· Identify those areas in your community that might poison your child. These areas appear safe enough to the innocent eyes of children…they may even appear inviting, appealing, or enticing. However, the experienced adult recognizes these attractive activities and influences as poisonous flowers that threaten our children’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Teach your children to look beyond the attractive flower to identify the deadly lies and influences they hide—the hidden agendas, the hurtful designs, the life-threatening lies. Teach them the truth to counteract the poison offered. Provide them with the unconditional love and solid acceptance at home that will empower them to turn away from these enticing poisons in the community.
· Identify the potential players in the neighborhood. Every neighborhood has those people who prey on the innocent and naïve. Teach your children how to protect themselves from these players. Teach them to travel with their allies, finding safety in numbers. Teach them to think before they act and to discern consequences before follow. Listen closely to your children. Lovingly problem-solve with them when they face difficult circumstances and people.
· Develop additional safety zones in your community and in your children’s life. Nurture relationships with adults who can provide positive influences. Take time to know your children’s friends and promote their growth in mature character. Support the efforts of other adults, parents, and groups in your community that want to raise a strong moral generation of young people.
· One more task in this mission…pray for your children. You cannot follow your children into every potentially dangerous situation or guide them through every experience they encounter in life. You would not even want to. They need time to learn on their own…to get lost and find their way out, to fail and recover, to slip and get back up. They need the opportunities to learn when to ask for help and the humbly experience of doing so. In the midst of all this, you can pray for your children. Ask God to protect them, guide them, nudge them when they stray, and quickly lift them up when they fall. Make them the subject of your prayers multiple times a day.
Parents, this is your mission should you choose to accept it. Your effort in this mission will impact the development of your child and ultimately influence your level of joy as a parent. This message will not self-destruct in 10 seconds, but continue on throughout the life of your children. Good luck, Parent…and God bless.