I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. Isaiah 54:13 (NLT)
Fear is a terrible teacher, yet some adults navigate parenthood using fear-based methods.
They make comments like, “Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident!” or, “Don’t climb that tree! You can fall and break your neck!” Unfortunately, these bits of well-intentioned advice are rooted in fear.
I remember my grandma, whom I loved dearly, babysitting me as a little kid. Back in those days, she would dump her slop pail in the ditch. In the wintertime, that dirty water created a black hole in the snow that disappeared down into a culvert. To keep me from wandering off, she repeatedly told me that there was a boogeyman in the hole that would get me if I tried to leave her yard. She felt that fear would help control me, and over time I became convinced the boogeyman was real.
Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Well, fear can be a good thing! I want my kids afraid of playing on the freeway.” The problem is that using fear teaches a child to accept fear, and 1 John 4:18 teaches that fear has torment. There are much better ways to teach kids about the consequences of gravity, busy roads and unsafe choices by using wisdom rather than fear.
That’s why I feel it’s crucial that as believers, we model lives of faith and lives of peace to our families. As adults, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, we need to teach our children God’s Word. Then, just as importantly, we must model it.
Let’s live our faith out in a way that teaches our younger generations how to think, respond, and move through life with an unwavering spirit of faith, instead of fear!