A Full-time Job
“I command you----be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
My husband and I have four children. When our kids began going over to friends’ houses to play, I had a set of questions I would ask the parents. To be honest, I felt like a prude, but I was convicted that it was the wise thing to do. Do you have weapons in your home? If so, are they locked away? Do you have pornography in your home? Do you allow your kids to view PG13 or R rated movies, or play T or M rated video games? I found that parents were happy to answer my questions and I could have the peace of mind in sending my child to their home.
Hayden, our eleven-year-old, recently went to a slumber party. This was the first time he had been to this family’s home. I let my guard down and did not ask my usual questions. Why? Because I was afraid of looking like a prude.
I picked Hayden up the following day. From the moment I arrived, I knew something was wrong. When we got to the car, I asked Hayden what was wrong. He said, “Nothing.” I said, “Are you sure? You know you can share anything with me.” He blamed his awkwardness on lack of sleep, but I saw tears coming out of my son’s eyes. “Okay, Mom, here’s what happened…
They were doing things I know you don’t want me doing. At , someone put on an R rated movie. They were playing an M rated video game called ‘Grand Theft Auto’. There was a BB gun in the room and two of the boys were picking it up. One of the guys kept using bad language. I just played my Nintendo DS and sat by myself. I felt like an outcast in my own group of friends. I wanted to call you, but I knew it was too late. I didn’t know what to say to my friends because I didn’t want to seem like a geek, but I knew I shouldn’t be there. In my head, I just kept repeating ‘be strong and courageous, God is with me’…….”
I was silent for a moment, with many thoughts racing through my head. I replied to Hayden:
“Son, I am sorry that you were in a position of helplessness. When God gave you to me and Dad, we took on the responsibility fulltime. We aren’t just your parents during the daylight hours. You could have called us and we would’ve been there for you. I am proud of you though; you didn’t join in. You saw a few of your friends act differently and learned a side of them you didn’t know. It doesn’t mean they are bad kids, but it does show what some kids will do when they think no one is watching. It’s tempting to go along. That’s when you need to be the strongest. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but I’m glad you remembered your verse. Thank you for telling me. I love you so much.”
I cannot let my guard down in mothering my kids. No matter how old they are, whose house they are going to, or how I feel, I still need to ask questions and let other parents know the boundaries we set for our kids. Then they can let me know their views and we can all make informed decisions.
I know my kids have had their share of poor choices and misbehavior, and I probably don’t know about all of it! I can’t be there for everything, but there is more that I can do. I can build a home that is covered in prayer and that has a foundation which is built on Christ. I can make God’s Word a part of our daily lives so that we can all continue to draw from it in life’s tough situations. I can also ask the hard questions. Instead of worrying about looking like a prude, I need to do what I know is right.
Dear Lord, Life is hard so thank You for providing me with Your Word which can help me in any situation. Lord, give me the wisdom to teach Your Word to my children and to draw strength from it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Be the Parent by Kendra Smiley
Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope
Have a family meeting and discuss the story in this devotion. Ask your children what they would have done in this situation, or create your own situation that may better suit your children’s lives. Let your kids know that they can come to you anytime, anywhere without fear of losing your love or bothering you.
Do you have a list of questions that you ask other parents about their home when your child visits them?
Is your home “safe” for your children and their friends?
Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)
Proverbs 3:1-2, “My son, do not forget my teaching; but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (NIV)
Proverbs 3:21-22, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105