UPDATE: Our Enemy Has a Name...and It's Not "Learning Express"

I have a sin to confess.

In my zeal to express my concern with the “voodoo dolls” I saw at a local Learning Express, I wrote first and asked questions later. In the process I got some things wrong and I want to use this platform to make them right. I also want to get my eye back on the proverbial ball and focus on encouraging families, not orchestrating social movements. I also want to briefly confess my sin. We’ll start with that.

Last week I committed the sin of not listening to my wife. (If it’s not an actual sin, I think we can all agree that it’s clearly the act of a bonehead.) She and I talked about the “voodoo dolls” we had seen in the East Cobb Learning Express store. We were both concerned, so she suggested that I talk to the “head guy” at the store to determine if all Learning Express stores carried them or just the one near us. I failed to do this. Instead, I started blogging.

I posted my ramblings on Thursday and was immediately flooded with comments on Facebook and here at INFO for Families. (I have since removed the post.) Like me, many people were concerned that kids were being sold novelty voodoo dolls with choices that included several variations of a Devil that could “watch over you.”

The post was overwhelmed with hits. I didn’t know until today that many of them were from independent Learning Express shop owners who were shocked to hear that another store was selling this stuff. They were none too happy with me…and rightly so.

Based on the comments I have received today, I have gleaned that Learning Express stores ARE, in fact, independently owned. Each owner has some flexibility in what they stock, and a few let me know that they would never dream of selling toys like the voodoo dolls in question. They were concerned that my blog post seemed to lump all Learning Express stores together, which is simply not the case. So for that obvious lack of clarity, I want to apologize.

(And for the record, I want to state again that I think that Learning Express is an awesome store. They have the coolest stuff and the people I have interacted with have been nothing but gracious and kind.)

I have also learned that the East Cobb location is keeping the voodoo dolls (they’re apparently a big seller - troubling) but has removed the “Devils” in question. While the fact that these toys exist in the first place still concerns me deeply, I appreciate the owner’s effort to be sensitive to the public.

So there's my confession, my apology, and an update from my previous Learning Express post. I'd like to conclude by kicking myself for taking my eye off the ball. 

This whole incident reminded me of why I don't care for boycotts: they turn somebody into your enemy and cause people to draw lines in the sand. I became a part of the problem when my blog (which is designed to encourage families to be intentional) became a place where people could rally around a cause. I hope and pray that the only cause I draw attention to in the future is the cause of building a Biblical family. 

So here's the specific application: if you choose not to shop at a store that sells questionable stuff, that is your business. But far more important than that is the necessity to teach your children why the stuff is questionable in the first place. In this example, explain what voodoo is and then get your Bible out and discuss why it's dangerous...even in novelty toy form. Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:10, and Ephesians 6:12 are good places to start.

Ultimately, you can't tell the local toy store not to sell voodoo dolls. Just like you can't get Toys R Us to stop selling Ouija Boards. And the last time I checked, all the satanic heavy metal records that got burned in the 80's failed to shut down the secular music industry.

So my charge to each of us is that we don't waste too much time trying to stop the activity of our enemy in this world. It's apparent that he has some serious momentum on his side. Instead, spend some time talking with your kids about how he works, how he lies, and just how crafty he can be.

And remember, our enemy has a name....and it is definitely NOT Learning Express. I'm sorry if my previous post suggested otherwise.