Playing In The Streets

The freedom of summer should include a freeing sense of safety in terms of where our children are and what they're doing. Let's help our children know the peace and security of living in God's "peaceable kingdom."

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Family, Summer

The wonders of summertime with its freedom to enjoy many activities thrills kids, but sometimes parents are fearful for their child's safety.

There is a wonderful passage in the Living Bible's translation of Isaiah (11:6). It describes the perfect environment this way: "And in the real day, the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions, and a little child shall lead them all."

What a perfect image of childhood -- free from fear, accidents, drugs, and other predators with the child showing leadership, not fear! We may have been taught that such peaceful co-existence is impossible. This is because society has identified the animals (and other children and things) incorrectly, labeled them as something less than useful ideas of the great Creator. Here are fallacies that you will find interesting to discuss with your children.

The wolf and the lamb. The lamb represents purity, innocence - qualities we want to see in our youngsters. But the wolf signifies a territorial animal, menacing anyone who crosses its borders. Today, gangs are very territorial, and outsiders are considered to be in grave danger should they cross these borders. The "turf," as it is called, is the center for the gang family, and it seems to be wrongly thought of as a commodity in limited supply.

Consider the importance of a purer sense of family (not a gang or a snobbish clique) - of one that liberates kids from taunting, bullying, and beatings. God knows no boundaries, He does not see His children as disadvantaged rivals for the good He so liberally bestows. Your prayers and discussions with your kids can bring these heroic wolves into the lamb's circle of love.

But, you ask, what about the leopard and the goats?

Goats can be easily led - and sometimes led astray. Leopards are known for their grace, but also for their subtle moves, their sneakiness.

You can point out the connection of those latter qualities to drug pushers or anyone who does not set high standards concerning tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Paul realized the necessity to fight seduction when he told young Timothy (II Timothy 3:13), ".....evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." But, in the next paragraph he gives the solution: ".....continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the scriptures." It is imperative that parents teach the truth about God and His creation in a vigorous and attractive way. Such teaching doesn't take a summer vacation. Parents and Sunday School teachers can help youngsters see the true leopard qualities of grace and agility - not just for some children, but for all. And at the same time, the goat-like qualities can be joyful rather than docile.

The final pairing of animals in Isaiah's peaceable kingdom is the cattle and the lion. Cattle are diligent and move with purpose. But lions are swift, strong, and determined. Sometimes children succumb to the strong predictions and laws laid down about youthful occurrences such as accidents: "If you will be injured." "If you're can try drugs." "If you feel unloved...consider suicide." "If you drive...there is a high percentage of teen accidents." These are not God's laws. God doesn't know about percentages of injuries or illnesses. When young Eutychus fell from the loft (Acts 20: 7-12), Paul didn't check for bruises or broken bones. He simply took the young man into his arms and saw him as he really was: perfect. We, as parents and grandparents, need that same expectancy when we give children the freedom to roller blade, play team sports, travel alone, get a driver's license. In Isaiah (42:6) it says, "I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee." God will not let go of a child's hand.

It's up to you to loose children - to let them play in safety. One goal you might consider is the promise from Zechariah (8:5): ".....the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof."