March 26, 2024 by  
Filed under Family Focus

By Khristy Hullett

“What I'm concerned about, Dr. Towns, is swine flu.”  This is not a surprising statement.  With the hysteria in the media, school closings, face masks, deaths, it's perfectly understandable for parents to be questioning our pediatricians, right?  But the above question was not asked by me, the parent.  It was the response of my 1st grader—my just turned 7 years old—to her doctor's final question to me: “Do you have any other concerns today?”  To his credit, he turned to her and very seriously asked her why she was concerned and then did a quick rundown of proactive things she can do to protect herself.  God bless him.  That's why I love him as a doctor.  He respects me as the mother and doesn't talk down to my children.  Now all of that was not to complain about my week—although I will comment, not complain mind you, that my two year old has a raging ear infection and my four year old had four shots yesterday.

My thoughts are more focused on what the doctor said to me after he finished discussing the issue with Cate.  He turned to me and said, “It just goes to show you what a powerful influence the media is.” Wow!  That hit me right between the eyes; at seven, my baby is already being pulled to and fro by the world.  My first instinct is to batten down the hatches and repel all intruders—no TV for us! Church, school, and home—that's it for us!  But really, I'm not into isolationist politics either as a country or in my family.  So, I fall back on my usual plan—knowledge is power.  I explain whatever she asks to the best of my ability.  I do my best to imbue in her my way of looking at the world, my values, my concerns, and we go from there.  I strive to be the one she goes to when she needs information—not her friends, not the media.  I do all this and prepare for the time when she will start making solo flights on her own.  I remember my mother, a teacher of twenty-five years experience, making this comment to me when I was sixteen: “If you haven't figured out what I believe and what I think is important by now, then it's a little too late for me to do anything else.”  Her point being that we get the childhood years to lay the foundations.  We frantically build foundations now in preparation for the day when our children will have to stand alone.

Mother also commented regarding some of the parent/student relationships she saw: “I don't know why if they didn't make them mind when they were six; they expect them to mind now that they're sixteen.”  Ouch!  Yet again, a pointed reminder that we only have a short time to really shape our children.  Their religious beliefs, their morals, their virtues, their world view—we are responsible for giving them bedrocks upon which they can build their lives.  No pressure there, aye?

My husband and I kicked off a Sex & Dating class for our high school teens at church last week.  An eye-opening experience, let me tell you, and I could go on and on about the stats regarding where teens get their information and how much they talk to their parents, but I'll spare you.  You can probably already guess that MOST teens don't go to their parents first.  What I loved though was a conversation I walked into before the class started.  I approached two teen girls I know quite well.  I heard the older say to the younger:

“I heard something at school the other day that I just couldn't believe.  It just couldn't be true.  How would that work?”

The younger replied: “So what did you do?”

“As soon as I got home, I went and asked my mom, and she told me…..”

Aaaah.  Music to my ears.  She didn't understand and she went to Mom, secure in the knowledge that Mom not only would explain but that Mom would tell the truth—AND that Mom always wants what's best for her.  That's where I'm aiming.  And yes, sometimes I'm uncomfortable.  This last week friends had a baby.  Those baby conversations and some questions about differences in privates were not my favorite, and I struggled to answer them, but answer them I did. We're pretty easy going around here, but one of my non-negotiables is this: you ask me a question, and I'll tell you the answer to the best of my ability and your age limitations.  I will never lie to you or refuse to answer.
I'm building foundations here.  I certainly don't want them to wash away on my sandy answers.

Matthew 7:24-27(NIV)  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

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