My four children and I headed to the grocery store first thing yesterday morning to let my oldest daughter pick out her dream breakfast for her special feast day. As we were walking in, I paused for a few moments to organize my bag and get out my short shopping list. I heard my children ask “Mommy, why is she doing that?”, and I looked over to see my 6 year old daughter and my 5 year old son fixating on the cover of a magazine that filled all 10 compartments of a movable magazine rack right inside the front door. It was a common Philadelphia area magazine, but today’s cover was X rated. I’m not being overly prudish. It was really shocking. I was feeling all high on the Immaculate Conception and was completely unprepared to respond to such an assault on my children’s purity.
I ushered them along and told them I was so sorry that I didn’t protect their eyes from pictures that showed such a lack of respect and modesty.
When we returned home, once I was out of earshot of my children, I called the store’s manager to point out the prominent location of such an inappropriate image, and I asked that he move it for the sake of the other families that would visit the store. He was very gentlemanly and apologized and said he’d take care of it right away.
I called my husband and asked him to offer part of his Mass for the purity of our children, especially of my 5 year old son who is very visually oriented.
I considered discussing it with the kids at lunch, but I felt like I didn’t quite know what to say — which is quite unusual for me!
I’ve heard that these images sear themselves in the minds of young boys and can cause them real problems later, not only with pornography but with disordered desires of all kinds.
I know this is the world we live in, and I so desire, as St. Josemaria said, to passionately love the world with the heart of Jesus. But I can’t quite shake the lump in my throat. They stole a precious little bit of our purity today, and on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
By trying to address the situation with my children, will I bring their attention back to an image I was hoping they’d forget? If I let it pass, am I allowing that experience to fester because it’s unaddressed or leaving them unequipped to deal with it in the future? If I do discuss it with them, how do I keep my message positive, about virtue, but also meaningful enough to help them shrug off immodesty and impurity, and without being rude?