were before them. But I do blame the church, not just for its past and present leadership in promoting a sexualized view of the body, but for its negligence in theologically correcting this error through a mature, realistic, incarnational view of human embodiment.
The Assumption is False
Missionaries and cross-cultural workers living among naked people groups get to see what happens when this aversion to nudity is absent. They themselves quickly become accustomed to seeing nakedness everywhere. Although they learned the body taboo just as we did, they soon stop experiencing the sexual temptation it preaches. This alone should cause church leaders to tremble and ask, “What have I been teaching?” But culture is blinding. Its authority can render normally intelligent minds oblivious to the obvious.
But stop and think. What would it be like to grow up in a naked culture? What if the bare bodies of friends, neighbors, and family members became a daily sight? Bodily growth from infancy to old age would be routinely visible. Adolescent emotional worries about the physical changes of puberty would be replaced by realistic expectations. Young people would grow up with total visual knowledge of the opposite sex, thus eliminating any prurient curiosity about body parts and their functions. Pornography could gain no foothold in such an environment, because a pornographic view of the body would be nonexistent.
In the next blog post I will discuss some practical ways to teach and practice a non-pornographic view of the body as a means to porn-proofing our kids.
Pastor David L. Hatton