Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Healthy Kind of Fear

Fear is a bad word?

Warning: Adult content, if your kids were just looking over your shoulder seeing the cute pictures, now is the time to have them go do something else.


On a message board I frequent, many of the moms recently got into a discussion about the things our kids face today, specifically becoming sexually active in lower grades, down to 5-6th grades, and also the increasing popularity of having group slumber parties that are expressly for having same-gender sex. I don't even need to explain my stand on all of that, but what really got me thinking were the comments about how inevitable it is and how all we can do is talk to our kids and hope they will be open with us and make good mature choices, blah blah blah.

Here's the deal. I don't think that even in this current, twisted,  world  that this type of thing is inevitable! I refuse to accept that. However, I also know that if their plan consists of talking and hoping, they are right. Let me be blunt. I was not a sexually active teen. In fact, I married so late, I was hardly a sexually active 20-something. In my case, it wasn't because of talking and hoping. It was because instilled deep within my very being, there was the sure and certain knowledge of being immediately struck down by God and the fact that no matter if I was 15 or 25, my Mother would somehow KNOW. 
What I'm saying is that trying to reason with hormones is a losing battle. You can "know" all about STDs, you can "know" about pregnancy, you can "know" about the emotional ramifications...but that isn't necessarily going to do the trick.

Again, back to that discussion. There were a few comments about how they were going to give their children "all the information" so they could make "right decisions" and not rely on Bible-thumping or fear.
That sounds great doesn't it?

Let's apply that to, oh, a 2 year old. "Honey, this is an electric outlet. I know you are very curious and your curiosity is your strongest drive right now, but I want to let you know all the information so you can be smart." You would then proceed to tell him about electricity, how good and powerful it is, but how it must be kept in wires and only accessed properly. You would tell him of the dangers and even how it could kill him. (so far so good, right?) You finish off by telling him that if he really must stick a hairpin in the outlet to please use these insulated gloves and if he ever has any more questions, to come have another talk with you.

I do of course realize that the above is exaggerated. But come ON... you know what my kids know about electricity? that it is BAD! HOT! NO! OWIE! that if you even go close to an outlet or a plug Mommy materializes out of thin air and SWATS that hand. 
Perhaps I go too far because now when the older two are big enough that I might actually tell them to go plug this or that in, they stare at me as though I just told them to drink poison and remind me that they are NOT ALLOWED to even THINK of touching a power plug! 
Now, since Jeff is an electrical engineer, they do know a bit about the actual workings of it, but allow me to lay it out plainly; It is NOT their knowledge about the power and potential of electric current that keeps them conditioned to not touch it, it is their FEAR. 

Personally, I like that fear. That fear kept them alive long enough to reach the age where they CAN learn about AC/DC and wattage and amperage and voltage.

I'm not advocating that we don't educate our children about sex. I am saying that just knowing the facts isn't enough to keep them safe (and by safe, I mean abstinent). The drive is far stronger than the ability to reason. When faced with those choices, they need enough good old fashioned FEAR to keep them from getting into the place of temptation.

I've heard people say that they don't want their children to obey out of fear but out of love and respect.

Well Duh.

Brilliant deduction there.

Unfortunately, humans are selfish beings; must be a design flaw, take it up with God. 
In the meantime understand this; a respect that has enough weight to overcome selfish urges takes a while to grow and a certain amount of maturity to develop. I love (and as far as I can remember have always loved her) my mother. However, the deep respect and honor for her developed along the way, and dare I say, is still growing? If my obedience to her was based on my ability to respect her and defer to her wisdom, I wouldn't have obeyed her until I was about 23. That's a bit too late. I'm talking about a fear that is a precursor to respect and honor, a fear that keeps us within the walls, so to speak, until we are mature enough to love the walls and what they protect us from. Proverbs 1 tells us that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.

When and why did fear develop such a bad rep? You don't think it could be part of a diabolical plan to keep us from getting wisdom... nah, surely the enemy of our souls wouldn't do that, would he?

Personally, I think bit of the right kind of fear is a great thing. And I plan on using it to protect my kids from things far more dangerous than the electric outlets.

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