Village People

God said to Adam: “Don’t eat the apples off that tree.”

Adam said, “What tree?”

God replied, “That tree – in the middle of the garden. Don’t eat the apples.”

Adam called:  “Hey Eve, we got apples!”

Children … sigh! My son recently found himself in a tough spot due to some poor choices he’d made. I was concerned and worried enough to go into prayer mode for him, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every morning, he consumed my thoughts. He was constantly on my mind. Help him, God, I prayed.  Guide him to you. Show yourself to him. Let him know his life is not his own. He has a greater responsibility because he has been given so much. Call him to you. And on it went.  I also enlisted the help of a few relatives and trusted friends to pray with me. I just wanted to be sure my son was OK. My friends and family comforted me and prayed with me and God came through for me and my son – as always. I am thankful. But just before I got the good news that God turned his situation around, I had a realization. My son was not the only young person who’d lost his way and therefore, become guilty of frustrating and disappointing his parents. The main difference between my son and others? THEY were not my problem.

“… they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” Pastor Martin Niemöller

See, I thought it couldn’t happen to us. I thought we were immune to some of the difficulties other families faced. I felt secure in how I’d raised him, the calling on his life and in how much God had blessed us. When other parents told me of their trials, I would pray with them, but I felt personally detached from their situation. “Wow,” I thought. “Look at what THEY are going through!” Such Arrogance. Now I am ashamed of my attitude. “Peace and safety,” says the scripture, is what we claim just before “sudden destruction” overtakes us (1Thessalonians 5:3). Before it personally touched me, I didn’t even THINK to pray continually for the guidance and safety of all of our young people, everywhere. I know now that was foolishness, for their calamity at some time may touch me and mine in some form. And soon we will hand our world over to them – our young people, to do what they will – no, to do what we have trained (or failed to train) them to do. God used this situation to convict me:  Loria, you’ve got to care. You’ve got to pray. This does affect you and your loved ones. You’ve got to be concerned.

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you…” 1 Samuel 12:23

While our situation was not dire and we were not in desperate straits -THIS TIME – what if the opposite were true? Would it have taken something truly awful for me to be actively praying for a solution? Wow. When it happened to my son’s friends, I thought “Wow. Look at him – he did that to his poor mother.” And it’s true, when our kids do things that are not in keeping with what we have taught them, we look to ourselves. What did I do wrong? How could I have done this better? Is this a result of such and such catastrophe? Are they acting out? As mothers, we take this on ourselves. Even scripture says, “A child left to himself will bring shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15) Society doesn’t automatically look to the father, they look to the mother. And we look to ourselves for the blame, too.

My friend said to God (concerning her own son), “I didn’t raise him like that!” To which God replied, “Then why are you letting the devil condemn you about it?” Nobody wins the blame game – it just keeps you wrapped up in guilt, feeling badly and not being able to get past it. Haranguing and nagging the offender doesn’t help. When confronted, my own son said, “What do I do now?” That attitude helps us to move forward. Sometimes, analyzing how we got where we are helps to ensure we don’t make the same mistake again. But eventually, we
have to address the situation head on: How do I get myself out of the pickle I find myself in? And then we need to pull up our sleeves and work to do just that.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” African Proverb

When my children were small, I used to walk them to their bus stop daily. It was only a short distance away – just a couple of blocks – but it was on a busy street. For some reason, other parents felt completely safe with sending their children unattended, or so I assumed. I was quite on my high horse about it – “THOSE parents,” I thought. How could they send their children to play near a major street? Not my children, I said to myself, as I proceeded to escort them every day. Before long, I knew all the children and I was the adult presence at the bus stop. I watched out for them all.

I remember when some of those same children were doing poorly in school. I recall one girl who couldn’t read, yet she was being advanced from grade to grade. These same children wanted to form a “study club” and invited my children to participate. But I wouldn’t allow my children to become involved for fear their grades would slip, too. That was alright for THOSE children and THOSE mothers who were uninvolved and did not seem to care. It didn’t occur to me that maybe, those mothers could not do better. And maybe somewhere along the line, their children would affect my own.

