Monday, April 19, 2010

Scene in the Barnyard, Take 2

This is a continuation, or maybe an off-shoot of last week's lesson, Take 1. To recap, on a warm, sunny April Saturday, we ended up with an assortment of volunteer firemen, a fire truck, a first responder vehicle, and at least three sheriff's cars in our barnyard.

Apparently, my hubby neglected to crank down the nozzle on an anhydrous ammonia tank while the weather was cool, and when it warmed up, the vapors expanded and leaked out. This cloud of vapor caught the attention of a passing motorist who put in a call to 911. A quick turn of the spigot was all that was required to spot the flow, but when emergency services are dispatched, apparently they can't be called back--at least that is what they told hubby when he called to tell them it wasn't necessary for them to come out.

I told you that God reminded me that there is a battle taking place around us, and our children, every day. We must protect our kids from the things they can't see--both in the physical and the spiritual realms. One of my jobs as their momma is to protect them from the evil that they don't see. You can become pretty jaded when you look around you in this culture, but you also have to remember to be smart. Get used to saying "No".

So, all of this brings me to the second lesson God reminded me of during this interesting afternoon. While we are called to protect our kids from the evil that surrounds them, mommas and daddies also have to prepare our kids to live in the midst of not-so-healthy influences.  I can only shield my kids from so much, but unless I want to join a commune or move to a third world country, it is also my job to teach my kids how to live in this tainted world. You see, I can warn my kids to stay by the house when they semi or combines pull into the drive. I don't allow them to climb on the grain bins. I refuse to let them play outside while the fumes from the chemicals hang in the air. But, I also need to prepare them for the inevitable times of emergency or unexpected situations. God tells us in His word that it is not His desire for us to hide from every potential source of temptation or trial, but to be prepared to deal with it. Jesus says in John 17:15, My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. Do you see it? He says, don't remove your kids from any potential evil, but protect them from the damages that could come.

How do we leave our kids in the world but protect them from it at the same time? First of all--PRAY. Pray for their protection. Plead for them to make wise choices. Petition God for them to remember what they've been taught. And that is the second way--TEACH. If I want my kids to make wise choices and make good decisions, I've got to teach them. My kids know not to play on an ammonia wagon, but I've got to take it a step further. I need to teach them what to do if an emergency situation or an unlikely event takes place. Is a tank ever supposed to be leaking all over the barnyard? Nope. Did it happen? Yep. Where they prepared? I hope so.

We do this when we ask our kids questions like, "If you got separated from me in a store/at the fair, what would you do?" Or when we quiz, "What should you do if a stranger (or even someone you know, but you don't feel comfortable) tries to get you in their car?" Or maybe, "If someone calls and I'm not home, what should you tell them?"

We need to make sure we are also asking our kids things like, "If a group of your friends were making fun of another student, what would you do?" Or "If you and your friends were playing Truth or Dare and something went wrong on a dare, what would you do?" Or maybe, "If you are on a date with a guy and he is doing things to you or asking you to do things to him that make you uncomfortable, what would you do."

Another important aspect of teaching our kids to be safe is to teach them how to pray. They need to learn to pray for their own protection, for their own wisdom, and for themselves and the battle that rages around them every day.

Don't wait until you have a smoking anhydrous tank in your barnyard to see if your kids know how to protect themselves. Protect them when you can, and teach them how to be safe when you can't. Just like Matthew 10:16 says, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. THAT'S what I want my kids to be!

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