Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Child's Courage to Launch

The courage to launch depends on the security of landing.  Children who know they can come back home and land in a safe place are a lot more likely to have the courage to try a new venture (adventure?).  Whether it is the first toddle aimed at mom's arms stretched out like a basket to catch, or the trip across the country for college with a plane ticket home, knowing there is a secure landing helps the going.  The courage to go places, explore ideas, speak up, or make a difference comes more easily when a child has a safe place to land.

A first grader, Mary, didn't want to leave her mom and go to school.  One day mom drove in the parking lot and got out of her car to visit a friend while Mary was getting her things ready in the car, supposedly.  Mary hit the lock button and refused to come out.  Through heaps of cajoling, mom got the little girl to open the door and I helped her get Mary out.  Then mom left.  I was holding Mary as she kicked  my shins and yelled.

I got her to come inside, after mom's car disappeared down the drive.  We sat down, and with the help of a soft drink at nine in the morning, Mary and I talked calmly.  She really didn't want to leave her mom. 

We made a deal, with mom's permission.  Mary would come to school, but once a week she could go back home if she wanted.  At any time, we would call mom to pick her up and go home.

Mary went home once, the next week.  And, never again.  In fact, never again did she fight coming to school.  The comfort of knowing that she could return home safely gave Mary the courage to face all those things that we do in school.  It may not work this way for every child, but knowing she had a safe landing helped Mary face the larger world.

Building a safe place to return gives bravehearts confidence to go new places and try new things.  Is home safer than the world?  Or, just as jarring?  Is it a secure place from the hurts and pressures of school and the world? Or, just another battleground?  Home may be where the heart it is.  Home certainly is the launching pad for bravehearts who try, knowing there is a safe landing waiting for them.

Ultimately, the real safe landing is with Jesus.  The better a child knows Jesus, the more likely he or she will know that as He leads, He will also catch.  A trustworthy and awesome basket with arms outstretched, always there for those who know Him.  And freeing to boldly go on His adventure.

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