It was December 2001, Preacher was outside hanging up Christmas lights on a warm December afternoon in Georgia. The driveway was still wet from a short morning rain. I had just gone outside to encourage and thank him for working so hard to hang up our Christmas lights. Preacher hates doing things like this…..anything involving electricity or repairing something brings him much frustration because it usually ends up in some sort of disaster. This day would be no exception.
When I went outside he was already in frustration mode because he couldn’t figure out why some light bulbs were not working. He was barefoot on the wet pavement. I had on tennis shoes. As I was watching him, he picked up two exposed wires just about the time I leaned in to give him an encouraging kiss. Yep……….that is when I received the most electrifying kiss of our marriage.
We both fell down on the pavement and I began to scream, “I’ve been shocked. I’ve been shocked.”
About this time, 11 year old Trey ran out of the house in his camo with his BB gun ready to protect his parents who were lying on the pavement. Trey had heard me yelling, but thought I was screaming, “I’ve been shot. I’ve been shot.”
As funny as that story seems, Trey’s reaction to what he heard me scream came from the beginning of a new era in our nation……….raising children in the age of terror.
This generation and the ones to follow have become a part of a new era. This era began with our children witnessing the fall of the twin towers, hurricanes destroy cities, tsunamis kill thousands, gunmen murder people in movie theatres, teenagers kill and wound fellow students in classrooms, terrorist kill those just trying to enjoy a cup of coffee. These children have seen it all in color on big screen TVs and on their IPADS and lap tops.
How does one raise a child in the age of terror? …….How does one raise a child to not live in fear but in hope in confidence??
- Limit their exposure to TV news. When tragic events are going on in the world, be careful how much exposure children and even students have to these events on TV, IPADS and laptops. If they do see tragedy, talk to them about it. Reassure them we serve a Sovereign God who is in control!! FOX news does not need to be the constant blare in the background of any home!
- Teach them God’s word! We need to arm our children not just with BB guns, we need to arm them with His word! We need to arm ourselves with His word! There is a reason God’s word talks about fear over 300 times. Teach it to them and live it out! “For God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 The “power” in this verse is the same “power” that rose Christ from the dead. The “love” in this verse is the same “love” that caused Christ to lay down His life for us! And the “sound mind” is a mind that can distinguish truth from a lie. We must teach our kids to be able to distinguish truth from a lie. When they are afraid, we need to ask them what is “Truth” in this situation? What does God’s word say? When we arm them with God’s word we instill God confidence into their lives and enable them to live on the offense and not on the defense.
- Give them Hope! How does one give Hope in this world that seems so out of control? The best way to give any young person hope is for them to see that Christ in them can make a difference in this world. Allow your child to serve others!!!
- Make a meal together for a family in need!
- Choose to go without something in order to provide for someone in need….make an Operation Christmas child box together. Or buy a pair of shoes for a child who needs them.
- Go sing Christmas carols at the nursing home or to a shut in.
- Allow your student to go on a mission trip……..YES……..even overseas or to cities that are far away!!! Parents if you cling on to your student in fear……you will raise a young adult who makes decisions based on fear!!! If you want to raise God-confident adults, lead them to make decisions based on what God is leading them to do and not based on fear!
Our world is in desperate need of adults who are risk-takers for HIS KINGDOM!!! We don’t need a generation of adults who cling to mommy’s apron and are afraid to take risks because of fear.
We need to raise a generation of young people who hold out HOPE to others! We need to raise a generation who shock this world with the love of Jesus Christ!!!