On October 2nd at 9:30 our Mother’s of Preschoolers group at Crossroads is presenting a program designed to protect your children from child predators. Jon Holsten a police sergeant and former child sex crimes investigator from Fort Collins, Colorado will be addressing parents, grandparents and other interested adults about how they can safe guard their kids.
I strongly believe that precaution and preparation are needed if parents are to be able to adequately protect their children in our current society.
Precaution, Preparation and Prayer: Wisdom for Safeguarding Your Family
By Maryellen Stipe
Our vulnerability to threats to our safety and the safety of our loved ones is increasingly on our minds these days. In a society plagued by child abductions, sexual abuse and the exploitation of children via the porn industry parents are being forced to deal with many ugly realities as they raise kids. Foreseeing and preparing for encounters with potentially dangerous situations has become a necessary part of educating children.
“Stranger danger” used to be the common phrase used when referring to the topic of teaching children about threats to their safety. But now teaching our children about mere “stranger danger” has proven incredibly anemic. The proportions of possible risks to our children have been expanded before our very eyes, and research has uncovered that in regard to sexual abuse of children those who commit such acts tend to NOT be strangers at all. Now we know that in approximately 90% of the cases of child sexual abuse the abuser is part of the known social network of the child.
Such realities rock our sensibilities and tend to cause us to overreact. But the truth is–no matter how heinous the dangers–the single most important thing we can do to protect our children is to-instill confidence rather than fear.
You want to equip your children with the strategies that they will need to protect themselves.
You want to let them know that they are not alone, and that resources for protection are always near.
And you want your boy or girl to think clearly and resourcefully and respond quickly if he or she gets into a situation where they are in jeopardy.
As a part of their protection our kids should know that the God of Heaven is always on their side and that He opposes evil. But they should also be aware that there is a network of trustworthy adults such as policemen, security guards, fire and rescue personnel, teachers and others to whom they can always turn for support and aid.
God is ultimately the victor over evil but it is also undeniable we are in a violent conflict of good and evil where there can be casualties. Scripture communicates a balance between God’s protection of us and our vulnerability to evil. The Bible tells us to pray and ask God for protection but at the same time to be aware of and alert to the schemes of the Evil One.
Scripture admonishes us, Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:7-9 (NLT)
When protecting your children, the first step should be to empower your children while taking care not to intimidate them or overly scare them with the evil nature of this world.
You should furnish them with the attitude of an over comer, a survivor and be careful to avoid promoting a victim mentality. Let your kids know that they are valued by you and by God and that they have a will and a voice. No matter how young they are they can reach out for help in time of trouble.
You should also become knowledgeable yourself about safety strategies and procedures. This is important so that you can in turn, move and proactively educate your children giving them the tools they need to keep themselves safe. Up-to-date classes and seminars such as “Protecting Your Child from Predators, The Swimsuit Lesson” by Jon Holsten and others address the threats to the safety of children and can be attended in most communities. There are also multiple websites dedicated to the safety of families and especially children.
We teach our children a myriad of safety rules when they are young, but talking with them about things such as violent intruders, terrorism, child abduction or sexual abuse can elude us.
These are difficult topics indeed and most are just not prepared to breech such subjects. As a Christian community however we can no longer afford to bury our head in the sand and deny what is going on around us. Planning on how we will deal with the mounting level of evil that surrounds us is called for, and educating our children about how to be safe is vital. The apostle Paul warned the believers in Corinth that were part of a very corrupt first century society. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Cor 16:13 (NLT)
A final and overarching measure that must be taken by all of us on a daily basis is to pray diligently for the protection of our families. We can make all kinds of plans for our own protection and the welfare of our household but the Bible is succinct in giving us the bottom line: Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalms 127:1 (NKJV). We should implore the Lord’s help in protecting our households and always know that He is our first and last line of defense.
David, the boy who slew Goliath, the man who ran for years dodging the attacks of Saul knew first hand the ability of the Divine to protect. In Psalm 91, he declares, Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty…He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him Psalms 91:1-4 (NLT). David states here a principle that should be realized in the life of every believer: it is the person who lives close to the Lord in relationship who can count on the awareness of His protecting presence. If you constantly abide close to the Lord you will find rest knowing that He is always nearby watching over the concerns of your life.
Believers who stay close to God learn that they can trust Him implicitly and as their faith grows they come to know that whatever befalls them, He will always be with them in the midst of it. As Jesus left this earth to join His Father in Heaven, He encouraged His disciples with words that should equally encourage us today, Lo I will be with you always even until the end of the age. Even when dangers loom on every front nothing can separate us from the loving presence of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in this fact we can take heart. Our trust in Him should drive away the fears and anxieties of this world, in the words of the apostle Paul, And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us …from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)