I believe with all my heart in something very simple:  strong families are the building blocks of society. 
If we can create strong families, we have built-in units to raise up the future with love and compassion.  With strong families we can survive so much of the craziness that goes on in the world around us.  And parenting is key in this.  (I wrote all about my strong feelings on this in a semi-controversial blog post back HERE if you’d like to read it.)
I believe that our world is a good one.  There are so many wonderful people striving to do what is right and light.  But there is also much darkness and corruption in the world that we need to be aware of and fight against.  If we don’t take a strong stand for families and raising our children to be the best they can be, it is so easy to slip a little here or a little there until we are in the darkness and we wonder how in the world we got there.  It’s so easy to think “oh I guess that is ok because the other neighbor kids are doing it and I trust their parents,” or “I guess that television show is ok, not exactly my standards but kind of funny…” blah blah blah. 
If we all slip quietly down the slippery slope making excuses for not looking up and going the other direction, it doesn’t take long to let go of a few things here and there that we realize too late that we should have held a vice grip on.
Deliberate parents can raise up children to be noble leaders, to make good choices, to be honest in all their dealings, to not be ashamed to push a different direction from that often slippery slope of justifications.  
But it’s not usually the easy road.  
And often not the popular one either.
This weekend my parents will be speaking at a conference I believe is so important.  In my opinion it is one of the strongest contingents we have in fighting for families because it’s goal is to fight pornography.  And sometimes it seems that pornography is taking over the world.  
There are all kinds of statistics that show how pornography breaks up families.  It is heart-breaking.  It is powerful.  And I believe it’s one of the strongest powers of the adversary.  I mean, really, if you wanted to break up a strong family unit, how smart is it to aim something tantalizing and addicting at a poor teenage boy who’s curious hormones are raging?  Or at a husband who is tired and wants a little excitement?  And I’m not leaving women out…I know the statistics of women viewing pornography is growing quickly too.  Yes, if you wanted to break up a family, the pornography option sure is a smart one I tell you. 
This is one of the biggest reasons we sat down and made up a “technology contract” for our kids last year.  (You can find that back HERE.)  We are in unchartered territory with all this technology because it’s bombarding us from every angle and we didn’t grow up with it so it’s so hard to know the best way to deal with it.  
I’m so excited to see what all these people have to say about it all this weekend.  I’ll take any advice I can get.  There is also much more information HERE (interesting “5 simple truths” there) and HERE (resources and tips for critical conversations). 
Us parents need to have deliberate, sometimes seemingly awkward talks with our kids.  ALL THE TIME.  We need to have open communication with them and let them know WHY.  The ins and the outs.  And we need to be loving about it but also very blunt.  I believe in that with all my heart.  So boy howdy are Dave and I ever trying.  We never want to look back and say, “oh man, why weren’t we open with our kids about that?  Why didn’t we have the guts to discuss it?”
Sooooo, although I’ve heard it all before (and experienced the advice) from my parents and how they did it, (love THIS BOOK, but there’s so much more that’s not even in there!)  I don’t think there’s ever a time I wouldn’t appreciate (and need!) a pep talk and more advice, so I’m so excited I get to hear them speak at this thing this weekend. 
And boy do those other speakers look like they are going to be great as well!  

If you are interested in coming this Saturday, click HERE to reserve your spot.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, as small price to pay to safeguard our families.

But I’m excited I get to give away four tickets.   

I know the majority of my readers are not local, but if you are, and you want a ticket, note that in your comment and I’ll announce some winners on Wednesday.

So grateful for this group of people who put so much effort into putting this together to help fight for strong families and what it takes to keep them that way.

May we all have the courage to talk openly about these things with our kids and help them be aware of the dangers of pornography and how it can affect them and our society.  May we set up action plans when it infiltrates into our homes (which it will, no doubt, despite all our efforts).  And may we all, single or married, child-less or overwhelmed-with-children-crawling-all-over-us, fight to keep families, the building blocks of society, strong and whole and good to the best of our abilities.

Strong families can change the world.

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  1. Please share what you learn! My oldest is 6 right now, but I want to be prepared for all that is to come. I am in Florida so won't be available to attend. Thanks for all your parenting wisdom!!

  2. For those of us who are not local (which is a lot!) can I request that you share some of what you learn at this conference? It sounds wonderful! Your parents are such wonderful teachers and have so much wisdom.

  3. So awesome that you're posting about this. I don't think people really grasp how destructive pornography can be to families. My husband recently reat the book "Every Man's Battle" by Stephen Arterburn and said it was fantastic. I'm not in the area either but would love to hear some high lights from the conference!

  4. This is an amazing thing you are talking about. It is so sad how hard it hurts families and how quickly it tears them apart! Thank you for speaking out about it! I would love tickets to this! I am also in the area! Thank you.

  5. pick me, pick me! A friend had told me about this conference awhile ago and invited me to attend. I had forgotten about it until I read your post, didn't know your parents were involved. I am going and free tickets would be a bonus!

