Successful parenting is as much about imparting wisdom to the younger generation as it is getting wisdom for ourselves. There are many voices clamoring for our attention – yet not all of them are worthy of it. Yet, how do we discern the difference? Sometimes, God has amazing ways of showing us!
When our oldest daughter was about 9 years old, we lived on our boat at one of the local islands. We were there for the summer before our family set sail south, down to Mexico in the fall. It was a test of the boat systems and the family systems – to see if we could handle being unplugged from the dock.
Our home, a 51-foot sailboat named Amazing Grace, was moored in one of the outer, more isolated bays on the island. It was a very small community and we had managed to befriend one of the local families who ran a very successful campground in the next bay over.
They had 2 young girls about our girls’ ages and we hit it off right away, forming a happy friendship. The camp in this bay was amazing. It had won all sorts of awards for being the best summer camp for kids, and it cost a small fortune to attend.
One day during an afternoon visit to our friends’ home at the camp, my friend told me about an opportunity that had come up for our oldest daughters to attend the camp for a week – for free.
On the surface, it seemed like a great opportunity. However, we were concerned about our daughter being gone for a week and that with people we didn’t know. You don’t homeschool your little ones and then give them over to strangers very easily. Sunday school and a few carefully chosen play dates were about the extent of her outings thus far.
But it was a good opportunity…
And something that we could never afford…
And what would our friends think if we said no?
Somehow that last concern began to loom big and ugly before me. If our friends were offended, then our kids may not be able to play together any more. I would miss my friend’s sweet company, too.
There was a campfire the night that the camp was to begin. All of the campers had arrived and our family drove over in our dinghy to check it out.
As the campfire songs and skits carried on, it became abundantly clear that the camp would not be suitable for our young daughter. Then the mental volleyball began…
What will your friends think?
But did you hear those crass jokes?
Maybe things will be different during the day…
What about the spooky ghost stories?
But our friends are very nice people…
My daughter and I stepped away from the campfire to use the restroom. While I was waiting for her, out of nowhere, a large black spider scurried across the floor in her direction.
Without thinking, I slammed my foot down hard on the threatening creature – killing it instantly.
I immediately heard a still, small voice in my head saying, “You care so much for your daughter’s physical safety, and that is good. But why do you hesitate when it has to do with her spiritual safety?”
I shared my experience with my husband and we explained all to our friends. Fortunately, they were understanding and we remain friendly to this day.
But what of their spiritual safety?
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28