FYI (if you’re the Hall boys’ mom)

Dear Kim,

I have some information that might interest you.  Your post (FYI: If You’re a Teenage Girl) broke my heart. Because I can’t help but imagine the way that the shaming words you wrote pierced the hearts of the girls you wrote them to.  And I know how they felt because I felt that, too. I grew up in a church that used shame to get girls to dress, act, and think the way that girls are supposed to. And so, I feel like I have to tell you something that I wish as a woman you already knew: Shame doesn’t make women whole.

I also feel like I have to let you know that I think I agree with you on a lot of things: I don’t want my daughter posting pictures like that of herself on social media one day.  I think it’s wonderful that you encourage an open dialogue with your sons about their use of social media and that you encourage them to be wise.

I just think your post could have been so much better.  I think that instead of shaming these women (because if you’re going to call your boys men, let’s call these girls women) in hopes of changing their behavior, you could have talked to them about their value.  Instead of warning them that they won’t be “good enough” for your sons,  you could have helped them think about the kind of women they want to be.  Instead of threatening to block them from being your son’s friends, you could ask them to coffee.  And instead of writing your post with an air of condescension, you could have been careful to ensure that you communicated love and concern.

I love that you asked questions, but your post doesn’t offer these women a safe place to answer them, all it offers is shame. Shame that they posted the pictures, shame that your whole family saw them, shame that you have decided they are no longer worthy to be your children’s friends. If you want to block them from your sons’ social media, that’s definitely your prerogative as a parent (and possibly wisdom), but it’s not the reason that what they’re doing is not what’s best for them.

And I guess that’s what I wanted to say to you the most.  The primary offense here is not against you. Or your sons. Or your family social media surfing time. It’s against God and against his image in another person.  Your words are so clouded by your offense that they don’t offer much healing, even though it seems like you honestly meant them to at the end of your post.

Kim, I don’t mean to attack you– I just see this as evidence of a bigger problem in the Church. We want immediate results and we want good behavior, so we do whatever we can to get those things as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, we all suffer because we are more concerned with good behavior than what a person believes.  Let’s be mothers that raise children who think carefully, honestly, and biblically about what they do and say and who see and value the image of God in themselves and other people.