Friday, August 15, 2014

Freedom to Parent

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
The necessity of God's intervention to experience freedom, both from imminent, life threatening dangers and from terrors produced by the imagination when all one's senses must be kept on constant alert to dangers lurking around every corner. (taken from the Holman's Study Bible for Women)

I have been involved with the MOPS program at the Heights Baptist Church as a mentor for several years. For those who aren't familiar with MOPS, it is an international organization and the acronym stands for Moms of Preschoolers.  It was started in 1973 by a group of moms who needed each other to lend their own experiences and support as they raised and nurtured their babies and pre-schoolers. A place where they could land softly when the stresses of motherhood became too much to bear alone.  And sometimes a place where they could also share their fears.  And fear has prompted this post today.
Our MOPS group has a facebook page that is very helpful to find a multitude of things needed in this journey through the landmine called parenting. Yesterday there was great discussion on allowing your child to play freely in their neighborhood without  parental surpervision.  The discussion was polite and very understanding of everyone's views.  I wasn't surprised, because we have some of the brightest, loving, understanding and Christ following moms you will want to meet.  The conversation ranged from a few who allowed their kids to play in their cul-de-sac with others, to a few that won't let them out of their sight, for several reasons.  Some reasons were because they lived on a busy street, or their children were still too young, or the moms weren't quite comfortable with where they lived. Some of the moms who were comfortable with not being present was because of where they lived or that they had a large fenced in backyard, etc.
My job as a mentor is to listen, sometimes offer advice (when asked), support and share from my own experiences as a mom. I try to stay involved, and facebook offers me a glimpse into their lives outside of our meetings.  When a conversation occurs such as the one yesterday, I am interested and sometimes concerned with the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis.  When I went to bed last night I couldn't stop thinking about everything I read about the fear of losing a child.
Since I grew up in a very different era and also raised my own children many years ago I always try to think about the differences. I lived in a small town as a child and raised my own children in that same place. Were there registered sex offenders then? No, they weren't registered, but they were there.  Did child abductions occur then?  Sure they did, but if it didn't happen in your town or close by you never heard about it. The difference I think is the media.  I researched child abductions and before there is criticism about what I am about to say, I know, I know, not everything you read on the internet is true!  However, I've heard this before and if you pay attention to the news when an abduction occurs, most of the time it is a parent or a relative who has absconded the child.  When I hear about a child abduction, right or wrong, I sigh with relief when I find out it was a parent or family member.  So, how do I feel about this issue?  A little sad.  I think about the freedoms I enjoyed growing up and that my own children also experienced the feeling of safety as they played with the neighborhood kids. It's another individual decision that parents have to make for their own children. My only advice would be to be aware of sensationalism from our news sources.  After all, they are out to make money and they very rarely come back and admit they were either wrong or they added into the story what they think, not what had really happened. And pray, for relief from fear and for discernment.  I sure do love my MOPS Moms!  Note: I realize abduction is not the only issue, could be bullying and many other things.

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