  6. I viewed the most disgusting pop-up last week and I was so mad I couldn't sleep that night thinking of the chance that one of my kids could have seen it. it was on a college basketball site! Shawni, what makes me so mad is that we parents are trying so hard today to raise good kids…and it's NOT easy. We have our hands fuller than any other generation I think with school expectations and extra-curriculars and just the way society is today with materialism and kids going in all directions. And now WE have to "protect" our kids from this junk! But why??? Why do WE have to do more? Why not attack these pornography sites at every level? What if we consider them trespassers in our private homes? What if we considered them like some pervert out on our front sidewalk flashing our kids? What if our children could be protected by LAW from these sites and those laws were enforced just as much as any crime against children, )or drunk driving, or serving alcohol etc.) could be? Why do THEY get to hand us one more thing to do?
    So glad your parents are speaking on this and I think all of us parents need to get really really mad and demand more legislation to protect our children.

  7. i would love to win tickets. my husband and i are planning on going but haven't purchased our tickets yet. our oldest is almost six so i have got to get on top of this before he gets older.

  8. I love the idea of this conference and thank you for talking about this. This is hands down one of my biggest worries for my kids (ages baby-8) because technology is everywhere. My sweet Dad said, well maybe we should just make sure your kids don't use a browser. Hmmm, probably not going to happen! I don't know if you've seen this, but here is a petition I thought for sure would go viral because it's such a great idea, but sadly hasn't gotten tons of signatures lately. If you feel up to sharing it I think it's a fantastic compromise to freedom of speech and helping to protect kids. It's found at: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-porn-be-opt-feature-internet-service-providers-rather-standard-feature/GF1RkqpJ

    All the best! I love your cute family and wonderful blog!

  9. My husband and I are already signed up to go to this, but if I win I could invite friends to come with us! My oldest is 6, but I want to do all that I can to teach my kids about the dangers of pornography so they have the knowledge and strength to stick up for themselves and families!

  10. My husband is the bishop of our ward and this would be such a great event for him and other parents to go to. Luckily we are local and hopefully we can go! Thanks!!

  11. I would really like to go. My oldest is a boy who is twelve. I worry so much about this so much so that we haven't had a tv for years. We do watch movies and we do have Internet and that is a huge concern for me. I do need to educate myself because while they are young I have more control but when they leave the nest then what? I need to prepare them better.

  12. I'm new to the valley, just moved to Mesa in mid June. I would love to attend this conference. Pornography weighs on my mind a lot and I try my hardest to talk with my 4 children about it regularly. I'd love to attend and learn more about how I can help keep it out of my home and protect my family.

  13. We live up in Seattle, and last week my 12 yr old son told me that girls were watching porn in the back of choir class. I am still in shock. Something needs to happen.
    I'm so grateful to you and your parents for advocating the idea to talk to our kids about sex at age 8. We have done that, and when he came to me about this, I knew he never would have if we hadn't had the talk so long ago. It really makes the lines of communication open, and not awkward. He knows I know he knows about sex.
    I'm not sure what the first step is in doing something here in my community. We found Utah's coalition against pornography. That website is great. We want to do something, but I'm not even sure who to contact at the school. I'm pretty sure most parents aren't aware of the plague sweeping through the schools.
    Please, let give us a report on the conference and any useful links for us out of state.
    Thank you!

  14. Shawni, Sotia mea citeste blogul tau tot timpul! Ea imi citeste acest post despre pornography. Noi avem trei copii si asi dori opportunitatea sa mergem. Impreuna, ne facem griji sa ne gandim la cat de multe moduri lumea se poate ajunge la coppiii nostri. Speram Romanina mesa ne ajuta sa ne sta deoparte de restul astfel, incat sa putem castiga bilete!!! Suntem locale!

    Ok wow my Romanian is a little rusty, I had to look up a word or two. We would love to win and if we don't we will still try to come! Where is it?

  15. Thanks Shawni for sharing! We're excited to have your parents this weekend.

    You can register for the conference at http://www.azfamilycouncil.org. Tickets are $10 and $15 the day of the event. Online registration ends Thursday at midnight, so time is running out. Another bonus of registering online is that you can choose which classes want to attend. Classes are filling up!

    info@azfamilycouncil.org for questions

  16. We would love to attend.
    Thanks Shawni.
    I loved meeting you this past weekend. You have taught me how to be a powerful mother. I can't thank you enough. You made our day even better.


  17. There is a petition currently being signed that would make pornography an "opt in" feature with internet providers. It needs 100,000 signatures by November 23, 2013. It is only at 33,882 as of now. We need help spreading the word. It such a common sense thing to me that I don't understand why it didn't start that way to begin with. The link that tells you more about the petition and allows you to sign is here: http://wh.gov/lDLSu

    I know clicking on random links from a stranger can be scary so feel free to google it and find it. Also, our local news did a story about it (KSL in Utah) that you can see here: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=27631200

    I am shocked this isn't getting more signatures! I've been trying to spread the word, but I have such a small presence online. I need help getting the word out there to help protect our families!

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