It seems my neighborhood school shared my views. They were guilty of not caring about the progress of the children and foisting the responsibility solely off on the parents. They thought those families alone would be affected. They didn’t see a reason to care because it didn’t affect the student body as a whole. Except one day, it did. Our school was evaluated and found lacking – they were put on the watch list. I was sent a notice telling me that I could send my children to another school because our current school did not meet the standards. Wow. The following year – let me tell you – I received no such notice from the school regarding their academic standing. It was a humbling experience and they realized what affects one, may affect us all. Lesson learned. Message delivered.

That was a wake-up call for the school and for me, then. But now, today, it’s message returns to me. We must care when we hear stories of other children doing poorly. We must care when we hear of other parents who are struggling. We must NOT think it affects only THEM, for we could be THOSE parents – it’s only by the grace of God that we are not in their shoes. We must pray for them now, as we would our own children and not wait until it becomes our problem. It is our duty and responsibility. If we don’t care today, one day we will – because their lives may very well be intertwined with our own.

Be blessed,


P.S. I’m thankful for the joke that reminded me, even God has problems with wayward children (LOL!) and for the friend who reminded me “God is ABLE” to keep them!

10 Replies to “Village People”

  1. I love this one, so many points to comment on! First, it’s my opinion you should be confident in your parenting. You’ve instilled in them values and life lessons. The parent should have standards and a strong foundation to be able to proclaim, “Not my child!” It is a great feeling to know the person you’ve shaped solved a problem or steered a peer in the right direction. They were the tutors and mentors, not needing to be tutored or mentored. We strive for excellent children! BUT, to remove yourself or consider yourself a step above is the faux pas. Not too long ago you blogged about coming into who you really are and using your talents and not holding back, God was the One who had first exalted Uzziah, and God was the One who humbled him. Uzziah lost everything when he forgot that the reason for all his victory, power, and fame was obedience to God’s Word and acknowledgment of His sovereignty.
    “All together!” But Jesus said, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.”16 The punishment for those in leadership is usually much harsher because of their example and influence. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Prov. 11:2). “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18) ( Hmmm, to whom much is given, let us define “much.” Do we consider much as only monetary or is it wisdom or is it the singing voice of an angel? To me it means whatever my gift is, I am to share it. As a leader, when you see leadership is needed you step in, that is your nature, your gift, as a mother, when you see lost children, you step in and your nurture them, as a Christian you share the good news and your knowledge of Christ, you don’t keep it to yourself.
    I am not a Bible scholar, but I do know we are all promised trouble in our lives and there is not an age on when that trouble begins or ends, and I know that it is a test of faith. When we give Glory to God in good times and in bad times we show Him that we know who is in charge of our lives. Proclaiming not my child would not work in a bad situation, because it is not our child, they belong to God and He may be working with them at that moment. Our pride could worsen the situation. Maybe God didn’t like the fact that we were taking all the praise for an exceptional child, or the fact that we weren’t using our talents to make more exceptional children, just being glad that an unfortunate situation was not our own.
    Finally, I also learned by thinking I was above others due to their circumstances would quickly put me in a situation similar to theirs. We can all say what we would never deal with in our marriage, what we would never toleration from our children and lines we would not cross with best friends and co-workers, so much for that. Unfortunately you never know how you will deal with a situation until it is in your home, but God gives us the gift of Wisdom and Grace, so that when it does hit your home, you know someone who has experienced the same thing you are going through. Could it be that person/family you thought you couldn’t relate to? Hmmm?

  2. Uhm, Melanie … all I have to say to this is WOW and OUCH! LOL! Folks, meet Melanie – and while she is “not a bible scholar” she is a product of a worthwhile bible study, as you can see! Yep, I hear you about the pride and I love that you quoted scripture regarding Uzziah! You made some really good points – well done!

  3. We have cause to celebrate! God chastens His own. So when our children step out of line, we have no doubt that God will offer the rod of correction. It’s because we have raised them as His and He has accepted them.

    God promises “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

    The key word is “When” not “If” which means it’s definitely going to happen. I am not disheartened by the vicissitudes of this life, even though it’s painful to see. Adversity gives our offspring the opportunity to test theories and apply all that was taught. It also helps them to become resourceful and self-reliant individuals. This is why we put such an effort in rearing them, so that one day we can push them out of the nest. Sometimes they flutter to the ground and may even hurt themselves. To quote my sister, “They shall not surely die.” It will make them stronger. Eventually they will soar.

    My kids make me proud when they make all the right moves, listen to instruction and take parental advice to heart. However, the most rewarding feeling is seeing them get up after life has knocked them down. Bought sense is the best sense.

