I tend to want to control every situation so they won't be set up for failure. Every time we encounter a bad situation or a bad influence I want to pack us all up and head for home, vowing to live the life of hermits from now and and not go anywhere.
I recently picked up a book at the church library entitled Why Christian Kids Rebel by the author of Grace Based Parenting. While our kids are not rebelling I was curious as to why this scenario happens all too often and what we could do to help prevent it, because like all parents I worry about it.
Only 2 chapters into it I am already convicted. One of the main reasons he gives for christian kids rebelling is keeping them in a christian "bubble". The author gently admonishes us that as christian we have the least to fear from the world, yet so many of our decisions are made because of fear. But "greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world!" (I John 4:4). Of course we need to use wisdom (because the bible also says "a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" Prov. 29:15), but to think that I can completely control every situation in my child's life is a bit presumptuous on my part, and in the end more hurtful than helpful.
The author also gave great advice to know when to step in to help and when to let things take their natural course. Is this situation hurting my child or harming them? Hurting is when the child brought the consequence upon themselves or is a situation they can take care of themselves. Harmful situations are ones where they can not help themselves (think abuse or major bullying). We do need to step in on the harmful situations but we need to let them learn to deal with the hurtful situations.
These thoughts reminded me of a situation that occurred about a year ago when our homeschool group held their annual field day. Early in the day a child discovered a baby bird hopping around in the grass, apparently lost, and so quickly scooped him up and started looking for his mother.
It also makes me think of plants grown in greenhouses or indoors. Plants grown from seed straight in the garden are much hardier than ones grown in greenhouses. And those grown in greenhouses need to be slowly acclimated to outside temperature fluctuations or they will wilt and die their first night outside in the cold ground.
I must struggle with this more than other people. I must have control issues. Please tell me I'm not the only one! The thought of sending my child to over night camp gives me heart palpitations. Hearing of my kids having to deal with mean kids can make my blood boil. I really do want to box up my little birdies and fly away to our safe nest, but I know it is not the best for them
One thing I have to continually ask myself is, is my decision rooted in fear or faith? If it's fear we are letting the enemy control us, if it is faith we can't lose!
So I'm taking baby steps, as Bob would say. Baby steps to two different day camps this summer, baby steps to carpooling with new friends, baby steps to dropping Grace off at a new volunteer position at a horse therapy farm. Over night camp? Don't push it. We'll get there...
"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