Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"A Particular Set of Skills"

In the movie, Taken, Liam Neisen's character tells his daughter's kidnappers, "I have a particular set of skills..." This is one of my favorite lines from the movie. It may surprise you to learn that I can relate to Liam's character, as I, too, have a particular set of skills.

Growing up, I did not know I had a particular set of skills. I was never anything special, just a little girl trying to survive my dad's horrid violence and abuse; trying to get through the day while I tried to anticipate what the next day held and how I would get through it. I honestly credit my sisters; they were my rock. I could always count on them.

My particular set of skills was activated one beautiful day in February of 1982. The day I became a mom. Suddenly, without warning, I was thrust into the full-time job of keeping another human being alive. I realize the pregnancy, itself, was the same thing, but that was easy enough since he was thoroughly protected within the uterine walls. Once outside that confinement, I was awestruck with the responsibility of his utter helplessness. Without intervention from another human being, he would die, even though he was strong and healthy. There was one human being particularly suited for the job: His mom. Me.

I took this seriously. A particular set of skills, that I didn't even know I had, was activated. Suddenly, I found myself fiercely protective of my little baby boy. In some ways, I was unprepared for the intensity of this set of skills. Later, a few incidents taught me that the intensity of a mother's love is not to be feared or disregarded.

This fierce mother-love has been a thing to be reckoned with over the years. I've never agreed with the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. That's too broad for me. I prefer to say that it takes committed parents to raise a child. In the case of single parenthood, it takes a committed parent. Did certain mission boards have a village mentality when the sexual abuse of missionary kids took place by several of their leaders? The parents, trapped by misleading leaders, fell into the trap of allowing others to see to what is best for their kids. This is a mistake. This is the exact reason I would never have made the grade with any of those types of mission boards. My kids would have always remained under my authority, which trumps all other authority. This would have been in conflict with the overriding methods and I'm quite sure I would have been deemed uncooperative and unfit for their purposes. I'd rather be deemed unfit than have my kids suffer abuse.

Fierce mother-love is condoned by our great God of the Bible. He knows no one does it better. He is the One Who gave moms this particular set of skills. Just read Isaiah 66.

My particular set of skills has been actively working for 31 years now and I have practiced the skills on all eight of my kids. This has given them security, confidence and power.

* It gives them security by teaching them that no matter what, Mom has their back. Security goes a long way for a child. Secure kids don't seek security in things of this world; they have no need to seek what they already have.

* It gives them confidence because, safe in the security of my defense of them, they are confident to defend themselves if need be. One of my sons was being approached by someone he felt was too aggressive for his comfort level. He said, "Do not approach me!" The man kept approaching him. My son said, "Do not approach me!" The man kept coming. My son, standing his ground, said for a third time, "Do not approach me!" And the man stopped and no longer approached him. When I heard about this later, I was incredibly proud of my son.

He was secure in his thinking that he did not have to tolerate aggressive approaches by an adult.

He was confident enough to demand the man stop and this enabled him to retain control of his own situation.

This leads to my third point:

* It has given them power. My son exhibited power over his own body, over his own situation and over his own outcome; and even over this adult who approached him. He did not want that man approaching him because he perceived him as aggressive. Whether the man was aggressive or not is completely irrelevant. If my son perceived aggression, he was right to treat the situation that way.

Young moms, be confident in your particular set of skills. Know that they are of God. Do not fall into the world's pattern of "it takes a village." It does not take a village. It takes YOU. Let no one, not even the most experienced people, not even leaders in your church, decide what is best for your kids.


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