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Guarding What Goes into Our Children's Minds

By JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

We teach our children not to talk to strangers because we know we canít always be right there with them. For the same reason, we also need to teach them to guard what goes into their minds. Here are some examples you might use:

I purchased a large Raggedy Ann doll. On a piece of white paper, I drew a new face that had a blank look. Then I put a piece of plastic wrap around the dollís head and underneath was the new face. I knew we were having a family gathering, and I arranged an opportunity to teach a short lesson to my grandchildren, ages 4-11.

I showed them the doll and said, "When Raggedy Ann came out of the store there was nothing in her mind. Now we're going to put some things in." I put a small x on a rectangle piece of paper to represent a video with one bad scene. I had a scribbled figure of a person on a piece of paper and told the children that this represented an immodest picture in a magazine. I had another picture that represented a bad video game, etc. On some things, I indicated violence. As I showed the children these "bad things" that went into Raggedy Ann's mind, I pretended to put them into her head. Actually, they all landed in my lap.

Then I said, "When Raggedy Ann went out to play with her friends, this is what happened." I had her kick one of the children with her soft foot, hit another, and supposedly say bad things to another.

"Soon no one wanted to be her friend. Raggedy Ann was unhappy, so this is what she did. She went back to the toy store and took everything out of her mind." The children liked it as I made all the things seem to come out of her head. "Then, Raggedy Ann put good movies in her mind, good videos, good pictures, kind words, etc., and everybody was her friend."

Next I said to my grandchildren, "There is one big difference between you and Raggedy Ann. Once you have something in your mind that is bad, you can't go back to the store to get it out. It is there to stay. So let's talk about how you can be prepared to keep bad things out." The children were very open about what they were facing and we even role-played things they could do or say in various situations.

Here is another idea: I had four clear glasses of water. I let the children look through one of the clear glasses. They told me they could see through the glass. Then we added a drop or two of yellow coloring to a second glass of water, and the children looked through that. The whole world was now yellow and they thought that was neat. Then we turned a glass of water green and they liked that, too.† Last of all, we put mud in the fourth glass of water, and no matter what we did, we couldn't see very well, nor could we get it out.

I explained: "The mud is like things you see that are not nice. Once you see them, you can't get them out. Yes, at times you will accidentally see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, but getting away from it quickly and telling your parents will help you. You'll want to avoid as much mud as you can."

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