In an alarming story this week, a 1-year-old girl was found crawling along a Georgia highway. Apparently, her parents left the house for a while and had put the other children (13, 9, & 5) in charge of the infant. The baby got away and crawled 300 yards through woods, receiving mosquito bites, briar scratches, and bruises from falling into an embankment along the highway. A man driving by happened to notice the infant, stopped, and saved the day by calling 911.
Now, before you read any further, remember your anger; hang on to that righteous indignation. It will be important later. Ok, back to the article…
As a parent, I admit that we don’t monitor every second of our kids’ lives. And, I imagine that every parent has experienced a “glance away” that allowed a child to get into a potentially dangerous situation. But I am quite certain that no parent would ever knowingly allow his or her infant to crawl along the highway!
Most of us have safety precautions set up to ensure our little ones never get near a highway. But it seems that many parents today have simply thrown up their hands when it comes to their pre-teens and teens regarding sin. I often hear, “There’s nothing you can do…kids are going to sin!” I also hear, “You have to let them experience these things.”
Really? I have to let my kids experience the spiritual equivalent of crawling along the highway? Why? Who says? Now, do I mean that kids need to live in a bubble? Certainly not. Bumps, scrapes, and bruises are going to happen in life. But when kids are unattended and unsupervised, where will they tend to go? Straight toward the highway…almost every time.
You have probably heard Proverbs 22:6 at some time: “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” But consider the verses before as well: verse 3: “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.” Or verse 5, “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse, He who guards himself will be far from them.”
‘Training up a child’ includes keeping kids from crawling near highways! What is the best way to avoid immodest behavior? Dress and act modestly. What is the best way to avoid the dangers of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? Avoid fornication. What is the best way to avoid violent and lustful thinking? Quit messing around with pornography and foul movies, music, and video games.
Why is the answer so clear for toddlers and highways, but seems so unavoidable for older kids and sinful lifestyles? I am sure some will call me naïve. “You just don’t understand.” Or, “Wait until your kids are older,” they will say.
I get that. I understand the difficulties. But let me ask you this, “Were you horrified and self righteous and indignant when you first started this story, thinking about parents who left a child unattended who crawled up to the highway?” If so, what changed, and when did it become ok for your kids to play near the dangers of sin?