Apparently in the Australian outback, ranchers have two strategies for dealing with wandering cattle. Some build miles and miles of high, tight fences to ensure that the cows stay in and the wolves stay out!
The other strategy calls for digging a deep, sweet well that produces delicious, cool water. This approach works to attract the cattle to stay home on their own accord.
When I read this information I began to think about how many of us parent. We get spooked by all the “bad stuff” out there and begin to build high walls trying to hedge our loved ones in. And sometimes those “rules” are necessary and appropriate.
But maybe a complimentary approach might be to make our homes and families so attractive, so fun, such a warm and inviting place to be that no one wants to wander.
It’s the difference of attracting folks to the light or scaring folks with the darkness. (As an aside, I do realize that a full discussion of the realities of hell and damnation are an important part of a spiritual conversation. But I am also aware that the scripture emphasizes that it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. See Rom. 2:4)
But I digress. My thought this week is focused mostly on parenting those challenging young people. In our culture it just seems that more and more parents are either ignoring the “bad stuff” or are so afraid of it all that they just keep building higher and higher walls. More rules, more safe guards. More “Nos”.
Instead, maybe we can shift our focus just a bit and make sure there is plenty of “sweet water” to attract our kids to hang around home. A pool helps. So does a big TV. Fun family events (fun for THEM not necessarily us) can also help attract those teens. Let them do the cooking, the choosing, the planning.
Before you know it, you might be hearing a lot of laughter in your own family room!