Parents: please protect your children’s innocence

November 15, 2011 — Leave a comment

Who hasn’t tuned in to the Penn State scandal? It’s horrible to hear the evidence stacking up against the alleged defendant. Hearing of a child being sexually abused is tantamount to feeling sick and angry at the same time.

In much of the counseling I have done, often, the culprit behind today’s actions is yesterday’s evil. Many adults are living in shame and worse because of sexual molestation in their formative years.

Melinda and I are parents of 2 beautiful young girls. They are our pride and joy. They are also our responsibility. It wasn’t even something we had to discuss: we have always erred on the side of caution.

We don’t trust everybody and anybody. Just because you are a member of the church doesn’t mean you are inside our inner circle of trust. Family members are also carefully screened. Overnight guests are few. Those privileged to care for our girls in our absence can be counted on one hand.

There are many hours of freedom that we will never get because of this choice. Weekend trips without the girls are infrequent. One of us is always present. We make this possible by making them a priority.

I’m definitely not an expert in any area of parenting. If I had to choose only one area – I want to be a protector of my babies’ innocence. Adam was to guard the Garden of Eden. His family was stripped of their innocence because he didn’t. Parents are gatekeepers.

Our Current Guidelines:

1. Overnight sitters are vetted in the following areas: honesty, parenting skills, and godliness. They must love our girl’s deeply. Their principles of protection must mirror our own. We must trust them explicitly.

2. Playing outside without parental supervision isn’t an option.

3. We continually teach our girls what is, and isn’t, proper contact. The depth of this teaching grows according to their understanding level.

4. We cover them in prayer daily. Cover them with angels, blood, and whatever other protection we can name.

5. We don’t let them out of our sight in any public venue (Sunday School is an exception, but again, I vetted the leaders and fully trust them). When they enter school this is obviously going to change. Their teachers and school will be vetted at this point.

6. When we have people over to our house (outside of our inner circle) we are never out of the room at the same time.

7. We don’t let anybody outside of our inner-circle take them to the potty.

8. Family members must earn our trust. Beyond the first layer of extended family: we wouldn’t consider leaving them alone.

9. They aren’t allowed to spend the night at their friend’s house. Their friends will be more than welcome to stay over here.

10. Upstairs in our house is our sanctuary. Unless you are sleeping in the guest room (inner-circle only), you aren’t allowed near the girl’s rooms without supervision.

11. We trust our guts. God is the revealer of secrets.

12. We check the sex offender registry for our area.

Some situations call for different guidelines. We pray for wisdom and exercise caution in changing circumstances.

This list will change as Sierra and Taylor grow and mature.

Right now we feel it’s as flexible as we can be in good conscience.