I don’t remember all the details because I was very young but it was tragic enough for me to remember the trauma. It was at an amusement park and it looked like an easy ride that I would enjoy. To my surprise, the ride was fast and it went upside down and my mouth hit the bar so hard that I started to bleed. I wanted off that ride but it seemed like forever till it came to a stop. To this day I refuse to get on a ride that goes upside down. Okay, so maybe I took to the extreme because of a slightly traumatic incident but that is what happens when you feel you have no control over a life experience.
Lately, I have felt the same way regarding bringing up my children in this world. There is a utopian world that I want my children to live in. I want it to be like a ride that will be fun and easy and they will thoroughly enjoy. When they are very young it is easy to control this perfect world for them because their Dad and I are mostly in control. However, the older they get and the more life they experience away from us, the ride starts to move faster and we are not as in control of their circumstances. This is when it gets tricky for me as a parent. I am constantly weighing what do I let in and shield away from my children. I have always held on to the motto that it is unhealthy to shield my children from the world around them. However, sometimes as I watch life around me all I want to do is to yell, “Stop! My kids are getting off this crazy ride.”
I think every generation complains that their children are bombarded with experiences that they didn’t have to deal with when they were young. Just take a look at television over the years and see how much life has changed. Our world is different and changing and not for the better. Our children are growing up faster and being exposed to things at an earlier age. I still believe that I cannot shield my kids from the world. However, it is my job as a parent to weigh exactly how much world they should get and at what stage of their life. There are things that my children should not watch on television and movies or read in books until they are more mature and emotionally ready. My job as their parent is to decipher how much world they are ready for. Our society is throwing adult rated material too early out to our kids and I am going to shield my children from it until I feel they are ready.
As a parent, my job is to protect and shield for a time. They will be out in the world soon enough and will have to decide for themselves how to navigate in this crazy world. God has entrusted my children to me to mold and to demonstrate to them how to live as a Christian in a sinful world. This doesn’t mean I hide them from the world around me but it means I am their best example of a life lived in this ride of life. I might be able to refuse going on a ride that goes upside down because I once had an unexpected and painful life experience. However, I don’t have that same option as a parent. My kids are on this ride of life whether I like it or not. I am asking God to help me navigate them through it the best I can. My children really don’t belong to me, they are God’s and I am asking Him to be in control of each of their lives.