I can still remember it clearly. My 15 year-old self was comfortably seated in the couch at a friend’s house. A group of youth from the church in the community I had recently moved into were having Movie Night.
The host’s parents were in the next room and I had gotten permission to be there. I don’t remember what movie we were watching – it’s not important. I do remember that we were having jerked chicken when the phone rang.
It was my call.
My mother was on the line.
“Your father’s home.” She whispered. “You have to come home before he knows you’re gone.”
I found myself whispering back, “How am I supposed to get into my room before he gets out of the car?”
In order for this question to make sense you have to understand how the house was built: the driveway and the verandah were on the same level. In fact the verandah was more of a covered porch and led directly into the living room. In order for me to get to my room I would have to walk through the living room.
The only other option would be to (somehow) sneak through the gate, duck under the living room window, walk around the house, walk sneakily past the car in the driveway (yes, the same car parked directly in front of the living room door) and go to the back door.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the back door squeaked when you opened it. Furthermore it opened into the kitchen which is typically my father’s next stop after he gets home.
Needless to say that was the end of my movie night. I had to break it to my friends that they would have to take me home because my father was there.
Fast-forward twenty years and I’m still trapped in this cycle of helicopter parenting. Only, not only do I have to break myself out of the habit, I have to somehow break my father out of helicopter grandfathering.
The world can be a dangerous place and as parents our reaction is sometimes to build walls and boundaries for our children – boundaries that we expect them to stay firmly behind … even if it suffocates their identity and stunts their growth.
Is that you, my friend? Have you gotten so scared of all that could happen to your child that you don’t allow them to do anything or go anywhere?
Do you get extremely fearful when your child goes anywhere without you? Do you think that unless your child is with you he can’t be safe?
Me too. I get it. One of the curses of a good imagination is a good imagination. I can easily picture a thousand scenarios concerning my child – none of them good.
I don’t even need him to leave the house for them to flash across my mind. I can see him choking on a toy, getting burnt by something hot, falling off the bed, breaking a limb… the scenarios go on and on until my mind becomes a horror movie of parental fears.
This tendency to helicopter parent reveals a lack of trust in God. I recently read “We’re Not Okay” by Leah Grey and one of the questions that she asked was, “Are we trusting God with our children?” my answer: “No I’m not.”
If I were trusting God with my son I would believe that he is capable of taking care of him in all situations. I would be more about accommodating my son’s ability to choose (within the confines of God’s word) and less about trying to take away his freedom of choice in order to keep him safe.
Here are five ways we can trust God with our children:
Remember that he created them. While we carried them in the womb for nine months and delivered them into the world, they came from God.
He created them. He made every tissue, every muscle, every neuron; the very fiber of their being was made by him. He is intimately attached to your child.
Remember that God loves them. The love of a parent is but a reflection of the love that God has for us. Just as much as God loves us, he loves your son, your daughter – they are as much his as they are yours.
Remember that no one can protect them better. As men we like to think that we can defend and protect ourselves. That’s why we design guns and shields and all manner of devices that give us the illusion of safety.
Here’s the thing though: none of that can save us. Our weapons cannot save us. Our money cannot protect us. Physical strength cannot keep us safe. This recurring concept is found in the Bible along with a reminder that only God is truly able to save.
Remember that God is omnipresent. No parent can be everywhere at once. We can’t be at work and at school with our child. We can’t be in the kitchen making dinner and in the living room watching our child play – but God can.
God can be places where we cannot be.
He’s an all-compassing force. There’s no place that he cannot go.
Remember that God is omniscient. As much as our children may believe that we see everything, we don’t. There’s only one person who can do that and he’s God. Isn’t it great that he always has his eyes on our children?
Isn’t it awesome that he not only sees today but the future as well? That’s why he’s the perfect person to look after our child – he can protect them from things that will affect their present as well as their future.
Here’s a bonus point: doesn’t God take care of you? Why wouldn’t he take care of your child? If we can trust him with our lives, why won’t we trust him with that of our children?
If we don’t practice that trust in front of our child now, how will they grow up trusting him?
What are your tips for trusting God with our children? Share them in the comments below.
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