Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
It is expected, not suggested by the Lord to be strong and courageous and to never to be afraid or dismayed! Our children must learn to understand that they are to be strong and courageous, not because of how much they can lift or by never admitting they are afraid, but because of an excellent spirit in them. Gaining this revelation in life is when our truest champions will arrive! They continue to win in life as we continue to parent important spiritual truths in them so they always trust in God, and don’t lean on their own understanding. Their game face or how hyped up they act will never define true courage. It will be their healthy fear of the Lord that fuels true courage. In that, like David, they become unstoppable!
Courage is something that can be absent or it can be encouraged. As parents, it is so important that we understand the necessity of challenging our children to never let fear hold them back from anything they want to do. Fear is the enemy to the courage and as fearless champions for Christ, there is no room for fear. I can’t imagine how many times I have told my boys while growing up, “You are so strong”, “You are so brave”, “you are so courageous”.
There were times that they would say “I’m scared” or display caution when they were younger. We took these times very seriously, knowing these were important opportunities to parent them into the fearless young men they were created to be. If we ever heard mention of our boys speaking of someone bullying or antagonizing, my husband Danny and I were quick to parent them in handling the situation with great courage. We would remind them that fear is a reaction and courage was a decision, and to never back down but to only face the problem straight on. We knew this would fuel a very important mindset in their future self on their way to becoming fearless warriors!
I remember one time when my son’s, Gavin and TJ were in elementary school and an older kid kept picking on TJ. After discovering the issue, we had Gavin, as the older brother handle it. We told him to go to the kid and tell him “if you ever pick on my younger brother again, I am going to beat you up!” Gavin was learning to have his little brother’s back and confront the fear of a possible fight. You may or may not agree with this tactic, but when raising little boys into warriors, we must teach them difficult life practices.
Sometimes we have to lead our children out of their fears while dealing with our own. Another time comes to mind when Cam, our oldest son had become fearful of roller coasters. We aren’t exactly sure how that fear entered in, but he went from loving them to refuse to get on one. We were at Six Flags and he and I were watching his brother and friends get on and off coasters. Watching, at Six Flags is not fun for a 12-year-old and I just knew that all he had to do was get on one coaster! Facing his fear would give him the breakthrough to have back the courage he once had. So what does any mother do? Not get mad or make fun of him, but something that would encourage and entice him. So I bribed him with money and told him I would get on the coaster with him. I did not want to get on either, but I knew I could not lead my son out of fear if I didn’t do this with him. Guess what? It worked for both of us! Twenty bucks and a few seconds of courage was worth it! We had a blast and did not hesitate to ride all kinds of coasters the rest of the day!
Life will give them plenty of opportunities to face their fears. This is why it is so important to teach our children how to handle their fears early. As parents, it’s easy to want to do it for them, but that will only cripple the courage they are needing to develop for themselves. As we noticed any signs of fear in any areas of our children’s lives, we would immediately take the issue head-on. The longer it hung around as a fear issue, the more fear was able to take root and become a much bigger problem for our boys to deal with. If they showed fear of the dark, fear of heights, fear of speaking to adults, fear of public speaking, fear of being hurt, and you can fill in the blank with your own child’s fears… we would talk about it, then pray about it, and then overcome it. In any situation possible, have your child deal with it first, whether it be a classmate, a teammate, a teacher, or coach….they must learn to confront issues and do it afraid as they strengthen their own ability to confront conflict, adversity, or danger. Courage doesn’t mean we don’t get afraid, it means we don’t let fear stop us and we do it afraid.