This is how the inflection of the "N" word has changed in our home as of late.
When they were littles we would say,
"NO!" as they toddled towards a campfire or electrical socket.
Our word was loud and clear,
no one would argue with the danger.
If the child would listen they were safe.
If the child chose to continue towards danger?
better a sore bum than a permanently injured child.
Sounds simple. I know it's not. (flashback to the twenty something year old mother with two toddlers wondering how an independent, self efficient child could be any harder than this!?)
The little child takes more physical energy...when they sleep, we sleep. (Thank you God that they are asleep!)
The adolescent child takes more mental energy...when they sleep, we pray. (Dear God please keep them safe and help them walk in Your ways!)
As we move towards the adolescent years the dangers are a little less easy to identify.
Now the dangers require discernment.
The pre-teen sighs at yet another quiet and firm, "No." when every friend has an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
The pre-teen sighs at yet another quiet and firm, "No." when "everyone else" can see that movie.
The pre-teen rolls her eyes at yet another quiet and firm, "No." when she asks for more independence and freedom on the internet.
"Why are you SO protective!?" she wonders.
And I want to spill over with so many reasons for the "No's".
I want to justify my parental rights, roll up my sleeve and show her the burns that come along with falling into the fire,
but I don't.
Right now I ask her twelve year old heart to trust us.
Because obedience born from trust and love is a stronger foundation to build on than fear.
This world says, "let them learn the hard way."
This world says, "they are gonna find out sooner or later."
This world says, "it's their right."
In this home we hope to teach them how to identify those soul dangers before they find themselves neck deep in it...
And when they are out there in this world and they come to those inevitable crossroads, we hope and pray they say,
"My parents said 'No.' because they love me. They must know this could hurt me. I better stand up for what is right and go the other way."
We have a heavenly Father who says "No." the same way and for the same reason...