I admit it, I am a paranoid parent, and a horror story like the kidnapping and 18 year imprisonment of Jaycee Lee Dugard only feeds those fears. By now we know the abominable details: a beautiful 11 year girl was abducted by a convicted sex offender and held in bondage for nearly two decades, forced to bear the man’s two children. Truth can far wickeder than fiction.
My natural reaction: panic. When it comes to my own kids, I’m haunted by fears for their safety, their health, their very lives! And I’m not alone. We’re a generation of suspicious, anxious mothers and fathers – “helicopter parents” they call us. We hover over our kids to protect them and guard them from this dastardly world. We have good reason for our fear.
My childhood was different. My parents loved me, but I grew up as a free-range kid. My buddies and I roamed unleashed, exploring the woods and old deserted houses around our part of town. We playing ball with kids from other neighborhoods well beyond the boundaries of ours. My mom would wave goodbye in the morning; she’d round me up for lunch; then she’d urn me loose again until dinner. Liberty bred a certain creative independence into me, and I think in many from my generation.
Childhood is not so innocent today. We live near a beautiful forest, but do you think Jill and I will cut our kids loose to wander and explore? Not a chance! At our last block party there were fifty parents all watching their kids like hawks. One of my neighbors and I waxed nostalgic about our childhoods, but we agreed: we’d never let our kids out of sight these days…
We are afraid. Can you blame us? Our panic is understandable. But it is also unhealthy. These fears infect our children, rob them of freedom and joy, and build unnatural suspicion and caution. Worst of all, our fears kills their faith in God!
We want to see our children grow to be strong and independent and committed to God, but we erode those very hopes by fostering fear in them by our own fears for them. What do we do? The first thing we must do to build faith in our children is to build it in ourselves. We can’t give what we don’t have.
There is one answer. The formula for raising fear-resistant kids is to become fear resistant ourselves. And the formula for resisting fear is prayer. When we’re tempted to be afraid for our kids, we MUST respond with prayer!
The Bible puts it this way:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
Do you feel crippled by fear for your children? Give those fears to God in prayer, and let his peace guard your heart. They are his children, not yours. He protects, guides, heals, and saves!