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Family Room

Rebecca Hagelin

In your book, you use the term "cultural terrorism." Someone might argue that you’re overstating the problem.
In terrorism, you have a small group of people who seek to bring a world to its knees and make it feel helpless. Right now a lot of parents feel helpless. This is a killer culture. It’s after our kids. It’s a culture that does not have their best interests in mind and is destroying American values. It is very much terrorism of a different sort.

Can you identify a turning point in our history that accelerated that moral decline?
Absolutely. You can point to the ’60s, when there began a deliberate attempt to expunge God and moral absolutes from schools, government buildings and the culture in general. Because of that, you now have a drifting people who don’t really know who they are or what they believe, so they fill the void by pumping in all kinds of garbage. The Chronicle of Higher Education says more and more 17- and 18-year-olds are coming to colleges as freshmen depressed, on psychotropics, feeling lost and valueless. When you raise an entire generation in a relativistic, purposeless world where there is no living God, people drift around aimlessly.

You mention that moms in particular can set a better tone in the home. Are there practical ways they can do that?
I have a 13-year-old daughter. I have to gently remind her when we go shopping that there are rules about what clothing she buys. I don’t just say, "No, you can’t buy that. Are you kidding me?" Rather, I say, "Kristin, you’re a child of God. You’re a beautiful creature He created and you have high value, and we’re going to dress you like that." A loving tone makes all the difference in the world. When my kids go to sleepovers, they know that if there’s a movie beyond a PG, they have to call me. I literally go to Plugged In Online while they’re telling me the name of the movie so I can see what it’s about. If I don’t feel comfortable with it, I say, "I’ll be glad to talk to the mother there and let her know I don’t want you watching it, and I’ll be happy to pick you up and go for ice cream while the others are watching it."

Still, your book doesn’t come across as a laundry list of things to avoid.
Home Invasion is not about building walls that shut your kids off from the world. It’s about building within them the strength of character to live with conviction and live to a higher standard. When there seem to be a lot of no’s, I’ll sometimes sit my daughter down and remind her, "God has given me a burden to be a parent. It’s a responsibility, and someday He’s going to hold me accountable for that. So I have to live according to what I feel God is having me do. I love you so very much. Please allow me the opportunity to do that."

And yet it seems many Christian parents don’t take that responsibility seriously. Have you witnessed that, too?
Yes. I’m constantly amazed at how decent parents of values—people in the church—will let their children watch anything on television, [thereby] letting people engage in graphic sexual activity and use language in their homes that they would never allow warm, live bodies to do in their living rooms. For some reason, because it’s on TV, they think it’s OK. The mass-marketers are working 24/7. They’re never too tired, lazy or distracted to go after our kids. That’s why we have to work on a daily basis, not just to protect them, but to discover the joy in that responsibility.
Published March 2006