Do you have fears for your children?
What do you worry about or think about daily?
Is there something more on your mind that bothers you about the future of your child?
*Mature material included in this blog
I have a confessional. One of the things I think about the most and have the most thoughts about is protecting my son Charlie. I mean protecting Charlie from others who want to take advantage of my son. People that manipulate my son to get what they want. People that will hurt my son. He is now 14 and struggles with the effects that autism brings.
I think we all have different fears about making sure they are always safe and protected. This topic is sensitive and we don’t want to think about it. We don’t want to think that someone could harm our child. Many of our children, even if they are verbal, would not be able to tell us if someone did something to them that was inappropriate. That is so scary, isn’t it? I continue to pray for my son regarding this topic of safety and protection. It is our job to ensure that they are cared for as best we can, supervised by others that we trust, and loved every single day.
It was about 40 years ago that I experienced many shocks and stress in a row that it shaped the person I am today. The first was when I was about 8. I lived in Fort Lauderdale. I used to go with my dad who was divorced from my mom to his weekly bowling league. I met a girl named Lisa (both of us blonde and blue-eyed) whose mom also bowled. We would have so much fun together. That year we met Lisa’s mom had a boyfriend who she broke up with and he wasn’t very pleased with that decision. He later kidnapped, raped, and murdered my friend to get back at her mother. For years, I remember being terrified how close that could have been me. I was scared to be by myself or anywhere without someone to watch me. I didn’t trust anyone. He used to be so nice to both of us.
The next incident happened about the same time and lasted for more than a year in a half. I lived with my mom and step-dad with my other 3 siblings who were all elementary age. My step-dad also had 4 children who lived there and they were high school aged. I was scared, but 2 of my step-brothers would come in my room every night at 2am to sexually abuse me. It finally stopped because I would make up how sick I felt. They used to say how pretty I was in the moment but out with others would say how ugly and worthless I was. I didn’t trust anyone. I thought when I was 8 I could stop them, but after I became an adult and got extensive counseling I realized it wasn’t my fault and I could not stop them.
I share all this to say as you can see this is an example of how my personal experience has shaped my fears for my own son. I was fully verbal, able to tell anyone anything. In fact my dad noticed my behavior changing and asked if anyone was touching me inappropriately, but I said no. The reason I said no is because they threatened me if I did. I often worry that my son wouldn’t be able to tell me if something happened to him as he wouldn’t really understand fully the experience. I worry about kids especially that aren’t verbal and can’t tell us if someone hurt them physically, sexually, or even emotionally. It is our job to protect them. It is our job to pray for them to be protected and to give them over to Christ and trust Christ to protect them.
Are you protecting your child? Are you asking questions of caregivers? Are you asking for several references? Do you ask your child questions of feeling safe and how they can always tell you anything and they won’t get in trouble? This is such a sensitive topic even in the church. Unfortunately we see many news stories about folks that hurt our kids. I just wanted to remind all of us that God is our ultimate protector, but we as parents need to advocate and protect our children on this earth from others that may want to harm them. Our children are vulnerable more than other children. We have to think ahead more, ask more questions, and check things out more often.
In 2 Samuel 22:3-4 it says: My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
Continue to pray for all our children that God will continue to guide us to make wise choices for them, give us discernment, and help us to protect them here on earth. We are all his precious children.
-Blessings, Patty Myers
For more information on protecting our children, read “What is child abuse: definitions, signs, and symptoms” at Church 4 Every Child.