LOCAL and national news reports often present the world as a dangerous place in which to raise a child. Is there a way parents can be less anxious, and at the same time more watchful and vigilant for a child's safety?
There is! There's another kind of watchfulness--prayer--that expands our capacity to protect our children by allowing us to participate actively in caring for their well-being even when it's impossible for us to be personally present with them. Parents who have turned to God's spiritual means of protection for their children have found His help powerful and practical.
Prayer based on an understanding of the Biblical truth that God has made man in His image and likeness opens our thoughts and hearts to recognizing that our children are in reality God's offspring--as we are--and are therefore spiritual. This doesn't mean mothers and fathers shouldn't still be watchful and vigilant for their children's safety, but it does reassure the loving parent that each child is always within the ever-present protection of his or her true divine guardian, God. God's tender love prov ides for and guides children and adults alike and this becomes apparent when prayer opens the door of thought to His illuminating presence.
One parent with an exemplary record of vigilance was Noah. In the Bible Noah is recorded as having saved his whole family from a devastating flood by his foresight and diligence--and his willingness to listen to God's direction. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, gives this spiritual description of one of Noah's sons in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``JAPHET (Noah's son). A type of spiritual peace, flowing from the understanding that God is the divine
Principle of all existence, and that man is His idea, the child of His care.'' To the degree that we understand that our sons and daughters are the children of God's care, to that extent we will find ourselves empowered like Noah to take the right spiritual and practical action to protect our offspring. A friend of mine experienced this.
She regularly prayed for her children as they were growing up. At a time when her young son, not yet a teenager, was traveling to another country on a school-arranged trip to attend a camp, my friend awoke from sleep feeling compelled to pray specifically for him. Camp personnel were to have met his plane and put him safely on a train to camp. Later she found out that his plane had been delayed, and that he had missed the train--and the person who was to meet him--and been left stranded in this new land late at night, speaking very little of the language. At the time, my friend knew nothing of this. She only knew that she felt compelled by God to pray for this child. She prayed until she felt convinced of his well-being under God's watchful care.
The child, too, prayed. And his safety and comfort were taken care of in a most marvelous way. A kind local taxi driver took the youngster under his wing. After telephoning the camp that was expecting the boy, the driver took the boy home with him to stay safely with his own family for the night. In the morning he made sure the boy got on the right train.
Such intuitions as my friend was obedient to come naturally to our thought when it is prayerfully anchored in Christ, the understanding of man's true spiritual sonship that motivated Christ Jesus. Through Christ one is enabled to be always on vigilant watch for one's offspring, not anxiously, but confidently. God alerts us to what we need to know in order to be properly playing our part in meeting our children's needs. In this way both parent and child come to see and feel the security of God's unwaverin g care for His children.