If we are to truly instruct our children’s belief system, their understandings, their decision making processes, their character and their passions we need to be on the job 100% of the time – no time outs.  We know we need to be aware for our children’s physical safety but what about their inner safety – the safety of their heart.  (Keep in mind that their heart is their mind, our soul, our emotions, our will, our character and our passions).

Character First defines this trait as Alertness and they have 5 statements that help us understand what Alertness looks like:

  • I will keep my eyes and ears open
  • I will recognize and heed warning signals
  • I will choose to do right before I am tempted
  • I will tell others of danger
  • I will stay away from unsafe places.

 What does being Alert look like for a Parent?

  • We need to be forever watching our children – watch for actions and attitudes  that are not in keeping with family values and address them quickly.  I’m not talking of being a helicopter parent, hovering over them and restricting them at every turn.  An alert parent will be close enough to see and step in when instruction is necessary.
  • The thing is our children don’t usually just do something wrong – there is usually a build up or surrounding circumstances.  We need to be aware of what these signals will be in each of our children’s lives.  We need to be prepared to lay aside whatever we are doing and act on those signals.
  • We are often tempted to deal with our children later – especially if we are emotionally engaged in whatever we are doing at the time.  An alert parent will put aside that selfish temptation to deal with our children later and understand that they us now.   When we see something that needs our attention – our instruction or guidance – an alert parent will see the inner danger, the threat to their heart, and take the opportunity to address it.
  • Our job is to show our children the way – tell them of the dangers ahead should they chose to stay in their foolishness.  An alert parent will discern what is a danger and what is an opportunity to grow.
  • We need to guard and protect our children’s hearts – keep them in safe places so they will grow strong.  The idea of boundaries is that we keep our children in a place where they will be able to do the right thing (most of the time).  An alert parent will have appropriate boundaries around each of their children.

I have never found it, when I have thought the battle was over and the conquest gained, and so let down my watch, the enemy had risen up and done me the greatest injury. David Brainerd

How true this is for our children’s hearts –- we cannot let our watch go.  We must always be on the alert watching for those things which will challenge our chidren’’s beliefs, their understandings, their decision making processes, their character and their passions.  We must be there ready to teach and guide them along the way.  We must be always ready to give instruction.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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