Those of us who are parents are constantly faced with challenges in raising our children. As our own daughter nears adolescent the issues become more delicate and complex.
Our daughter is 11 years old and in the sixth grade and she is a worrier. She worries to the point that she can become a crying, miserable mess of emotions just thinking of something going wrong. Not just “big” things but little ones as well. Just yesterday she was approaching tears in the store as we searched for new sneakers for her because she was worried that we would not find any that suited her needs. So when my eye caught this sentence when flipping through a ladies magazine, “Yet even in happy times, my son had been a worrier;” I stopped to read the article.
Reading it further I did so in a sense of disbelief, for once I read the title and subtitle I couldn’t help but feel my heart sink within me. “Surely,” I was thinking, “this isn’t what it truly talks about.” The article title is “The Fortune-Teller’s Gift. A crystal ball. Gleeful fibs. And the best $10 I’ve ever spent.”
Summing up the article Ms. Maynard’s son who at the time the article is written about, was 11-years-old and in the sixth grade. He had always been a worrier but that year the worries had overwhelmed him and he rarely smiled or laughed anymore. His mother, seeing her son’s misery evident by his slumped shoulders and subdued countenance after a holiday performance at school spotted a shop advertising fortune telling for $10. They stopped and the fortune teller, who the mother recognized from her previous employment as a fast-food worker, took her son into the fortune telling session. Twenty minutes later her son reappeared and Ms. Maynard paid the $10. She learned from her son how perfect the rest of his life was going to be.
He was going to have a wonderful life, go to college, be a movie or rock star and marry a nice girl. They would be the parents of a boy and a girl while living in a great house with a pool. He was going to live a long life as were all the members of his family. Even though his mother knew the fortune teller was a fraud and given her son hope based on a lie she wasn’t concerned. Her son did grow up and find that the fortune teller had lied and his life did have troubles and he did have to learn how to deal with the issues in life beyond our control. Still, Ms. Maynard considers the $10 she spent the best investment she ever made. Her son got the message she herself wanted him to understand at that time, “Don’t worry. You’ll be OK.”
As Christian parents this mother’s choice certainly isn’t our choice to help our daughter learn to handle her worries and fears. Last night, to continue with the example of the “could be” shoe disaster while her father continued to look for shoes, I took a moment to touch her hand, look into her eyes and remind her we hadn’t looked at all the shoes yet and that this wasn’t the only store we could go to. We would find her shoes. We then continued our hunt and quickly found her a pair that met her needs, our budget and were still stylish.
Our responses to our daughter’s worries vary, depending on the fear, situation and the time we have in the moment. We sometimes address it enough to ease her mind and return to the issue when emotions aren’t as stirred up or time permits a deeper exploration of the problem. We encourage her to pray about everything and pray with and for her in her presence and in our own times with God. Together we explore the Bible for the truth she needs. We’ve made her life affirmation Jeremiah 29:11.
We’ve also sought professional counseling services for her as well as medication when it was something that required that intervention. We do not discount that there are times when intervention for people of all ages needs to be aided by professional help or other resources. But we do not forget to point her towards the ultimate resource for seeking guidance on her future, assurance for her worries and calmness for her heart – God.
It’s not my place to say Ms. Maynard made a bad decision. It isn’t the decision I would make. Yes, her son got the message she wanted him to get, that everything would be okay, but it was hope based on the words of a fortune teller and that doesn’t work for our family. We don’t discount that there are people who practice things that are empowered for sources other than God but God’s word gives us some very clear understanding of how He views trusting practices such as fortune telling. Specific scriptures relating to this issue are given below.
Indulge me this one question. Of the investments we as parents make in our children everyday what do you consider your greatest investment?
These are not the only scriptures pertaining to this subject in the Bible. References are from the New Internation Version of the Bible.
Everyone should study God’s word on their own with the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the use of trustworthy resources.
“Acts 16: 16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”
“Deuteronomy 18: 9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”
“II Chronicles 33: 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 He took the carved image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and ordinances given through Moses.” 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites. 10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.”
“Galatians 5: 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
“Jeremiah 29: 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 15 You may say, “The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” 16 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exile—“