Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unfortunate Events in the Life of a Child

Life is filled with situations and circumstances that many children have no control over. It is disheartening to see children suffer from abuse and neglect. The reality of the matter is, as your read this post, there are children who are being exposed to irresponsible people, being abused, and being mistreated by the adults who are supposed to protect them. The question becomes, how can we prevent unfortunate situations in the lives of our children?

I can remember being told as a teenager that my step-grandfather attempted to murder me as an infant. He took a knife, while he was drunk, and cut me down the seam of my nose. I bled terribly and nearly died if it had not been for the quick responses of my mother and my aunt, I would not be here today. I still have the scar on my face to remind me of my step-grandfathers disregard for my life as a baby. What measures could have been taken to avoid such an unfortunate incident?

1. Be on guard. Children should never be allowed to frequent or stay in a household where the inhabitants are alcoholics, drug users, or violent. When children are placed in those types of situations, it is a recipe for disaster.

2. Provide supervision. Predators and curious teenagers thrive in environments where parents do not supervise their children. Never allow your children to play outside without the proper supervision. Remember, everyone does not have your child's best interest in mind.

3. Be an Example. Demonstrate to your children the proper way to live a respectful and wholesome life. Whatever behaviors that you allow as a parent will become the same behaviors of your children as an adult. If they see you drunk and drugged out, then they accept that as the standard. If they see different people coming in and out of your house that is not their father or mother, then they will perpetuate what they have seen in the home.

4. Teach survival skills. Tell and demonstrate to your children what to do when they find themselves in trouble. Ensure that they know your name and not just a nick-name or title. Instruct your children to never to give their personal information to a stranger. Teach them to run and scream when someone approaches them in a strange manner.

5. Monitor your child's entertainment. With the boom of the Internet and social media, your child could find himself in some difficult situations that could be life or death. Check their facebook, twitter, myspace, flicker, and other social media pages. Question them about people who they have accepted as friends. Place the proper child protective software on your computers to prevent exposure to explicit material. Review your child's phone and text messages. Teenagers have a totally different language in the text world and they could be communicating behavior that could lead to disease, pregnancy, and other activities that would be unfortunate for their future.

As I look back over my life and reflect on the whole situation with my step-grandfather attempting to murder me, it can be discouraging, but on the bright side, I was truly blessed by the Lord to have survived the incident in spite of his irresponsible and reckless behavior. How many children do not survive these kinds of incidents? Far too many!

As parents, we are the protectors of our children. We have to think beyond being reactive to situations, but also become proactive to prevent situations that have the potential to leave a terrible emotional and physical mark on our children. Create a home, family and social environment that is child-friendly and void of life-threatening and child-endangering situations. Your children will live and thank you for it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Value of Time

I took my oldest son with me to the grocery store. I took the time to observe how tall he has gotten and the deep tone in his voice. I said to myself, "Wow! Time is going by so fast." It seems like Ephraim was just born a year ago and now he is about to embark upon his last year of middle school.

As I drove to the grocery store, I reflected on the moment that I was granted to spend with my son. It really dawned on me to take hold of every moment we have together. Soon, Ephraim will be out on his own in college pursuing aeronautical engineering. Man, I know he has to grow-up, but why so fast?

Oh well, I will make a commitment today to ensure that I cherish every conversation, every teachable moment, every handshake and every question that my son asks me. This time is so precious and valuable.

Fathers, please do not allow the time to past you by without reflecting and taking precious memories into your heart for those times when it seems like everything is going wrong. Reflect on those memories and come to the conclusion that every situation and circumstance was worth the opportunity to sow into the life of your child. Value the Time you have with them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Planning Ahead

As I get older, nearing 40, I had a revelation. I'm getting older and soon my boys will be leaving my house within the next 10 years. Oh boy, I thought. I better get to planning things and putting things in place because I want to demonstrate to my boys how to plan for the future.

So..... I made sure my life insurance policy was in place. I made sure that my retirement fund was well funded. I sought guidance from the Lord about other financial moves. I started to see my life in a new way. I will not always be here for them. I will die one day and I want their lives to be comfortable.

The lesson is, I almost started too late. I should have put these things in place when I first started working as a naval officer at the age of 23. Boys start early preparing each phase of your life. If you fail to plan, yes you have planned to fail.