Care

Yesterday, I wrote about the necessity of being an active participant in a child's education. I have a few thoughts that I wish to add to this topic, now that I have had some time to converse a bit with teachers and parents on this topic.

I think that every child wants to know that his parents (and the other significant adults in his or her life) care.

What does this mean in a practical sense? I think it means giving time and attention, asking questions and showing interest. It means persisting.

Do my dad and mom care about me?

* Does he come to see me play my games?
* Does he look over my homework or ask about the book I am reading for school?
* Does she check my grades on the computer and try to help my solve my problems?
* Does he notice when I am not myself and sit and listen when I need to pour out my messy thoughts and emotions?
* Does she stay on my case even when I tell her to leave me alone, because she knows that, left alone, I can't help myself and things will only get worse?
* Do my parents pray with me and talk to me from a biblical point of view about stuff that can make me feel uncomfortable when we talk about it (like convictions about tithing, church attendance, music, movies, books, puberty, relationships, dating, and sex, to name a few)?

I know that it is different being a parent today than it was when I was growing up. I came home to find my mother waiting for me when I got off the bus, and she managed my play and homework time, had a snack waiting and dinner planned for when my father got home. Today, everyone is so much busier, going this way and that, doing many, many things and we all have the ability to entertain ourselves in our own little, separate worlds through the wonders of technology. One alarming statistic shows that, on average, parents and children spend 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation while, on average, children 1680 minutes (28 hours) per week parked in front of a television. Wow.

I think parenting has never been an easy responsibility, but that it is harder today. Our culture has changed a lot, but the basic needs of our children haven't and our responsibility to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord has not either.

One particular young man in our school has his teachers concerned about him. They have noticed that something is bothering him, and they desire to help him. He has resisted several attempts to connect with him, but the teachers have persisted. Why? He isn't their son. But they love him. They care. He is sending all the signals that say, "Back off! I don't need you," but the teachers see something in his eyes that says, "Don't give up on me. I need to talk to somebody." Yesterday, there was a tiny break though, and the young man's guard was let down just enough for him to receive a bit of the help being offered to him. It was a small thing, but it was something, and that teacher rejoiced, because a connection had been made. Care was given and care was received through the few moments of communication.

I am forty-nine years old, but I still thank God that I have parents who care about me and, even more, a Savior who cares about me. We need to know that somebody cares about us, for our souls, and for who we are. 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon Him, for he cares for you."

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