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Holiday Boundaries – Protecting your Children

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Posted December 4, 2015 by myjoburg in My Joburg

Written By: Andrea Brann ( Principal of Trinityhouse Pre-Primary Randpark Ridge)

 

As a teacher of 25 years, and even more so after a very hectic first year as a brand new principal, break up day on 4th December is a goal I’ve set before me all year! The mix of sadness and excitement as you say goodbye to those precious children, who you have held in your heart, almost as your own for a whole year is quite something! At Trinityhouse Pre-primary, the event that takes it to another level, is that the children have just acted out or watched their nativity play and welcomed Father Christmas and then the big goodbye…

I am sure we all have the fondest memories of our Christmas Holidays… Even twenty years ago, it was an amazingly care-free time for children – running over to play with neighbours, cycling in the street, walking to public pools and just generally being what children should be – young, happy and care-free.

Sadly in 2016, life has changed dramatically. Growing up in George, and keeping in touch with my friends and their children, I do believe they still have a measure of that long – forgotten freedom, but not here in Gauteng. Here, there is no sea, mountain or river close by where children can roam, still under a parents eye, but seemingly safe. Here it is a “whole other ball-game”.

I am certain that as a mother of three children myself, and now talking to all the other mom’s out there, the safety of your children is your highest priority. I’m convinced that you have honed your periphery vision to the tenth degree, as you stroll through Cresta, with your children just a little way in front of you. I’m positive that you make certain they don’t hide in the racks of clothes or stand too close to a stranger, who’s already heard their name and may call them away from you. You know, as all mothers have heard this story by now, that after locking down a whole shopping centre and checking every car exiting the premises, security found this precious little girl in a minivan, drugged, head shaved and dressed in boy’s clothes within twenty minutes of her disappearance!

Then there was the story doing the rounds that at a relaxed family restaurant and play area, strangers were lurking to receive children over the boundary wall by diabolical staff members, who would get a large amount of money from insuring the child’s disappearance. I’m positive that you’ve told your children many times not to talk to strangers or not let them run too far ahead of you at the Botanical Gardens, accepting the fact that if they want to go up the mountain to see the black eagles, that begrudgingly you will have to climb to the top every time too, because you can just never be quite certain who is lurking on the trail up ahead. Us mothers of the twenty first century know, deep down in our bones, that we are living in a very dangerous age. We are utterly persuaded that, unlike our childhoods, our kids childhoods are fraught with dangers we never even knew existed when we were their age – the internet, extreme sports, paedophiles (we knew they existed but today they live off the vast profits of child trafficking), crime (children getting killed in cross fire), hijackings (children getting left in car seats) are just a few to start this fearful topic we know as moms, that “holiday boundaries” and our vigilance will prayerfully ensure our children’s safety.

But now, I want to stop at the most important lesson of all for us Moms – “balance” in our children’s lives. We need to take away the fear factor from our “holiday boundaries”. Fear is like a fire – it needs very little to keep burning. More than anything, we want our children to experience a happy childhood. Sadly, your childhood is a stamp that takes you into adulthood. There are too many wounded adults, safely disguised, walking around in this life – perhaps then, the very reason why they have no conscience in hurting children in crimes of this manner. How is it possible for us as mom’s, to take away these very real fears? For me it is simple, I know I need to be “street-wise-mom”, but far above this, is the knowledge that God ordained every day of my children’s lives. He has plans to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). In faith, although I don’t always get it right, I try to do this every day. As much as I want to be, I am not in control – God is.

As parents, our ultimate job, as hard as it is, is to bring our children up to be responsible adults; to let go a little bit each year. We will never be able to do this if we are frozen in fear.

Hanging up on my wall in my kitchen are the words of a very wise anonymous person – THERE ARE TWO GIFTS WE SHOULD GIVE OUR CHILDREN, ONE IS ROOTS, THE OTHER ONE IS WINGS.

Merry Christmas!

 


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