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I would hope that by now I have established my religious bona fides around here.  So I hope that nobody thinks I am the typically scoffer when I say that this poor girl is getting set up for some serious trouble:

Deborah Drapper looks every inch your average 13-year-old. Her bedroom in Dorset is pink and filled with dolls, she “tweets” on Twitter, and she has a blog in which she talks about her pet rabbits, and what fun it was when it snowed recently.

But it is when she is shown a picture of Victoria Beckham that it becomes apparent that Deborah is very different from the average adolescent. Her face goes blank. “It’s someone with dark glasses on,” she says. “Someone married to a Mr Beckham? I don’t know her, I’m sorry.”

The subjects of Paris Hilton and The X Factor provoke the reaction: “What’s reality television?”

Deborah is in this (enviable) position because her deeply religious parents have ensured all her life that she is protected from the sins of the outside world. Instead of being nurtured on a diet of celebrity culture, Deborah has been brought up on a combination of Christianity and traditional family values.

She has never watched television, or been to school, and the only people she really sees are her mother, father and 10 siblings, most of whom she lives with on a rambling farm, which she rarely leaves, bar the odd trip to the supermarket. The Bible, as opposed to Heat, is her required reading.

Unless she goes straight into a convent and stays there, sooner or later this girl is going to have to go face to face with the World.  And for all the training and education she gets at home, I have a sickening feeling that when that day comes, her shuttered lack of experience and understanding is going to mean that the World runs over her like a freight train. I’ve seen it happen too many times (and, indeed, experienced something like it myself my first semester in college).

Of course I hope I’m wrong and that whatever innocent faith is instilled in her by her parents is sufficient to protect her from all the snares and pitfalls of the “culture” once she’s exposed to it.  But my experience of the devil is that in most cases he’s too damned clever for that.  Better to build up some immunity in the safe harbor of home before sallying forth to meet him on his own ground.

This, by the way, is why I certainly restrict the pop culture influence at home but I don’t seek to stamp it out altogether.  Of course, the article being the sort of article it is sets the whole thing up as an either/or proposition.

On Monday the nine year old gel and I started in for the first time on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Although I’ve read this story several times now to her elder sister, I couldn’t help noticing that I am using a somewhat different tone and inflection in setting out on this latest rendition.  While with the eldest gel I tended to be straight-forward and earnest, here I seem to be coming across more bouncy and conversational, “looser” if you will.   It is all quite unplanned and I can’t decide yet whether this change has something to do with me, something to do with the differing personalities of the two gels, perhaps is a reflection of some combination of these things, or maybe is rooted in something else entirely.


(Also this weekend I started reading Lewis’ science fiction trilogy about the adventures of Dr. Ransom.  (I’d only ever read the middle book Perelandra before.)  And all I can say is, “Whoa.”  More on this later, perhaps, after I’ve sorted out these amazing dreams I’m starting to have.)


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March 2009