How Do You Protect Your Children?
A little while ago, I went to a Journey to Wholeness session and we were tearing down spiritual and mental walls that have blocked me for some time. And one of those walls was a lie:
As a little girl, about 2 years old, I was helping my mom and dad move into the next-door apartment that had 2 bedrooms. It was just me and them, before, living in a one-bedroom apartment. I can’t remember the one-bedroom apartment. But I forever remember holding my mother’s garbage can from her bedroom, which I believe was a wedding present that matched their hamper with the attached flip lid. As a 2-year-old, I thought I was happy to be there, helping my parents move from one apartment to the other. As a two-year-old, I knew nothing of the impending dangers, abandonment issues, or levels of abuse that would occur in the next 5 years.
In that healing session of Journey to Wholeness (as a woman in her 50’s remembering that scene as though it were yesterday) all the bad memories came flooding in from the 5 years we lived in that apartment until after I turned 7.
That day standing in the hallway as my parent held the door open for me to walk in with this garbage can, is forever frozen in my mind. It was like it was a turning point. And the truth of the matter, many hurtful things happened after the next sibling came and so forth till the summer my 4th sibling was due and we moved from that two-bedroom apartment to the neighboring 3 bedroom townhouse. (I am the oldest of 6 children.) I won’t describe the horrid acts of betrayal that happened in that home. I won’t describe the violence and abuse.
So I ask myself this year, in that memory, “Instead of walking through the open door held by my parent, suppose I had turned and walked down the 3 flights of stairs to find another family to live with? Could I have spared myself the pain, hurt, and agony that was to come? Or would it have been worse with someone else?” Though you might be wondering what happened to me at 4, 5, and 6 years old, suffice it to say that I am a survivor.
And though my past has affected me and influenced me, I am rising above it all. So with that in mind, have you ever thought about being the protector of the children, even from yourself? Have you thought about what it means, as a Christian, to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD?
Back on March 2, 2000, I wrote something on the back of an envelope while I was at a prayer meeting:
1) Idle words: Are you careless with your words, talking off the top of your head?
No Strife. And one way to avoid some strife is to talk to them. Let them know what’s up. You should explain the rules and expectations so when they get in trouble, and they probably will at some point, they would have heard the rules and expectations beforehand.
2) Ownership: Do your children have ownership in anything and do you respect that?
3) Generational: What generational traits are following your children that make them do one thing or another that is not all their fault?
4) Master/servant: parents to serve their children — children’s lives matter! There is a proper place and a way to serve your children. Keep reading.
Honor them… respect their privacy and do unto them as you would want them to do unto you – the Golden Rule.
Support them… congratulate them when they do a job well done. Help investigate other avenues when they reach a stumbling block. Attend their sports game. Encouragement is a form of support as well.
Hold them yet let them go…. There is this thing that happens with a lot of moms of letting their children go in their hearts or spirit when the children turn 3 years old. Don’t do that. Fight that urge for whatever reason it comes up. I could feel it happening with my son, and I assumed it was because my husband was always claiming his son as HIS SON. So I let go. Then I heard about others around me who did the same thing, and I realized that was not a good thing to do no matter the reason.
5) Fruits of the spirit: Meekness (gentleness), Humility (humbleness), Love bearing all, Be forgiving.
Unconditional LOVE… is so key. We should love our children without expecting payment of love or kind acts just because we loved them. It would be nice if they could give unconditional love back to us all the time but is that realistic to expect?
Cherish them… which means being present to them and with them…not distant with your mind elsewhere while you’re with them. It’s another form of love.
Hold them… most children like some physical touch even if it’s limited. My baby girl sat on my lap (sometimes) until she was 17, 18 years old. And even now in her 20’s, she may still occasionally put her head on my shoulder while in church.
How can we protect our children as much as possible if we have let them go in our hearts, spirit, and mind? Both parents can hold a child in their hearts and mind. Let children make their mistakes and help them if they ask. Or have an answer to possible solutions when they come to share with you after a mistake.
Let them grow up…gradually versus making them act and be responsible for things like a much older child or an adult. I insisted that my children were to be children while they were children. I tried to shield them from real-life heartaches that they did not have to be involved with. I did speak the truth when they wanted extravagance that was not in our current spending plan. And I would tell them to pray for those things. They did get many of those things after they were 18 and out of my home, whether it was gifted to them or they bought it themselves.
So in conclusion of my notes on the back of this envelope, I wrote in 2000,
Earnestly Hold them,
Soothingly love them,
Peacefully deal with them without strife.
Eagerly forgive them and encourage them.
Calmly rule over them… (resist the urge to yell and threaten).
Teach them respect. There’s nothing wrong with saying yes, ma’am, or no sir, thank you or excuse me. Manners can take them a long way.
Want a child to learn respect? Show respect to them. These have been some hints for how to do just that.
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