The noise in the tree next to me was getting annoying now. The bird chirped constantly as I sat there reading. It just didn’t stop. It sounded like it was really angry about something. When I went out to the porch swing the next morning, it did the same thing again–just sat in the tree and chirped madly. Actually “chirp” may be too musical of a word. This bird was yelling its little heart out about something.
When it continued to happen the following mornings, it finally dawned on me that there may be a nest in the hanging basket right beside the swing where I sat comfortably. I pulled a foot stool close by and stepped up to peek. Sure enough, there they were–an over-full nest stuffed with three or four adolescent birds, almost ready to fly.
The twittering bird beside me was not just any bird. She was a mama on a mission.
She was doing everything in her power to protect the babies for which she was responsible. She didn’t know that I wasn’t a real threat and so she chirped away.
In another–rather tragic– example of this, we heard this past weekend of an aggressive little dog that was killed by a bear near the cabin where we were staying. The dog-owners are heart-broken and think that the bear must have been protecting a cub, as they had heard some rustling beyond the bear and the bears are not normally that aggressive. It appears that this bear, too, was a mama on a mission.
We actually call women who fiercely protect their children “Mama Bears”, don’t we? And, unless you are a mama, you probably can’t really understand the urge to protect your young.
And we are called to protect our children. But what should this protection look like?
Many years ago, my daughter was in a class with a young girl whose mama would step in to protect her at any real or perceived hurt. She was there to inflict scathing words or just due on anyone who dared to hurt her baby. I would submit to you that this is not healthy protection. And we have all met these overprotective mamas. We find them in school rooms, Sunday School classes, soccer teams, and playgrounds. They are an intimidating force, these mama bears.
But is this really what we are called to do as Moms? Are we supposed to keep our children from receiving any hurt or disappointment? Are we to view them as perfect and step up to defend for any reason?
NO. Of course not.
This is not in the best interest of our children in any way.
We laugh about it now, but we were one of those families that almost handled things the opposite way. When our kids came home with a story about how a schoolmate or teacher had offended them, our first words would be, “what did you do?” We always knew there had to be another side to the story.
Of course, there were occasions when I was tempted to step in the middle of dissension between friends or even at school and then I would remember my mom’s wise words to me — Let them work it out.
You see, part of growing up is learning how to handle disappointment. It’s learning how to work with difficult people. And how to deal with our emotions of anger and sadness. If we parents always swoop in to keep our children from learning these lessons, we will greatly hamper them (and their future families) for the future.
Now, while so many parents are busy trying to protect their children from real or perceived disappointments and hurt, I see few parents protecting their children from the real enemy--the enemy of their souls.
Satan is alive and active and roaring about like a lion (I Peter 5:8). He is also masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and uses subtle ways to deceive us (2 Corinthians 11:3). He seeks to kill and destroy (John 10:10). And most of us allow him into the lives of our children in a myriad of ways–
We allow our children to choose the music we play in our cars. This is often pop music that is filled with explicit lyrics about sex, drug use, and bad language. We may even bop along with them to the catchy beat as the sinful music plays.
We put on the latest tv show or movie and laugh at the off-color jokes and shake our heads at the blatant wickedness — but never take a stand and just turn it off, explaining to them why.
We allow them to go to movies and dances and malls, all under the guise of “all the other kids are doing it”, never really knowing exactly what is taking place with these friends.
Our kids spend hours and hours with headphones in their ears, staring at an ipad screen, or playing video games that would make your skin crawl, and we say nothing. “Kids will be kids” is our motto.
When we do spend some time with our kids, we talk about the weather, the school assignment, or the vacation that’s coming up. We never talk about creation, or homosexuality, or what being a Christian really looks like.
All the while, the devil is making inroads into the hearts of your kids.
Oh, this is where we parents need to stand up and fight! There is an ALL-OUT Spiritual War going on and many of us are sitting casually by, thinking it doesn’t affect us. But, if you are not careful, the casualties will be your children.
This is where we need to step up and protect our young ones. We have a responsibility and we need to take it very seriously.
Let’s turn away from our own screens, clubs, and hobbies long enough to get to really know our children. To really understand what makes them tick and see their weaknesses. Let’s challenge them using the Word of God.
Let’s be like the mama bird, chirping loudly for all to hear, letting Satan know that you are, by the grace and strength of God, protecting the soul of the precious child in your care and this is one battle he won’t win!