As a home-school mom, I am always looking for fun and practical ways to educate my boys, inside and outside of the home. We love visiting museums and historical landmarks, but sometimes,conflicting schedules, sickness, and unexpected mishaps, keep us at home. So on those type of days, we watch documentaries.
A couple of weeks ago, my boys and I watched a documentary about Yosemite Park. It was all about the hidden secrets of Yosemite. For someone who has never been to Yosemite, it was an amazing spectacle, to watch! The cinematography was incredible, and it helped that we had surround sound speakers! It was as if we were right there, feeling and experiencing each moment of beautiful intensity, that nature has to offer.
The narrator explained about the effects that extreme weather has on the Park through the course of a year. The winter season brings lots of snow and ice which causes blizzards and avalanches. The fall season brings high winds and thunderous storms, accompanied by lightning and flash-floods.The spring and summer season bring warm temperatures and dry winds that cause forest fires. The narrator stated that every year there are many forest fires during the course of the dry season. But the interesting thing, is that not all the fires are harmful. In fact some are helpful. That statement intrigued me. How can fires be helpful, especially to a place that is known for its lush greenery and crystal blue streams?
There are special fire fighters that are trained to only fight forest fires in Yosemite. The reason is they need to be able to discern when to put the fire out and when to let it burn. One of the fire fighters shared that every year, new trees are growing from the ground. This can create a problem for the park because the trees are closer together, which can cause the fire to spread faster. So on warm dry days, the fire fighters let nature take its course and let the small fire burn up some of the trees and brush, to prevent bigger forest fires, from occurring.
What an interesting thought. Let the small fires burn, to prevent more damages in the future. I imagine to a trained fire fighter, it makes perfect sense. But to someone who is not familiar with fire and does not know how to control a fire, the idea can be terrifying! As parents we are faced with this decision, on a daily basis. When to put out the huge fires, and when to let the smaller fires burn, to prevent bigger fires from reigniting in the future.
For example, my two boys constantly pick on one another. My husband tells me that this is normal and that they will grow out of it. But as a mother, it is not fun for me to watch them take each other down, as if they are two wrestlers in a ring. I have never understood wrestling. In my honest opinion, I think its foolish and I don't see any reason for it. But my husband and my boys share a different opinion on the matter. To them, wrestling is a form of communication. It is a way for all of them to bond and show who is the strongest and the fastest. It is a chance for them to show their bravery and display their warrior like skills. To say without words, feelings that can not be expressed in any other way, and fight to the death, so that they can become the King Of The Land! Sometimes the "fights" can get a little heated and the wrestlers end up getting sent to their individual corners to cool off. But they always apologize and hug each other afterwards. These are what you would call "small fires".
Then there are the big fires. The fires that start with just a spark, and quickly become weapons of mass destruction, devouring anything that crosses their path. Drugs, Sex, Alcoholism,Suicide, Depression, Depreciation of Life, choices that lead to reckless living, etc. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the list has grown larger over the recent years and leaves me as a parent, feeling anxious and fearful for what lies ahead. I pray that I as a parent ,will never have to witness my boys suffer at the hands of these destructive, life altering, experiences.I know that I can't predict the future, but what can I do to make sure they won't be enticed by the dangerous, beauty of the flames?
I can pray and not flip out about what may or may not happen, and most importantly teach them about fire safety. There are many ways that I as a parent can do this. Two ways that come to mind, are listening and praying with them. Notice I did not say TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO, or what I think they should do , but listening and communicating with them. Listening involves more hearing and less talking, and communication involves sharing, and understanding the other side. It is not a battle of the wills, but it is about seeing things from a different perspective. As a parent, I tend to take the leadership role and what I say goes. But as my boys get older, I realize that I can not be the only voice that they listen to. I need to teach them to listen to God's voice and know God's voice.
How do they recognize God's voice and choose His voice over others, or their own? I need to show them that I am not the destination but I am a road sign that ultimately points to Jesus, who is the final destination. John 10:27-29 says,"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish,neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father,who has given them to Me is greater than all;and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one." As parents we are commanded by God to share with our children about the truth and lead them in the right way. The first way that we do this is teach them the word of God and then lead by example. This is not an easy task but if we don't do it, then who will. There are many people who are waiting to get their hands on our children and fill their minds with crazy lies and false hope. We need to fight for our children more than ever before! There is a war going on not just for their lives, but for their souls!
The second way that we can share with our children about the truth is teach them to be fire-fighters. Fire fighters are trained to not only fight fires but to recognize the signs that could cause a fire. They are taught about the dangers of fire and are commanded to take their job seriously. They rescue others from danger and they see on a daily basis the damages that fires cause. They know that they shouldn't play with fire, because they will get burned. There is no magic potion, no exception. Fire destroys anything and everything that dares to cross its path. They also understand the cost of being a fire fighter and what it represents. They can not look at fire the same way that others do, and they know there are costs to being a fire-fighter. Most importantly, they realize there is more that they would be losing, then what they have already given up.
James 1:12-17 says,"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has [a]been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted [b]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [c]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [d]is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be [e]deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or [f]shifting shadow."
I leave you with the words of Charles Spurgeon, " If sinners be damned,at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish,let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees,imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled,let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go unwarned and unprayed for."