Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Safe at home?

I had to get off Facebook today.  The newsfeed about the school shooting is heart-wrenching.  I don't know what to say.  There is nothing that can be said or done at this time to bring the children and loved ones back.  Nothing will take away their pain.  I can pray that they will find the strength for each moment of each of the upcoming days, for each holiday and birthday and in-between day that will never be the same.  I can pray for friends and family to surround them; bringing comfort and good memories.  It seems so small.  But that's not why I had to take a break.

Yes, I was slightly hurt by the person whose status stated that the shooting happened because I voted for a certain political party.  But that's not the reason I called it quits for the day.  I wish it was that simple.

The real reason was because I was getting tired of reading the statuses of friends announcing that they have found the key to keeping their children safe and that the key is homeschooling.  I found myself getting angry and when I was too tempted to write back, I decided I should just stop reading.  Because is that really the key to keeping our children safe?  Do you take your children on car trips?  Maybe errands around the neighborhood or vacations?  Because car accidents happen everyday.  Do you ever go into the city on a field trip?  Every night the news tells me of another incident in which I would not want my children involved.  Do you take them with you when you put gas in your car?  Gas stations and convenience stores have always been dangerous places.  Do you ever eat out?  Last week our local Subway was held up.  The Subway that my son has an application ready to turn in for a job.  Do you go to the mall or to the movies?  Shootings happen there.  And you probably shouldn't homeschool at home because the number of home invasions is on the rise.  The fact is that we can't keep our children perfectly safe no matter how hard we try.

But more importantly, I don't think our job as parents is to try to shelter our children from every imaginable danger.  Yes, we teach them about safety, the kind that tells them to keep their fingers out of outlets, to look both ways before crossing the street and to be wary of strangers.   We keep our homes as safe as possible but I don't think Christ asks us to shelter our children in an attempt to keep them "safe"; the kind of safe that is being thrown around here.  A family called to be missionaries on the front lines of spiritual warfare knows this full well.  Christian martyrs through the centuries have known that.  Families that hid Jews during Nazi Germany knew that their children were not going to be safe because of their parents' decisions.  We protect as much as we can but Christ doesn't call any of us to be "safe."  I guess it's a good thing that even His parents couldn't keep Him "safe."

We can teach peace to our children.  We tell them about "peace that passes all understanding" and that "in this world we will have trouble but God has overcome the world."  We can't keep them with us forever so we pass on the knowledge of the One who can give them peace in the midst of chaos, of fear, and of troubling situations.

We teach them to love and to be beacons of God's light.  I have to wonder how different things would be if more of our children were in real school truly shining God's light?  What if our kids stuck up for the kid being picked on, what if they befriended the girl who felt unlovable, or if they invited the disabled teen to join their family for dinner once a week?  What if the same homeschool families that are priding themselves on their educational decision and their ability to keep their kids "safe," would decide to make their house a home away from home for the kid whose own home life was in shambles?

We tell them that God has ordained every breath of theirs, from the first to the last.  Nothing in-between will catch Him by surprise.  We tell them to trust God, and to follow His plan for their lives.  Really, which is more safe, to be in God's Will even if it is dangerous, or to be in a place of comfort?  And as parents, we can rest in that and release all worries.

When I rest in following God's plan for my life and my family's life and when I watch my children learning to do the same, I don't have to worry about the ones I send off to public school in the morning or those who sit around the table with me at home.  Instead, I can focus my attention on bringing love to those who need it most.