I’m so excited about today’s guest blogger, Todd Rapp.  He’s been a friend for over … well, let’s just say a long time!  (No need to point out years — Isn’t it funny how things seem like they happened just yesterday until you put a date on them.  Then you realize that you’re actually older than you thought.)  He has worked with and encouraged tween/teens for 20 years.  What a privilege to hear from him today.  Thanks, Todd 

Protecting Our kids

With 4 boys, I’ve come to expect that we’ll be headed to the emergency room a few times.  Our local hospital is well acquainted with my family.  I showed up 4 times in one year, and my son Carter showed up twice in one week.  I asked if we could get a 2 for 1 deal, but apparently they don’t give out deals like that.  Carter was riding his scooter around on a tennis court and hit a small pole that split his forehead.  After an agonizing stitching session with the E.R. doctor, we took him for a treat at McDonald’s, proud of him for his bravery and tolerance of the pain of receiving stitches.  7 days later, he and his buddy accidentally bumped heads with each other and Carter’s injury opened up once again.  If the first time receiving stitches was rough, the 2nd time was torture!  We had him wrapped up in sheets as tight as a straight jacket and the scream-fest was on.  It was bad enough to receive the stitches the first time, but now that he knew what pain awaited him… he was beside himself.  As his dad, all I could do was hold him, try to encourage him, and pray.  As much as I wanted to take his place, I couldn’t.  The only reason I didn’t ask the doctor to stop the procedure was because I knew that my son had to go through the pain to get healed. 

Isn’t it difficult as a parent to watch your child suffer and not be able to do fix his suffering?  He is just 5 years old and solutions to his problems involve a lot less stress than when he gets older, so I’m told.  I’m trying to prepare myself for the deeper issues my boys will face as they move out of the elementary years.   At every age, we want to protect our kids from getting hurt.  If you are like me, you are more concerned with the outside influences that make impressions and try to mold our kids. 

So what can you and I do to help protect your kids from these dangers that await outside your door? 

1.     Realize that some of the greatest dangers lay inside your home….just a mouse click away.  Access to the internet opens the door to the most evil influences.  Putbsecure.com or another high quality filter on every computer in your house. It is worth every penny, isn’t it, to protect our kids from even the slightest immoral image?  Just imagine if your child happened across such evil by accident?

2.     Live out what you preach. In other words, don’t “preach” one thing to your kids and you not live it out in your own life.  This will damage your child’s sense of direction in right living.  Your child is watching your every behavior and listening to every word… and they are learning!  Live the truth in your own life as you teach your kids truth and it will set their feet on the straight and narrow.  Life will make sense to them, and they will be far less likely to wander.

3.     Teach kids God’s word and give life lessons every chance you can.  Your child’s wisdom will blossom and they will be well prepared for what they will face.  They will know how to react when they are laughed at, tested, pressured, honored, or encounter success and failure.

4.     Don’t miss a thing with your kids—whether good, bad, happy or sad.  Not that you can be with your child 24-7, but take interest in every part of your child’s life, respectfully. Be your kid’s biggest fan.  Appreciate even the smallest things your child does, as well as addressing even minor attitudes and behaviors things that your child may need correction or direction.  Communicate often by asking open-ended questions.  Let them see you accept them for who they are and care for them deeply while maintaining a firm set of boundaries.

5.     Co-write with your child a short list of boundaries and guidelines for behavior and attitude expectations.  Don’t forget to include consequences for breaking the guidelines.  Having your child create and agree to a set of rules and boundaries will make your enforcing them much, much easier.  You won’t seem like quite the “bad guy,” but more of an ally. 

6.     Say “yes” 20 times more than “NO.” When a child hears “No” too much, he begins to rebel even more-so.  Get creative with changing/correcting behavior.  For instance, if your child says, “Mom, I want to play video games now— I’ll do my homework later!”  Instead of saying, “I told you NO!”  You could say, “I’ll bet you an ice cream cone I can beat you in that video game!  After you finish your homework, the battle shall begin, pal!”  What happens then?  Your child goes to do his homework and you just earned a whole lot of
respect points.  The next time you have to say no, he can swallow it a lot easier.  Save your “no’s” as best you can for when you really have to say “no.”

7.     Pray, of course.  Pray that YOU would walk in the fear of the Lord, just as you pray for your children. He will bless you and give you wisdom as you train your children.  As you pray for your kids, remember to pray for their friends and future relationships.

8.     Know that God allows our kids, just as he allows us, to face challenges and difficulties.  This is God’s plan, as uncomfortable as it is to watch our kids endure.  Support them and help show them how to trust the Lord when it is hard.  That’s the way God works sometimes!  We know that our kids belong to the Lord and we pray that God will shape and mold them to be used for His glory.

Thanks for being a parent who cares deeply for your children!  We need our kids to love God with all their hearts, and love others as they love themselves. 

            Enjoy every moment!

Todd Rapp

Kanakuk Kamps

K-West Men’s Director



Branson, Missouri

K-West Blog: Beyond the Bunkhouse – http://www.kanakukwestside.blogspot.com/

Todd resides in Branson, Missouri with his wife Bronwyn and their four young boys.  He is one of the Directors at Kanakuk Kamp, which is the largest Christian Sports Camp in America.  A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Todd has worked at Kanakuk since 1998.  He served on staff with a youth ministry called K-Life in Dallas, Texas for 6 years prior to coming to kamp, as well as traveled with Christian music groups such as DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline, helping run their ministries on the road.  For more information about Kanakuk Kamp for children aged 7-18, please go to:   http://www.kanakuk.com/2011/default.aspx

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