News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Carolyn Brown

Nurture your children and watch them fly

I love children. Their view of life is positive and pure. A simple experience like washing the car or planting flowers brings them joy and fuels their sense of adventure. God gives them to us as blank slates, trusting that we will lovingly guide them to their destiny. It's not the big things that they remember, but it's the way we share our values and our faith in little ways as we navigate the storms of life.

Psalm 127 states that a man's children are like arrows, and the blessed man has his quiver full of them. An arrow can function as a tool or as a weapon. It's dangerous to shoot an arrow blindly. Who knows where it will land or whom it could harm? That's why boundaries are so important to children. Boundaries protect the little arrows and those around them.

Many of the wounded souls that wander into our churches on Sunday morning are broken arrows. They might be deacons, ministers, choir members or even pastors. On the outside they look fine, but inside they are in shambles. Most of them fall into one of two categories, over-achievers and under-achievers.

The over-achiever is usually popular. They never say no to anyone's request for assistance, even if they are over-burdened and exhausted. They don't want to be liked by everyone, they need to be liked by everyone. Most of the time, their lives are completely out of balance. Already the hardest workers on the job, they find unwanted tasks dumped on them because to refuse might result in rejection by their co-workers. These are the people who immediately come to the minds of organizers when they need someone to chair a new committee or lead an activity in a church. Sure, they are already in charge of several other activities, but "they won't mind," planners think.

On the other side of brokers are the under-achievers. They are not so popular because people think that they are just plain lazy. They often overeat and can't seem to keep a job. When it comes to life, it seems they have clocked out and left the building. Encouragement doesn't motivate them and insults don't matter. Their opinion of themselves is so low that any negative comment that you make concerning them only reinforces their low self-worth. I'm sure you've seen folks like these. They don't smile very often. Smiling might let joy in. If they allow their emotions to accept joy, the old painful feelings might sneak in, too. Emotions must be kept in check. It just hurts too much to smile.

Do you have or plan to have children? Remember that they are arrows. There are so many wonderful places that your unconditional love can send them. I encourage you to play with them and pray with them and watch them fly.

Carolyn Brown, associate minister of Jubilee House of Prayer, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

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