I admit . . . I’m a protective father. I’m sure people have seen me in public hovering near my 2-year old as she runs around doing what toddlers do best. Playgrounds heighten my protectiveness. If Haley Joel Osment’s character saw dead people in The Sixth Sense, I see accidents waiting to happen.
Taking pursuit angles, re-directing her steps and clearing debris (and fire-ants) are just a few methods I use in effort to keep little one from dangerous encounters with things and people. If a fire ant bit my daughter, I would become the William Wallace of pest control, find those anthills and burn them down.
It’s out of love I do this . . . and it’s futile.
While watching this last rendition of the Winter Olympics, I had to wonder if the parents of those Olympians who thrust themselves down the slopes, tracks and ramps ever saw it coming. Were they protective over their child(ren)? If so, how hard is it for them to watch them compete? I think 100% of the parents of Olympians agree if they didn’t let their child face danger, they wouldn’t be an Olympian’s parent.
Even if Clara doesn’t grow up to aim herself headfirst down a track going 90 mph on a boogie board set on knives, she is going to get hurt. Many of you parents know this already and have seen the inside of the emergency room too many times. Maybe you’ve wondered each time how in the world you could have prevented the emergency from happening?
Sometimes we can’t. Try as we might, the physical hurt is going to happen someway or another. Band-Aids will always sell. Unfortunately, the emotional hurts will continue to be a battle as well.
If I remember childhood correctly, we weren’t all holding hands singing songs of friendship all the time. Even the way we decided how to play games was ripe with insult. Ink-a-bink a bottle of ink, the cork fell out and you . . . anyone? I’m sure their will be tough days during my daughter’s childhood when she feels she has no friends and everyone seems to be getting along better than her.
When she gets to be a teenager, I’m afraid I’m going to see teenage boys the same way I view fire ants. I don’t like to think about this, so I’ll skip writing on it any further. I want to be able to sleep tonight.
So, with physical and emotional hurts to come, thank God for reminding us as parents that He has our back, our front, top, bottom and sideways. These little ones are going to have to grow up to be big ones, and it’s not going to happen by sheltering, coddling, corralling or preventing them from engaging with the world.
Here are some verses where God reminds us about how much He cares for us as His children.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:13-14
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” – Isaiah 49:15
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:16
We love our children. God loves us. God loves our children more than us. God wants our children to depend on him more than they depend on us. There will be trials.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
But nothing separates us from God during these trials.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” – Romans 8:35
God will allow our children to get hurt to increase their dependency on Him. Their dependency on Him will allow them to minister to other hurting people during their life. The Kingdom of God will grow as a result of your child’s hurt.
Does this mean to parent your kids with carelessness. Not a bit. Maybe it means to celebrate the wounds God has healed you of through the perfect life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. Maybe it means to allow the upcoming scrapes, bruises, breaks and tears to serve as a lesson to your child that you care and most importantly God cares enough to let his son be wounded for their sins and the redemption of those who call on the name of Jesus Christ.
God loves us. He is a protective father hovering next to us. He lets us get hurt to accomplish his purposes. Pray your child will use their hurts in life to help see people alive and no longer dead to sin.
And watch out for fire ants.