7 08 2014

Possession is nine tenths of the law.
We have all heard this at one time or another pertaining to various objects or things we own, especially in disputes over them. How does this apply to our children though? Sitting here in car pool line for VBS , I just can’t let go of something my dear friend Lori said in an earlier conversation.

“Nobody has the right to be around your children. You decide who has the privilege. You are the gate keeper to that access.”

I never took that honor seriously until I started homeschooling. Who we associate with, who we spend time with, sends a silent but unequivocal heavy message to our children.

Heavenly Father commands us to love our neighbor. Jesus asks Peter three separate times if Peter loves Him. Each successive time Peter confirms His love for Jesus, He commands him to tend to His flock. ” Feed My Lambs”, ” Shepard My Sheep”, and “Feed my sheep” (Tyler 2010) Jesus expects us to love one another. Heavenly Father expects us to accept people where they are at too. Ponder those words for a moment. How do you model loving your neighbor to your children? What type of boundaries do you set for loving them? What do those boundaries look like?

I am noticing a disturbing trend over the years. Parents do not seem to be modeling any boundaries for there children. There seems to be a Laissez-Faire attitude towards parenting. Children don’t just pick things up, they need guidance and nurturing.

Our neighborhood has provided many opportunities to love our neighbors with boundaries. Homeschooling placed this at the forefront of our discussions many nights at the dinner table. We live In a lower middle class area, with high crime. Break ins occur frequently. Theft of Christmas and Halloween decorations occur yearly! Neighbors do not take care of their homes like they should and this just encourages those with bad intentions even more.

Access to playing with our children for some of my neighbors is strictly monitored. Some are no longer permitted access any more either. It has to be this way, as Heavenly Father placed it on my heart. Sexual predators are everywhere. Many parents here don’t give a thought about knowing the neighborhood children at all. Many parents do not take the time to even introduce themselves to other parents either. I am not that parent.

Over the past few years, several of my closest friends have dealt with some sort of sexual abuse in their neighborhood or home.
The last 24 hours, I have been on my knees praying for a sweet friend and her daughter. Her daughter refuses talk about what happened to her. All the signs are there. She had been sexually abused somewhere in her short life. Her anger runs deep. She hides her suffering quite well.

This has to be acknowledge and nurtured…..No matter how painful, because any type of abuse, especially sexual is generational. Generational. It will repeat itself. Parenting mindfully is a lot of work. Memories of my own deep dark secret crept up during this time. I never told anyone about my sexual abuse. I shoved it down and hid it. Unlike so many children, I walked away and did not allow it to define me. A neighbor, someone trusted by my parents, inappropriately touched me. These incidents, coupled with a recent one involving a neighborhood child and my daughter reset all our family boundaries.

A little girl in our neighborhood inappropriately touched our daughter. Thankfully I walked in on it. After a long conversation with her mother, my gut screamed denial on the all ready over worked and over burdened neighbor. But my first concern is Darbylynne. Not pleasing her mother or saving her child. Cold hearted as this sounds, I will not allow this happen to her.

Sexual abuse scars the soul. Those scars heal very, very slowly. No longer do I trust people so freely. I have no problem accepting people where the are at, but they will not have access to my children until I know they are safe to be around. We will meet the parents of our neighborhood children, or we will not play with them. Getting to know a bit about them is paramount before my kids are allowed in their home, or even having their kids in ours. I used to feel sorry for those less fortunate than myself and go overboard in my classroom and in my neighborhood to help others. I would sacrifice to help others, I still help when am able but I will not sacrifice my self or my children. There are healthy ways to help others.

It is not a right to be in our lives though. It is a privilege.

I urge you to step outside your four walls and be an active participant in your neighborhood. Your children need you. They need to see you care about their friends. They need you to model how to love your neighbors with healthy boundaries.


Zan Tyler, Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential (Anderson, IN: Apologia Press, 2010), 45




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