children learn what they live

From the Christian Parenting Corner

How to Offer your Children Security in a Changing World

Foreclosures are up, available job numbers are down, and the odds are good that your children know another child whose parents had their home foreclosed on, or whose parents are suffering the aftermath of a job loss. It is easy for children to fear for their own security. What is a Christian parent to do?

Identify and Deal with your Own Fears

What is there in your life that you would be afraid to lose or give up? Is it your house, car, or some luxury item? Is it the fear that you will not have enough money to provide food and basic shelter for your children? As a Christian parent, you must identify and deal with your own fears first.

Children, as you might guess, derive much of their security from you. While your security ought to come from God – not from things – children look to parents for their security in life. Only later on, as they get older, will this outlook shift. If you are subject to fears for your livelihood, no matter how well you think you are hiding them, your kids will catch on and make these fears their own.

Once you identify your own fears, devise a plan for how to deal with the worst case scenario, should it come true. For example, if you believe that your job is less than secure, set up accounts with online jobsites, and know where to apply for public assistance until such time that another job might come along. Have the paperwork ready, even if you do not really think you will have to use it.

If you fear losing your home to foreclosure, apply now for inclusion in the Hope for Homeowners program. Even if you do not necessarily believe you need it, checking into it now will greatly add to your security. Fear of losing the car can be relieved simply by knowing how else to get around, such as with public transportation, and also having a network of friends at the ready if you need to set up school drop off and pick ups for the kids.

Deal with your fears head on and have a backup plan for any problem that you foresee that may cause you to have doubts about your security. Dealing rationally with these fears is a key element in having the kind of calm attitude your children pick up on, and can then make their own. If the kids know that mom or dad have a plan, they are confident that they will be taken care of.

Refocus away from False Hopes to Real Security

Yet what should you do if your fears are not really grounded in reality? What do you do if you do have some money in the bank, you do have the back up plans for eventualities, and you are still getting caught up in the fear and panic that might be reigning in the lives of some you are surrounded by?

Your children will pick up on this fear and insecurity, even if it is by and large not entirely rational. It is at this juncture that you need to refocus away from the false hopes and false security offered by “things” and refocus on the security offered by those spiritual values that will never be taken away from you.

Identifying False Sources of Security

  • Personal strength or prowess. Samson thought that it was his physical strength that could get him out of any situation. It got to the point of cockiness, and only when God cut him down to size did he realize that his reliance on God went out the window when his reliance on strength grew.
  • A comfort zone or title. Moses thought of himself as a shepherd. When God called to him he was unwilling (and therefore unable) to see himself as the leader God asked him to be. As such, his reluctance to get in step with God’s vision ultimately cost him the full extent of his potential.
  • A job or career. Jephthah soared to great heights in his chosen profession of warrior for God. His success was so heady that he made rash vows, costing him the life of his only child.
  • Relationships or friendships. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, but for the sake of his many wives he gradually allowed his heart to drift away from God. Instead, he found what he thought was satisfaction and personal validation in the arms of well trained courtesans.

Refocusing on the Only Source of Security that won’t disappoint:

Identifying false sources of security and hope is the first step in replacing them with the only source that does not disappoint: God. As a Christian parent it is crucial to live out Matthew 7:24-28 that urges anyone to recognize the authority of Christ, and become a wise builder, rather than a foolish one, and set up her or his house on the rock that is God, not the shifting sand that is a mortgage, car payment, and career.

Remember, whatever confidence you exude in your life, it is the same confidence your children will pick up on. Best of all, if you model to them now not to put their faith in the stuff that can be taken away or destroyed, imagine how much heartache and heartbreak they will be spared when they do not fall into the same traps you and I have fallen into so many times!

Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia is a writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money.

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