caregiver / childhood / motherhood / parenting

Preservation of Innocence

I was talking to a friend about the post at Mad Genius Club which I wrote in protest over being bullied into not parenting my children by gently steering them away from books I felt were inappropriate to their ages. She pointed out that I am arguing for innocence. It’s something we have far too little of, in this media-rich world, where almost from infancy children are exposed to television, videos, and yes, even books, that were never meant for a child’s eyes. In response, rather than attempting to allow our children the privilege of a little innocence, instead the reaction was to say “They will see it anyway, so why try to stop it?”

Why not, indeed? Perhaps because as a culture we now embrace pop stars who writhe all but naked on the stage, books that advocate ephebephilia and incest, but reject values, morals, and chivalry? I am not a perfect person, but I do believe that there should be personal responsibility in this world, a duty to protect the children, and the honor to stand up to bullies in any form or age.

I love my kids. I’m not going to let them grow up stripped of innocence, following their feelings blindly, and unable to think. That means I’m going to say no to them from time to time, and do things they don’t want me to, because I’m the adult, and it’s my job.

Boy Reading

I want my kids to be able to read voraciously, and to be able to trust what they bring home from the children’s section of the library.


12 thoughts on “Preservation of Innocence

  1. Thank you for this. I grew up with parents who insisted on innocence (I was 18 and working full time before I heard the F-word spoken aloud). It’s too easily lost, there are too many young children more worldly-wise than I. To find a mother who PARENTS is beautiful. God bless you, Cedar. Keep steering them right!!


    • I know that I can’t – and don’t want – to control every aspect of their lives. I do want to make sure they can come to me when they need to talk about something, and that they are not over-exposed to material that is inappropriate to their ages. I was shocked at the reaction to my criticism of a book on facebook, and I want to make sure that other parents know they are not alone, that parenting is still the greatest responsibility we can have, and the greatest joy.


      • There’s a great difference between guidance and control. I think the modern world has lost sight of that, and sees any kind of guidance as controlling.

        I’m somewhere between shocked by the reaction you got, and resigned to it. I know some people who were harshly criticized for encouraging their son to raffle a cow to raise money for a trip to Europe. Apparently, some folk thought they should just give him the money, instead of teaching him work, entrepreneurship, and the value of money.

        “I want to make sure that other parents know they are not alone, that parenting is still the greatest responsibility we can have, and the greatest joy.” Very true, very wise. I applaud you again 🙂


  2. The trouble, I think, isn’t that we’re not preserving innocence, so much as that we’re overpreserving innocence about the wrong things. Rachel’s example about the cow raffle illustrates the phenomenon precisely.

    How many of the carpers’ kids, who are being _very demonstrably_ preserved in the innocence of “money comes from mom and dad…don’t worry your little head about how _they_ got it or how _you’ll_ get it once you’re not a child anymore” (and who probably also think, again apropos of the cow, that “food comes from the supermarket”…a form of innocence that in modern America persists frighteningly often all the way to senility) will be able to provide a detailed critique of pole-dancing technique before they’re done with middle school?

    We’re not so much a culture that’s abandoned innocence, as one that’s abandoned all the useful varieties and fetishized all the others.


    • Very insightful, thank you. I don’t know if you followed the link to my post on MGC, but I talk about the balls being taken away from the Long Island School. We will prevent playground scrapes and bruises, but incest is AOK?


  3. Rules without relationship equal rebellion. I forget who said that, but it’s one of the things my parents used without stating it aloud. Any time we kids did something bad (hit each other, disobeyed, threw a fit…hanged Barbies, blew up a toilet, climbed on roofs…we were inventive little brats), my parents’ SOP was to spank us for the offense and then to tell us, “I love you, but you may not do X.” Our sin was separate from their love, did not affect their love.

    Certain movies and books were censored, or banned. For a lot of stuff, they simply didn’t have it in the house. For others, they would tell us, “I would prefer it if you didn’t read this. Their attitudes toward their parents are not loving, and we don’t want you to learn that.” “We don’t use these words, and I’d prefer you not to read them.”

    They boiled many of their rules down to “Because I love you, I say no. Because you know I love you and I want what’s best for you, you’ll obey.”

    Or, of course, get spanked and then obey 😉


  4. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;


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