Food for the Brain

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

October 29, 2004

Garbage in…garbage out.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  (Prov 4:23-25 NIV)

In September, a national Rand Corp. survey of 1,792 adolescents concluded that teens are impacted by what they watch on television.  Significantly, teens who watch a lot of sexually suggestive programs are almost twice as likely to have sex earlier than those who don’t.

This is no surprise to most parents.  They have been complaining to the entertainment industry and politicians for years and have been rebuffed as a flock of Chicken Littles.  Now parents have research reaffirming common sense, but we must face the larger problem…our collective cowardice in using the truth to guide our personal and societal actions.

Periodically, Americans are jolted to our senses.  Last year, it was Janet’s bare breast.  Last month it was the Rand Corp. survey.  And still…we allow the barrage of filth free access to our children.

Feeding their brains with pictures of vulgarity to the max, we teach our children that vulgarity and promiscuity are just a “normal” part of life in America.  The changes in the life of teens that have followed this cultural shift are shocking.

Prom night used to be a special evening of corsages, pictures, and close dancing that might end in a good night kiss.  No longer.  Now prom night has become a universal expectation for “dates” to have sex…just because.  For younger teens, the “spin the bottle” game of the 50s has evolved into the “rainbow party.”

Doctor Meg Meeker in her book Epidemic tells of her teenage patient Allyson who was traumatized when a friend took her to a rainbow party.  “After she arrived, several girls (all in the eighth grade) were given different shades of lipstick and told to perform oral sex on different boys to give them ‘rainbows.’”

These teens are simply reenacting the sexual standards we set for them in the culture at large.  And television is the great cultural medium shaking its “booty” at our children.  Research confirms what we knew all along…so…now what?

Now that we are enlightened, now that our common sense is “informed” by social research, what are we willing to do to create a society that teaches our children healthy, respectful behavior based on sexuality that honors restraint and propriety?

Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, performs microscopic surgery on free television, working to enforce limits on debauchery.  But he works with one hand tied behind his back.

Under a separate set of regulations, cable, satellite, radio and the Internet are free to assault our children, forcing entry through our homes and into their minds.  Public libraries chafe at efforts to restrict use of public funds to provide sexual material to patrons, including children.

Pollution of our culture leaves us no sanctuary or refuge; the stench wafts its way uncontrolled across our nation.  Entertainment continues to teach our children that sex is an insatiable appetite with no limits.

Rapper Eminem fuels a passion for lust married with hate and violence.  Abercrombie & Fitch promotes group sex in catalogues and stores marketing clothes to teens.  Wife swapping is reality television.  And cultural icon Nicole sexually seduces a ten-year-old on the big screen “for the sake of art.”

What good is it for us to have common sense and to have our good judgment confirmed by research if we lack the courage to change?  How will we change what our children learn if we refuse to change what we feed them for the mind?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  (Phil 4:8 NIV)

Food for the brain.

Food for the heart.

Food for the soul.

Garbage in…garbage out.

July 2, 2004:    Abused by Freedom

See Archives for past editorials.