Bears – I live in a nice neighborhood on the outskirts of town where neighbors wave hellos and children play. Many days, I come home to my son playing XBOX with his pal from next door. Other days, I find that they are playing basketball at his house. Many times, they are not to be found at either house, but that is not a concern. They are most likely riding bikes or playing on the playground at the school across the street. They are great boys and we know they are probably out having fun somewhere. Life is great and I love knowing that my son has friends to run around and enjoy spending time with – until earlier this week…
This week, we saw a large black bear in the neighborhood. Lest you begin thinking sweet honey and Winnie the Pooh – go check out “black bear attacks” on YouTube. I started to embed one of those videos here, but felt a twinge of discomfort at promoting the footage I saw. Bears are scary.
Over the last few days, we have been on guard. Where does the bear live? Why was he here? Has anyone seen him again? Don’t go over to the playground alone. I want to know exactly where you are and who you’re with.
Our awareness of a potential danger has changed things. The safety of our children is of utmost importance, and, until we are satisfied that the threat has been removed, we will be diligent in our protective measures.
Non-Bears – It’s easy to jump in when you see a bear roaming the streets of your neighborhood. It’s not so easy when the attacker prowls through the minds of our children. Things are different than they once were; expectations are high, pressure is heavy, stress can mount, feelings get hurt, some get left out, teenage girls are mean, teenage boys are rough, some teachers don’t understand, some parents don’t seem to care.
Your child’s life may be wonderful! Perhaps they are equipped with a natural confidence acting as pepper spray against all the negative thoughts that the pressures of life bring their way; however, I have found that many are not. For a lot of youth the onslaught of life is not met with vigor, but with fear. This often leads to thoughts about themselves that can become self-destructive over time. Upon recognizing this potential, many parents of faith offer words from the Bible and the declarations God makes over us as a seed of hope. I have done this. What I have realized is that the truth, apart from practical application for today, is of little solace to a person feeling anxious and worthless at this time.
I have shifted my focus. Much the same as I reacted to the neighborhood bear, I am going on guard against these unseen attackers of the mind and spirit. They will be called out into the light. I have found that everything we fear loses much of it’s power when brought out into the light. There will still be battles, but they will be dealt with directly, in the open. While words of hope and inspiration are nice, I am ready to battle for the ones I love.