by Kristen A. Jenson

Gift of CourageWhat does courage have to do with porn-proofing kids? Lots! Ultimately, after all we do as parents, our  kids will need the courage to reject pornography while their peers may be seeking it out. (You may be interested to know that the root of the word courage is the Latin word for heart–cor. To have heart. To take heart.)

What is courage?

Courage is a fundamental, foundational value. C.S. Lewis observed in The Screwtape Letters that, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” He later points out that even Pilate was merciful to Jesus until it became risky.

Think about it—it often takes courage to be kind to an underdog or apologize when you’ve messed up. It takes courage to be different. It takes courage to defend your beliefs, protect your rights or speak out against exploitation. I have a plaque in my office that reads “Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.” (It was given to me by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of PornHarms, who knows what it means to courageously speak the truth against the porn industry.)

speak the truthSo how do we help our kids make the courageous decisions that will keep them free peer pressure, pornography or addiction?

Five ideas that can help your kids become courageous

1. Define: Explain what courage is and why it’s important to be courageous. Here’s my definition: “Courage is the ability to act even when you fear the consequences.” Author Linda Eyre defines courage as doing the right thing even when it’s hard (and even when other kids call you “chicken”!). Maybe your family can come up with your own definition.

2. Empathize: Let you kids know that you understand that it takes courage to protect their brain from pornography when other kids are looking at it. It may take courage to come and tell you if they’ve seen it accidentally, or to report that a friend or family member exposed them to it. This helps kids realize that it’s normal for some things to be difficult. Everyone has fears and being courageous can be hard. All the more reason to…

3. Praise: When your kids do anything to overcome fears, praise them. Tell them how proud you are of their courageous actions.

4. Recognize: Point out courage in others. When you see a story of someone exhibiting courage, help your kids to recognize it. Especially share stories of family members or ancestors who have been courageous. (Read more about the value of telling family stories for a child’s mental health and well-being.)

5. Model: Finally, and maybe most importantly, model courageous behavior yourself.  And don’t be shy in pointing it out to your kids. Have you overcome fears in order to pursue your goals, defend your convictions, protect your brain, or help someone else?

For more ideas about instilling courage in kids, read this.

Is courage like a muscle?

I’m not sure I want to admit how scary it’s been to publish and promote Good Pictures Bad Pictures this past year. To begin with, I  taped a promo video for the book—definitely scary! And for the first time in my life, I was interviewed on radio shows, asked to speak on webinars, and even presented at a national conference. Yikes!

There have been times when I’ve moaned, “How did I get myself into this?”

But here’s what I’ve discovered: The more courage I muster, the more confidence I develop.


Copyrighted illustration from the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids

Maybe courage is like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets!

What have you taught your kids about courage? Do they understand how courage can protect their brain from pornography?

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Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.