Safe Harbor! This is the term that I saw when hurricane Sandy was coming ashore October of 2012. Some dubbed the storm as "Frankenstorm" as it would affect Halloween, and the 2012 Presidential elections. People on the sea shores and beaches were concerned about their homes, boats, and the harbors that flooded. It was the term Safe Harbor that got my attention.
As I look at the term Safe Harbor I am moved to youth and youth ministry. The students that I have worked with over the years have had to weather storms, big storms, and even some as big as a hurricane and tornado in perspective. Recently I had a conundrum question asked of me, "Why do Christian students bully just like the other kids?". Boom a storm. Economic issues for the family, whoosh another wind storm. Then there is the issue of school and problems there of studies, tests, relationships, and problems with the social area. Students that have self esteem so low that it is in their shoes. Dates or no dates, boy friends and girl friends no one caring about them as they feel alone. Boom, whoosh, and then there's another problem in their lives. Then we talk about peace that passes all understanding in our Christian lives and students just don't get, see it, or believe it. Boom, Bamm, another storm but this time it's spiritual in nature.
Students come home and hope there is a place of safety where they can be themselves. The problem with some students' homes is that there is pressure at the home as much as there is in the school environment. What do I mean? Sports comes to mind. Be the best take no prisoners type approach. Make sure you are faster, meaner, leaner, and know more about that sport than anyone else ever.
How about band, academics, or even the social ladder? Students coming home have the pressure at home as much OR MORE than they do at school! The home has to become a Safe Harbor, a place to tie down and be safe from the storms in life.
The scriptures teach us to do so...“… You were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to harbor.” (Psalm 107:30 THE MESSAGE) Our savior and Lord has done this for us when it comes to saving from sin, from giving life purpose and meaning without a performance clause. The only clause we have to really "worry" about with the Lord God is to obey in love.
Parents here is my cry out to you as a Minister to Youth and Families, make your home a place of Safe Harbor for your kids, your children, your own flesh and blood. Don't live your lives through them, allow them to be kids, give them guidance and not pushes. Parents lead by example and not by prodding your kids to anger. Help your children navigate the water of the culture by giving them a Safe Harbor at home where they know they are loved, cared for, and sometimes told NO because you love them not YES because you want to be friends with them.
Bottom line for parents in this culture of storms is to allow your child to come home, to tie off and be safe; being loved and cared for by those that care the most about them; YOU! You are not the captain of the ship, their ship, Christ is; you are to be the captain of the harbor and make it safe for them.
Now I have to go and tie down some ships of my own in my own life too. You see being a leader doesn't mean we are always right, just that we will never, ever give up as we steer through the rough seas of life providing a place of rest for others who are tired and weary; a Safe Harbor.