Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Fox

Thank you, Cherry, for your excellent post On The Write Narrow Path today.

The Fox In Our Midst--Why Children Need Boundaries

For two days, every time we let our dog out she would bark nonstop.  I kept looking to see what she was seeing, but could not find the source of her obvious anxiety.  Because she is not a dog that barks to hear the sound of her own voice, I am always on the alert when she does bark and my God-given “search engine” goes into high gear.

This morning while we were having breakfast, my son saw our yearling heifer, Honey, running.  He started laughing and stated, “That goofy Honey is out their running!”  I, however, did not laugh; as I immediately knew something was wrong.  Although calves and yearlings will occasionally run for the fun of it, expectant heifers do not just burst into “for the fun of it” running routines.   I went to the window and, sure enough, not 200 feet from our barn, Honey had come to a halt and was staring directly at two foxes playing in the field…oops…make that one fox and one favorite cat (Herbie)…and they were definitely NOT playing!  Herbie is not quite a year old and is rather large for his age.  His youth, feline nature, and size tend to make him think he is ten foot long and bullet proof!  Because he is such a large cat, has a dark orange coat, and his tail was fanned out much larger than I ever thought his short hair could manage, I first mistook him for a fox!  He was hunched down facing the fox prepared for a fight.

Just as the realization of the danger Herbie was in struck me, the heifer ran right between the two and stopped.  The fox took a step toward the cat and the heifer lunged toward the fox.  At that point, I was out on the porch ready to take care of business when the fox bolted toward the neighbor’s pasture.  I called Herbie and he ran toward me with more speed and obedience than that which is common to felines!  When he reached me, he leapt into my arms, his entire body trembling, and his tail remained [comically] fanned for a good five minutes.  (I’m sure he is now devastatingly embarrassed as he realizes the spectacle he made of himself.)

This incident has had me thinking all morning about other “foxes” in our midst and those who, due to youth, think they are as sly as those “foxes.”  Fortunately for Herbie, because of where we live and my desire to protect my chickens, ducks, and cats, I have learned to watch carefully for foxes and always investigate the “red flags.”

Sadly, there are too many parents paying no attention whatsoever to the “red flags” indicating that there are foxes “playing” with their children and the children have not the maturity nor wherewithal to understand the dangers that await them.  The God-given parental  “search engine” that alerts a parent to check a situation out, is all to often ignored.

Parents sometimes succumb to peer pressure from other adults who contend that not allowing children “freedom” is to be overprotective and will damage children for life.  Now, I’m not talking about hovering here.  I’m talking about setting healthy boundaries and changing them according to the “fruit” of the child’s life.  It is important to make boundary decisions based on one’s own child rather than what someone else is doing with their child.  Parents of more than one child can attest to the fact that each child they have must be assessed separately when deciding boundaries, as every child’s needs are different.  We should not raise our children as if they were popped out of a cookie cutter.

When seeking counsel on raising children, it is prudent to first consider the outcome of the children belonging to those whose counsel we would seek (remembering, however, that even some of the best parents have had rebellious children because even children have God-given choice) and then determine whether or not another’s suggestions would be applicable to our own children.

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