This past week I was sitting with some moms at a junior high football game. While enjoying the game we commented how we cringe each time our child gets tackled, fearing for their wellbeing. Apparently it’s not only me who finds it hard to sit on the sideline and watch your child get jumped on! I was enjoying the company around me and the action in front of me as we watched the game together. Often times, during a game, I lose track of Austin in the sea of white helmets on the field, and this one was no different. Following one of the plays, a player remained on the ground after everyone else had stood up. The player rolled around in the grass a bit and appeared to be in pain. About the time he got to his knees, my heart sank realizing it was my little boy who was injured. After a quick chat with the coach, Austin walked over to the huddle for the next play. I could sense he was hurting. (Moms just know these things.) Sure enough, a few plays later he was along the sideline removing his jersey and pads. All I wanted to do was run down and hug him, but knew he would be mortified if mommy ran to his side. After the game and a trip to the school’s athletic trainer, the injury to his side was determined to be bruised ribs. The trainer advised he wear rib pads and recommended he not overdo it at practice the next day. Just a couple days later, with rib pads in place, he was back on the field running, jumping, and tackling as though nothing had happened.
As parents, we want to do whatever we can to protect our children from harm. We purchase mouth guards to prevent harm to their teeth while playing sports. Baseball players must wear helmets to shield their heads when running the bases. In hockey we wouldn’t think twice about putting the goalie in front of the net without the proper pads and protective gear. We buy the safest car seat when they are little and refuse to put the car in gear until all seatbelts are buckled as they are able to do it on their own.
It makes me wonder if we are as protective of our children’s spiritual lives as we are their physical lives. Do we put as much care into helping them know their Savior as we do caring for them while playing sports or driving down the highway? We cram our schedules full of opportunities for our children to participate in –which are all good – but are we scheduling time to sit and intentionally read God’s Word as a family? Sure we take them to church on Sunday mornings, attend Sunday School each week, and wouldn’t think of missing a midweek class, but are they the only three hours a week our children are digging into the scriptures?
These questions are not meant to shame anyone, rather only help us each examine our discipleship process at home. God has entrusted us as parents with our children with the instructions to be their primary teachers of who God is. The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. When we raise our children to not only know who God is, but be in a relationship with Him, we are providing the greatest protection available. His Word becomes our safeguard against false teaching and our source of guidance for how we are to live for a lifetime of protection.