This I Believe {Why I’m Turning Off NPR}

In the vain of This I Believe:

I believe in exposing my daughters to the darkness of this world.  I believe it’s important for them to experience shadows of “that which is not the best God has for us” within the safety of our family.

We spend hours each week with adolescent moms.  On a regular basis we volunteer with a local shelter for families who are experiencing homelessness.   We don’t shy away from men or women asking us for financial help, we speak with them, give them money, at times ask them to join us for a meal.  We allow our oldest to play with kids whom we wouldn’t typically choose for her to play with.  We attempt to balance our personal relationships with those whom we want our girls to be like and those whom our girls can simply love and learn to serve.

I believe that there is wisdom in letting our daughters learn how to love within each of these relationships and circumstances at such a young age.  My hope is that  loving others, with practice, will become a visible part of their DNA.

I believe that Little Tomato and Sweet Basil will continue to have ample time to learn how to love, the ways which we choose to teach them at this time feel sacred.  So we continue to trust that God will make good in each of our children’s hearts from each interaction or conversation experienced within our daily lives of attempted service and love.

I also believe this precious season of childhood cannot be recovered, nor should it be hurried.

This is where the rubber meets the road.
IMG_0954We are NPR addicts.  Often having it continually playing throughout much of the day as we wash dishes, fold laundry, prepare meals or put up food.  Steve Inskeep, Renee Montagne, Bob Edwards, Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, Audie Cornish – all good friends.

Not only is NPR our primary source of news and information (Oh my… I just realized they have totally brainwashed me – I just quoted their tagline as my own words) but also our primary source of entertainment (Car Talk anyone?  Prairie Home Companion?  How about This American Life, Moth Radio Hour or Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me?  On Being?  TED Radio Hour?).  Please tell me we have some NPR fans here!

Really, I could talk about my adoration for NPR ad nauseum.

Then the 2012 election happened.  This was an extremely difficult election for me to bear.  Bickering, anger, misguided and angled intentions and messages, push and shove each and every day over every. single. NPR. broadcast.

I battled.IMG_0959I want my girls to know these concerns of the world just as deeply as I want them to learn how to love others.  I want them to know that poverty exists and stand behind candidates that won’t ignore the 97%.  Still, I found myself turning off NPR more often than not throughout the fall of 2012, attempting to find the balance of allowing certain stories and reports to fill my daughters ears while attempting to keep littering words free from her already swelling mind.

Then came the Newtown shootings.  Pain, killing, mental health, very graphic depictions of who, what, where, when.

Followed by the most recent Boston bombing.  Kill, search, hunt, lock-down, celebrating the captive.

She’s 32 months, Little Tomato.

While we have sought to allow her to experience the pain of this world, I no longer feel at peace with playing NPR news shows any longer when she is within listening distance.


My good friend, Susan, from My {Grace Filled} Mess, recently reminded me of a story I had heard long ago and since forgotten.

In The Hiding Place Corrie Ten Boom writes:

Oftentimes I would use the trip home to bring up things that were troubling me, since anything I asked at home was promptly answered by the aunts. Once—I must have been ten or eleven—I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described “a young man whose face was not shadowed by sexsin.” I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her.

“Sex,” I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and “sin” made Tante Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?”

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.

“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

I believe NPR has become too heavy.

For as much as I believe that at such a young age we should claim loving others and an awareness of our privilege in our children’s  lives, I believe NPR has become not only too heavy for the fresh ears and mind of Little Tomato and Sweet Basil but for myself as well.

So we’re turning off NPR for awhile, listening to more books on CD and, now that the sun has begun to shine, getting outside to build more deeply into those relationships with kids whom I wouldn’t typically choose for them to play with.

But it’s all about love.  Right?

This I believe.

P.S.  A beautifully prescriptive post on how to talk with our children about topics of tragedy.


10 thoughts on “This I Believe {Why I’m Turning Off NPR}

  1. That very passage from The Hiding Place has been an integral part of our parenting choices. Living here has offered many a heavy load.
    Brian and I both list Casper ten Boom as one of our greatest parenting/life role models.
    And, we had to break up with NPR too. Lots of classical music for us in the car.

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  3. Watch out for those books on tape too! We were listening to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and at one point Tom says something to Huck about having

    • Orgies! I just kept saying to myself,”please don’t ask what and orgies is!”
      Nobody did thank God!

  4. Jess, this is so interesting. Rachel at Clean recently wrote something very simliar and I left a long comment there. My children are much older than yours and I simply can’t listen to the news with them. The stories are too graphic, too horrible and much too disturbing. I haven’t listened to the news for some time, I explain in that other comment I left, it has mostly to do with moving lots and needing to find head space to process my life.

    But I tried listening again, just recently actually. I felt I should “get informed” and it turns out I don’t want to be as informed about the world as the news-media wants me to be. I don’t need that level of detail and horror in my supper cooking, with my children standing close.

    I don’t want to turn my heart cold to the needs of the world. We support children around the world. We know, on an intellectual level, the struggles those children face. i do not shy away from telling my children about those hardships and then praying with them for our 3 sponsor kids (and giving them perspective in their own lives). But there is a point where too much is too much. It’s like the news has lots decency. Where is decency?

  5. Yes yes yes. I was addicted to the news and then the elections and tragedies. I’ve been feeling the same way especially after reading the first few chapters in Simplicity Parenting and seeing how much my three year picks up now.

    • Simplicity Parenting! That book keeps coming into my peripheral vision… A must add to the summer hopeful reading list.

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