Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Protect the Children

Permit me to introduce you to George and Alice. Like many older couples, they spend the colder months of the year in a southern location and the warmer months in their native northland. Unlike many older couples, George and Alice are Canadian geese.

A sign of spring’s imminent arrival for our family is George and Alice’s arrival to the pond in our front yard. Canadian geese mate for life; this particular couple has returned to our pond every year for almost ten years. When they returned the second year, my family decided to name them George and Alice.

Their routine is the same every year. They first defend their territory in our yard from any other geese who feel our pond might make a good nesting spot. Once everyone is convinced to leave them alone, Alice begins building her nest on our pond’s small island. Within a short time, she has a nest full of eggs. She takes her place on the nest – rarely leaving and then only for a short time. George spends hours a day standing guard on the shore watching for any predator who might decide to attack Alice or the nest.

If all goes well, a few weeks later we all have the joy of watching George and Alice swim around the pond or walk around our yard with their little flock of goslings. This was our scene only a few days ago.

I watched them quite a bit this day. Experience has taught me they leave the pond within a couple days of the eggs hatching. So, I knew this was probably my only chance to see them this year. And besides, they’re just so stinkin’ cute.

I quickly realized that George and Alice spent much of the day fighting off predators from their young babies. They were constantly alert; always focused in many directions. After all, the goslings were as vulnerable as they were cute.

Our cats would stalk them – hoping for a chance to pounce. But, mama or daddy would always spread their wings, lower their neck, and honk so as to scare the cats back to the deck. A turkey vulture would circle over their heads wanting to grab up one of the babies. One of the protective parents would fly into the sky in full attack mode, letting the predator know that these babies weren’t going to become prey. Even other geese would try to get to the babies. In fact, they were the worst offenders. Whereas the cats and the turkey vultures learned after one or two attempts, the other geese stayed after the goslings for most of the day.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner; its approach reminds me of my day watching these parents and their baby geese.

George and Alice’s protection of their young was extensive. One parent stayed in front and one in back as they walked the goslings to the sand pit in our yard, to the neighbor’s driveway on the other side of the pond, and floated in the water. They knew an enemy could come from any angle; they were ready. They knew their babies wouldn’t stand a chance without them.

Moms and dads, our children need our protection as we begin to take them out in the world. Predators may lurk among their friends. Schools might be corrupting them. Their internet and phone activity could be taking them down a bad path.

Are we watching from every angle to make sure they are safe? Have we taken time to get to know their friends? Do we scripturally evaluate the curriculum taught them in school? What about the school lessons which aren’t from the established curriculum? Are we turning a blind eye to their internet and phone activity? Are we teaching them how to recognize and respond to these types of attacks?

It’s a lot. I know. I’m struggling right alongside you in this attempt to raise godly children in a world that would desire they turn out anyway except godly.

And you know what – those goslings will come back with George and Alice next year. They’ll be grown by then. At that time, George and Alice will shoo them away so they can begin their own adult lives. George and Alice will have taught them all they need to know and they’ll be ready to survive and thrive on their own.

What area do you struggle with in protecting your children from a non-godly influence? Or, how do you protect and train your children to deal with the world’s attacks?

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