I repeat these three words somewhere around a million times a day as a less aggressive way of telling my three thriving offspring that what they're doing is bad. "It's not okay to hit your sister," "It's not okay to play in the toilet," "It's not okay to squeeze the babies head between your knees," and so on.
I use this phrase because it feels kinder to say "That's not okay" than to say "That's bad" or even worse, "You're bad," which wouldn't be true anyway because they are not bad kids, not at all. They are beautiful, innocent, sweet, loving little kiddos that just make a ba-jillion not-okay choices every day. But don't we all?
As I live side by side with other members of our human race I can't help but wonder if we're not also just a bunch of well-intending little kiddos making our own ba-jillion not-okay choices. There are so many good things in our world... so many people trying to do the right thing and trying to make a positive difference, and this is why I'm so confused about the universally accepted "not-okay" things that are being overlooked.
For instance it's not okay for teen driven movies to portray adolescent sexual activity as not only awesome, glorious and amazing but totally normal.
It's also not okay that I rarely read a young adult novel these days that doesn't portray sex, swearing, drugs and violence as acceptable.
It's not okay that public broadcasting stations don't allow most swear words to be said by those working or performing on the network but taking the Lord's name in vain is completely fine.
It's not okay for Victoria Secret to display larger-than-life photos of pornographic images in front of their store for the whole universe (including children) to see. "Pornographic is a bit strong" you say? Have you seen the posters? They totally are.
It's not okay to say demeaning and derogatory comments about anyone: male or female, black or white, homosexual or heterosexual, Muslim, Christian or Jew... But its also not okay to say demeaning and derogatory comments towards Mormons (who by the way are very much Christian). And its not okay that this isn't universally understood.
It's not okay that "living together" before marriage has become not only the norm but deemed as necessary.
It's not okay that my five year old son has already been taught the word "sex" (though to be clear he thinks the definition of sex is to kiss a bug... and we're leaving it at that).
It's not okay that teen directed radio stations are playing a constant stream of music with lyrics degrading sexual purity. Last time I looked the #4 song on Billboards was a song called "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo. I have never listened to this song myself but for the purpose of writing this post I read some of the lyrics (and wanted to throw up in my mouth). It makes me physically sick to think that this song is being listened to by millions of kids every day. I won't even get started on Pitbull.
It's not okay that a book review site geared towards educating parents on young adult books rated a certain book acceptable for 14 year old teens while describing it in the following way: characters use strong language pretty regularly ("f--k," "a--hole," "d(--)che," "s--t," etc.) and discuss their sexual experience. The actual sexual content is fairly tame for a college-set story: limited to kissing and making out partially undressed in bed.
Fourteen? Really? That is so not okay. (btw this book was voted #2 on GoodReads top YA Novels of 2013... so yeah, a lot of kids are reading it.)
It's not okay that women today think they need to show more of their body parts in order to gain respect. Just because men have wrongfully been revered for their sexuality in years past doesn't mean women should become more sexual in order to become equal. It should be the other way around. (I learned this from https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/the-moral-force-of-women?lang=eng and totally love it!)
What is okay, however... is for you to have your own opinion. And yeah, I know that it's a free country and the body is beautiful and we should express ourselves and yada yada yada. I've heard it and I agree. Our bodies are beautiful and this is why we should be modest and chaste and teach our children to be the same. And yes, this is a free country and we are free to stand up for what is right. It is so easy to stand back and let the world go on doing what the world wants to go on doing but it is incredibly important that we stand up and say something. That we do something. That we try to change Some Thing. And the only way we can change is to open our eyes, look around and admit that some things are not okay.