Quick link: I’m Not Called to Keep My Kids from Danger
This is an article published by Christianity Today Women. (I hope fathers as well as mothers read it, or are thinking about these topics as they parent!) The piece was commissioned in response to a recent post John Piper wrote about bringing kids abroad, to live in risky or dangerous places.
His piece focused on spiritual risks. I’ve written a lot about fear and danger, mostly in terms of physical aspects. I believe, as I wrote in the Proper Weight of Fear, that safety is an illusion, it can even be crafted into an idol. No matter where we live, our kids are never guaranteed any level of safety. What are we going to do with that sobering reality? My piece responds to Piper’s, with a personal take.
Fifteen years ago, my husband and I did the riskiest thing we could imagine and took a job in the Horn of Africa. People often responded by asking, “Are you bringing the kids?” We had two-year-old twins at the time.
…Yes, we were bringing the kids.
It still amazes me that people ask this question. But I heard from a friend who arrived in Africa about a year ago, she too, had been asked this. And several others have commented that people ask the same question.
Yes! We’re bringing our kids. And we don’t believe we are destroying them.
As I drafted this essay, I asked my kids if they thought they lived a dangerous or uncomfortable life. One responded, “I think its pretty comfortable. But from the outside, someone might not think that.”
One thing about risk and danger and pushing beyond our comfort zones, is that it is, partly, a matter of perspective. I look back at the US lately, and I feel a tingle of fear! I’m starting to understand my African friends who ask, “Aren’t you afraid to visit the United States?” and who assume I would have no fear about living where we do. Clearly, some places are more dangerous, physically, than others. I have never been to Mogadishu. Also, we do face unique risks regarding disease and healthcare. I am not ignoring those scary realities. But, the conversation about fear and risk is more than physical danger and more than simply thinking everywhere outside the US is less safe.
Anyway, head over to CT, and read the piece, about going outside the camp.