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FIRST-PERSON: Protect your children against ‘ordinary’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP) — I don’t know how I survived my childhood.

My mom never bought me a bike helmet. She let me lick the spoon knowing full well there were raw eggs in the cake batter. My dad made me drink water from a hose instead of a bottle. And when I left the yard to go play all day, I never had a cellphone.

If you were born before 1980, you’re probably thinking the same thing. Did our parents love us? Did they even care?

We grew up in a different world, where viewing continuous daily news coverage of horrific events was uncommon. It seems as though the days of exploration are over. Rarely do kids venture out of our sight. To protect them from evil, we feel compelled to hover over them. Evil has a way of invoking fear, but the church should be on the offensive, not the defensive.

In an effort to protect, we run the risk of paralysis. We have become a people who pursue comfort and are hesitant of adventure. If we hold our children too tight, we may squeeze the life out of them. I’m not suggesting that you let your 2-year-old wander through the woods unattended, nor am I suggesting your middle school child go off with friends for a week with no supervision. Protect them from the obvious.

What I am suggesting is to let their failure rate increase. When they dream a God-size vision, encourage them rather than pointing them in another direction. If the Lord leads them to a dangerous mission field, don’t hold them back.

We are in desperate need of risk-takers — those who will risk a successful and comfortable career for a life devoted to taking the Gospel to the world’s unreached people. We need individuals who will risk ridicule in order to stand up for the truths of Scripture. We need a generation who will sacrifice their lives for those in need, risk-takers who care more about the advancement of the Gospel than the safety of a stagnant life.

“Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag,” we read in Luke 19:26 in The Message translation.

Protect your children from living an ordinary life. Protect them from playing it safe and striving for comfort. Protect them from a life of success and lead them toward a life of significance. Let them dream. Let them try. Let them fail. Who knows? In the process, they may change the world.

    About the Author

  • Lee Clamp

    Lee Clamp is the evangelism group director for the South Carolina Baptist Convention and author of “Close Encounters,” available at CourierPublishing.com. He is on the Web at leeclamp.com.

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