Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Garbage In, Garbage Out

All my life I've heard the expression, "Garbage in, garbage out". My mom said it, one of my pastor's from years gone by said it. It really wasn't until I got into my 30's that realization finally started dawning on me, what that meant. Then when God brought children into my life I really began to realize what it meant.
Merriam-Webster describes garbage as:
1 a: food waste b: discarded or useless material
2 a
: trash 1b b: inaccurate or useless data
With that in mind, I started paying more attention not only to my children but to myself. Our
bodies and our minds are easily altered, by food, t.v., radio, in general, the world. What alters our minds and bodies can and will eventually alter our souls. Hence, garbage in, garbage out.

I will be the first to admit that I love junk food, especially Blue bell ice cream
and mint three musketeers bars, yummy. However, I don't make those my everyday meals but even at that I can see how they affect my body, that's why they are special treats and not everyday meals, no matter how much I love them. I remember a time though when I could make a big bowl of Blue Bell my entire meal :) If I let myself, I could probably eat the whole box in one sitting!!

However, believe it or not I didn't start this blog to talk about junk food. Although it sounds
really good right now lol. Garbage in, garbage out is about what we "feed" our minds and the minds of our children. There is a lot of controversy about whether violent video games, head banging music and violent movies and cartoons are bad for children. Unbelievably, many parents will argue that these things don't affect their children. (Almost all (98%) of pediatricians believe that violent media have a negative effect on children.) Just like defining gravity as what goes up must come down, garbage in, garbage out. What we take in through our eyes and ears stays in the brain and affects who we are or who we present ourselves to be every bit as much as our heredity and environment. Children who are constantly subjected to violence whether it is pretend or real will be affected by that violence. The same holds true for adults. With children it can become the difference between fantasy and reality, with adults it is an acceptance and complacency. Each movie, each game gets more violent and more bloody and we see so much of it that it doesn't seem to bother us as much after a while. How do you think it is for kids who grow up seeing it? Even if it is "only on t.v." or "only a game". They may not show aggressive tendencies but studies show it does change their behavior. They become desensitized to the violence. They become less helpful, less caring. Many kids who already show aggressive tendencies tend to get worse. The health recommendations for parents is not only to choose wisely what they allow their children to watch and what video games they play but also to limit their amount of time in front of the computer, video player and t.v. There are even significant physical health problems that can arise from too much use of game controllers, affecting the eyes, the hands and wrists, weight gain from inactivity etc.

owever, I've strayed from my original intent. Garbage in, garbage out. What is taken into your child's mind (or an adult's) will come out. If anyone is constantly exposed to violence, immoral behavior, foul language, etc that will stick in their minds and that will be brought forth in their speech and actions. The Bible says to train up a child in the way they should go. You only have a short time in a child's life to teach them right from wrong. You only have a short time to help them mold into a healthy, well adjusted person. Use that time wisely. Teach them to love the Lord, teach them right from wrong, teach them the 10 commandments. Use your time to teach them. They will learn all about violence soon enough without the games and the movies. They will be happier, more well adjusted and more willing to help others. They will show more respect not only to you but to others and they will pass this "parenting" on to their own children. Don't let video games, violent movies and cartoons, violent foul mouthed music raise your children. Take a stand as a parent and say NO MORE garbage in, garbage out.

Now to clarify, I am not saying all video games are bad and I'm not saying watching television is bad. I'm saying choose wisely what you let your children watch and play. There are tons of games, movies etc that can actually be good learning materials for children. One of the benefits is teaching hand/eye coordination, patience, etc.

However, nothing can replace family time and
going out and playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine.