If we’re always telling our kids to be careful, they probably will be.
Concerning our children, there has to be an element of caution with people because of things like sexual abuse, and there has to be a level of caution with limits because of things like traffic (being hit by a car). We have to make them aware and teach them of certain dangers. For the purpose of this post, I am not speaking of those types of cautions.
I want my children to be free to explore without having to be cautious and afraid. What I’ve noticed in my kids is fearlessness, and it pervades each of their personalities on different levels. Most days, the only thing holding them back is me. It appears most kids are pretty fearless, but if we tell them long enough to be careful and be afraid, they probably will be. They will fall in line behind everyone else, dress like everyone else, act like everyone else. Afraid to stand out. Careful. Safe.
Is it possible we’re not letting our kids live fearlessly out of our own convenience? Is it possible we need them to conform because it may cost us something? I need you to stop running through the house — not because I care if you get hurt and get stitches — but because I don’t want to sit in the ER for 3 hours today. I need you to get a college degree and quit pursuing art– not because I really care if you get a job — but because you will be an embarrassment in front of my friends. I need you to get married — not because I care about your desires — but because I fear not having grandchildren or always having to financially support you. I need you to not pursue God’s calling to the mission field — not because the gospel isn’t important — but because you could die, and I would be devastated.
If we let our kids “live out loud” and be who God is calling them to be, they will live fearlessly for Him — not for us! If they live for us, their hopes will be squelched before the week is up. If they live for an eternal God, their purposes will be eternal. We have nothing to fear; a Sovereign God knows the number of their days.
What does it look like to encourage our kids to live fearlessly? You may know better than I. That’s something I’m still working on. We have one child who is incredibly artistic. A teacher described her today as a “big thinker.” We have one who literally climbs our door facings, and we found her at the peak of our roof two weeks ago. We have one who is a great communicator, beyond his years. There is something fearless in each of these traits that we do not want to suppress. But, it’s pretty hard not to freak out when you find your kid on the roof!!!
One thing I do know is that a fearless God has made our children fearless! It is sin that tells us to recoil in fear. Don’t suck that life from them. Encourage the big personalities that He has given them to rise to their potential for His glory.