My husband and I got hooked on the show Sons of Anarchy. It is about a biker club and about as opposite from our lives as possible. Maybe at first that was part of the attraction. The show typically begins with warnings for language, nudity, sexual content, and violence. Despite that (or because of it?) I got sucked into caring about what happened to some of the characters and looked forward to watching each week. But somewhere over the course of the series it got to be a bit too much for me. Previously unimaginable acts of violence were now something I’d seen – and always right before I went to bed. I’d end up having anxious dreams about horrible things that would’ve otherwise not existed in my mind. We watched up until the last few episodes, for some reason I wanted to see how the complexities resolved, but sometimes when I knew I wasn’t going to like what I was about to see I’d cover my eyes. See no evil.
Guard Your Gates
So when I ran across a blog post titled Guard Your Gates by Sarrah Bessey I knew I wasn’t alone and it stuck with me. The post is a timely read for Halloween but offers advice that can be used any day of the year. In a nutshell, the post described how Bessey’s young daughter became frightened by trick or treaters and how she was comforted by her grandmother. The grandmother suggested to the youngster that she pretend her mind and heart and a gate around them. While something scary may be on the other side of the gate that we can see, we don’t have to let it in. “Guard your gates” became a phrase in their home long after the costumes were put away. Her little kiddos would close their eyes and cover their ears when something questionable came on tv and say “guard your gates.” I loved it. It is a gem of a post and I recommend reading it.
Grandmothers can be so smart. We should all be guarding our gates and teaching our kiddos to do the same. We live one house down from this elaborately decorated house. I don’t love and I don’t hate it. The kids in the neighborhood all seem to think it’s awesome. It is the talk of the school bus. I will stick with more of a pumpkin and scarecrow motif in our yard, the neighbors have the gruesome stuff covered. Bodies hanging from the tree and a coffin by the front door just aren’t my style. We walk by it twice a day on our way to and from the bus stop. It is all just store bought props of course, but still, I don’t look real long, because as our son says “the witch with the glowing eyes is creepy.”
In Pastor Bob Merritt’s book Get Wise he covers this same topic of guarding your heart. Solomon advised his sons, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) So that grandmother knew what she was talking about. It seems harmless enough watch a little violent tv, to play a video game, or use a curse word now and then, but we let a little of that seep in and we begin to get a bit too comfortable with it and have a little less room for the good stuff.
“Guard your gates” has become a thing in our house. It gives me a bit of peace when I see my son turn away from something that seems too dark to be good. Perhaps we would all do well to protect ourselves a bit more. Teach your kids to build a fence. We can’t protect ourselves or our kids from all the scary things in the world, but we all can learn to be better gatekeepers.