A Full-time Job
Melissa Taylor

“I command you----be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

My husband and I have four children. When our kids began going over to friends’ houses to play, I had a set of questions I would ask the parents. To be honest, I felt like a prude, but I was convicted that it was the wise thing to do. Do you have weapons in your home? If so, are they locked away? Do you have pornography in your home? Do you allow your kids to view PG13 or R rated movies, or play T or M rated video games? I found that parents were happy to answer my questions and I could have the peace of mind in sending my child to their home.

Hayden, our eleven-year-old, recently went to a slumber party. This was the first time he had been to this family’s home. I let my guard down and did not ask my usual questions. Why? Because I was afraid of looking like a prude.

I picked Hayden up the following day. From the moment I arrived, I knew something was wrong. When we got to the car, I asked Hayden what was wrong. He said, “Nothing.” I said, “Are you sure? You know you can share anything with me.” He blamed his awkwardness on lack of sleep, but I saw tears coming out of my son’s eyes. “Okay, Mom, here’s what happened…

They were doing things I know you don’t want me doing. At 2:00 am, someone put on an R rated movie. They were playing an M rated video game called ‘Grand Theft Auto’. There was a BB gun in the room and two of the boys were picking it up. One of the guys kept using bad language. I just played my Nintendo DS and sat by myself. I felt like an outcast in my own group of friends. I wanted to call you, but I knew it was too late. I didn’t know what to say to my friends because I didn’t want to seem like a geek, but I knew I shouldn’t be there. In my head, I just kept repeating ‘be strong and courageous, God is with me’…….”

I was silent for a moment, with many thoughts racing through my head. I replied to Hayden:

“Son, I am sorry that you were in a position of helplessness. When God gave you to me and Dad, we took on the responsibility fulltime. We aren’t just your parents during the daylight hours. You could have called us and we would’ve been there for you. I am proud of you though; you didn’t join in. You saw a few of your friends act differently and learned a side of them you didn’t know. It doesn’t mean they are bad kids, but it does show what some kids will do when they think no one is watching. It’s tempting to go along. That’s when you need to be the strongest. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but I’m glad you remembered your verse. Thank you for telling me. I love you so much.”

I cannot let my guard down in mothering my kids. No matter how old they are, whose house they are going to, or how I feel, I still need to ask questions and let other parents know the boundaries we set for our kids. Then they can let me know their views and we can all make informed decisions.

I know my kids have had their share of poor choices and misbehavior, and I probably don’t know about all of it! I can’t be there for everything, but there is more that I can do. I can build a home that is covered in prayer and that has a foundation which is built on Christ. I can make God’s Word a part of our daily lives so that we can all continue to draw from it in life’s tough situations. I can also ask the hard questions. Instead of worrying about looking like a prude, I need to do what I know is right.

Dear Lord, Life is hard so thank You for providing me with Your Word which can help me in any situation. Lord, give me the wisdom to teach Your Word to my children and to draw strength from it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Be the Parent, Seven Great Choices You Can Make to Raise Great Kids
by Kendra Smiley

Out of the Mouth of Babes by Wendy Pope

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Have a family meeting and discuss the story in this devotion. Ask your children what they would have done in this situation, or create your own situation that may better suit your children’s lives. Let your kids know that they can come to you anytime, anywhere without fear of losing your love or bothering you.

Do you have a list of questions that you ask other parents about their home when your child visits them?

Is your home “safe” for your children and their friends?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:1-2, “My son, do not forget my teaching; but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:21-22, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.” (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This all sounds great, but do you really think the other parent would answer honestly if they had porno lying around? The kids are the sleep over did this bad stuff at 2 a.m. The parents had no clue. They could have answered honestly to your questions, and it still could have gone on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked the thought that we are not alone in our thinking. It is a source of encouragement to know that there are other parents asking questions out there regarding their childrens welfare.

Blogger Theophilus in Abq said...

Dear Mrs. Taylor,

Thank you for this inspiring account! It literally brought tears of joy to my eyes to read of your steadfastness and your son Hayden's recognition of the importance of righteousness and purity.

One "anonymous" said "... do you really think the other parent would answer honestly...." and "...it still could have gone on."

Nonetheless, all the times you took the time to ask the tough questions of the other parents made it abundantly clear in Hayden's mind what is right and wrong. That faithfulness on your part served to prepare Hayden to be strong and courageous to refrain from participating in the activities you (and the Lord) disapprove of, even in this instance when you let your guard down and failed to query the other parents.

As a single man (yes, crashing this P31 blog) I pray that if the Lord blesses me with a wife and children I will be as conscientious and wise as you.

You are proof that the Lord has preserved a remnant for Himself. May He continue to bless and teach you and your family.

Blogger Tamara said...

I appreciate your post...I find myself getting to the stage where I am going to have to ask those questions. I find myself asking parents if their child can come to my house because I don't want my child at theirs. I find myself NOT allowing my child to go to someone's house I probably would have a couple of years ago...and I am finding I am also not willing to have one particular child come to our house anymore due to the way my child behaves after this particular child leaves. As for the parents not being honest, do you think for a minute that means we shouldn't do our honest best to give our children a four legged stool to step on when they are going to someone elses home? We HAVE to ask questions. We have to. It is our job as parents to ensure the safety of our children to the BEST of our ability. Anyway, that is one mom of four's opinion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have made it a policy to not do sleep overs. Really nothing good ever comes out of them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again for posting your son's experience. My husband and I are raising 3 granddaughters now for 9 yrs. When they were very young I made them all go to church. My husband is not a believer and many times feels I'm too strick with them. However, I am finding that now they are older I encourage them to attend, but they often don't. I am convinced now that they still need to attend no matter what! I too am convinced that not having sleep overs is the best choice. There is a mixed multitude of youth that want to spend the night and are wanting my girls to do the same. What I have found is the majority of parents of these kids don't seem to have limits on there were abouts and viewing of movies and games. For me I do place limits, however, I can not place them on other peoples kids. It's hard to hear that "I'm too strick, or that I'm an old fuddy-duddy." Once I was told "stop trying to be the world's police" by a parent in front of one of my girls. Later I had all that blow up in my face in a discussion with my granddaughter. So, no more over nights! ;0

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