  4. Well – WOW, again! I love, love, love this! I try to teach my kids that giving up is not an option. You get back up. So I agree completely – I am so proud when I see them handle disappointment, brush it off, get up and do it again. I know then that they can handle what this world can deal out. I want them to be able to say like the Tubthumping song, “I get knocked down but I get up again – you aint never gonna keep me down!” LOL! And every time they rise, they do so stronger. In the words of Maya Angelou, “And still I rise!” In the words of Donnie McClurkin, “We fall down but we get up!” And like the Weebil commercial from my childhood, “Weebils wobble but they dont fall down!” Y’all done started somethin’ …

  5. I Love the joke about the apples in the Garden LoL!! but on a serious note I think all parents are guilty of ” Us four and No More”
    Me too and Not you” thank you Loria for reminding us of this we all can do better, thank G-d for his gracious Mercy upon us. and not condeming us for missing the mark, but chastising us with Love so we may come to the conclusion that we can do better.

  6. LOL, Rachel – or in the words of George Dubya Bush: We can all do GOODER! 😉 I thank God for reminding me there is no THEM or WE – there’s only US! As the song says, “We’re all in this together…”

  7. Hi. I am not sure why I am even writing ..I am in tears right now because today I actually felt that I would just give up. I have done everything within my being for my son … Yet its one let down over another. I have tried counseling, i have tried reasoning, then of course came the talks, punishments etc. The streets consumed him..those people he called friends were able to enter into his being and twist him around to where not even i recognized him. He is only 18 and my heart aches and cries everyday. I taught him the word I took him to church but I cry so often where did i fail…Was it the divorce? was it the lack of attention because I worked so many long hours to keep up with the mortgage? Where did I fail? Today I actually verbalized maybe he is not one to be saved…maybe this is what is in store for him..UNITL I read this! Thank you! My heart is soft when it comes to my son…my emotions are on over drive right now. Thoughts of him are an everyday occurrence..Oh how I miss him but i don’t miss what he has become…who is has become. How could he treat his mother like this …how could he see his mother crying and not even feel moved….this along with so many other questions I have asked myself over and over. I sent him away for a new beginning and its going ok but he asks to come home everyday…I have in my heart if he does return he will end up in jail or in a coffin…Today i ask for everyone to help me form one mother to another I Need HELP! I need ur prayers..I need to save my son

  8. WOW – you are the reason I posted this article! Sometimes, I really don’t want to publish personal details because I’m really a private person. But God nudges me and then I think, what if someone else is going thru this? What if this will help them? Thank you for sharing your struggle – our young people get so lost, despite our best efforts – we do all we can, we try as hard as we can. My children are the product of divorce too, so I share your guilt. But what could we do? We had to provide for these children. In the end, I made my peace with my own actions and realized he has to deal with the consequences of his actions. This is part of being an adult. We have to administer a little tough love sometimes because it is for their own good. And then I keep praying because I know prayer changes things. God is able to turn their hearts towards Him. I am praying with you now – and my readers will pray. Soon we will have a whole host of people praying for our young people. And I believe we will see things change for the better.

    Be blessed, Bridget!


  9. Lord, Lord, Lord. Only our children can take us to the brink. Unfortunatley, sometimes we make bad decisions and our children make bad choices. As mothers, it is our natural instinct to jump in there and protect our children. A counselor at Hampton University related the story of a daughter who broke completely down in the face of a crisis. Her mother had always done everything for her and shielded her from adversity. The counselor astutely said, “When we do this, we take away the young person’s ability to develop coping skills.” Loosely translated, in order to get to it, we must go through it. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:5-7″
    @ Bridget…I know it’s hard, but be encouraged. Never give up but let go and let God, and we will keep the prayer wheel turning.

  10. Annette – they will take you there, won’t they! Thank God for the power of prayer – it is the most effective weapon we have. It works, ALWAYS! And He will also help us raise these children and guide us into making the right decisions. I learned a song in high school chorus from Handel’s Messiah that quoted the scripture:

    “He shall feed his flock like a shepard and he shall gather the lambs in his arms. And carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young.”

    By this, we know – He is our shepard, He’s got us in his arms AND he will take special care to help those of us “with young”. I thank God for the comfort found in this scripture.

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