Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rabbit Tales--Part 2

On Monday, I told you about acquiring Justice’s rabbits for 4-H. They were tiny little fur balls when we brought them home. Polish rabbits are small-sized; ours only made it to about 8-pounds. They have silky-soft fur, big, round, dark eyes, and tiny ears. The male, Midnight, sported pitch-black fur. His pen-mate was Clover, a chocolate color which consisted of rich brown and charcoal gray.

Midnight and Clover lived in our gardening shed all spring and summer. Justice feed them, emptied their poop pan, and worked with them to prepare them for showing. They were on a strict diet of measured rabbit chow and an occasional handful of greens or a half a baby carrot. Every so often, the kids would haul out the big dog kennel and let the rabbits enjoy an afternoon in the sun, amid the cool grass.

The rabbits were frightened at first, but after a few minutes, they’d warm up to the arrangement and hop lazily around their enclosure. But the kids could never venture very far from the cage, because, while the rabbits felt safe, the barn cats thought they looked good enough to eat. If the rabbits could have slipped through the bars, they would have been the main dish in a kitty potluck. Their boundaries gave them freedom and kept them safe from the harmful influences just waiting to pounce.

It’s like that with our kids too. We give them boundaries and in those boundaries, they have freedom. They know where the line is, and as long as they don’t cross it, they stay safe. But, like our little bunnies, there are those who are waiting and watching and seeking to harm them as soon as they get a chance. Evil people and ungodly forces are a real threat, so we stand guard. It is best if we can allow our kids the freedom to move about and wander on their own. We could hold Midnight and Clover on our laps in the backyard, but they would never experience the joy of cool green grass on their little bunny backs or relish the warm spring sunshine on their soft fur. Same for our kids; it is exposing them to the dangers around them that they learn how far to go.

We want to give our kids boundaries so they can grow and learn and explore in a setting of safety. They flourish when we give them opportunities to stretch their legs and “hop” around in environments with boundaries. We watch them and guard them for the forces that would seek to destroy. And in those times when we can’t protect them, can’t watch them, can’t possibly ensure their safety, we entrust them to the Master Bunny-Keeper. He always has it all under control.

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