We've lived in the inner city since Stew and I were married. It is all we know together..... all our children know.
There are many things we learn from our neighbors and from all that we are engaged with in St. John. But one thing that has been very powerfully challenging to our parenting is the idea of "safety". It has been the question asked of us since I was pregnant with WesleyGrant and we were in Memphis, TN downtown inner city. The questions were understandable, but it lead me to ask the more important question, "What does God say?" "Does God call me responsible for keeping my children safe?" Because if He does, i don't think i can, ultimately.
I have searched and am still searching the scriptures for this....so far, I have found that the responsibility and power for safety with me and my children falls on God, not me. God never tells me as a parent to protect or keep safe my children. Do I have an instinct desire to protect my children at any cost? YES! and will I? YES! But I bear no anxiety of safety for my children in St. John or any neighborhood for that matter. I can trust God with my children in every place He sends us.
The thing I want to point out is not that you shouldn't seek your children's protection...or that you should live in the inner city...more importantly I want to state that we as parents must be careful where we get our guidance for parenting our children.
We can't produce parenting habits out of "religious huntches".... thinking something is "following God" just b/c every christian we know is doing it or it seems "right", or from others who have "religious huntches".
I found that when people (wonderful people) talked to us about the safety of our children and said that "God calls us to protect our children", i followed that for a while and it led me to make lots of "religious huntches" about raising my children in or out of an inner city....but then I asked..."what does God's word really say?" and found quite the opposite. I found peace and freedom and powerful guidance that I can be sure of.
Be careful not to function as a parent from "religious advice or huntches" when it comes to raising your children. People...literature...it always has good intentions...but can often be sourced from ones own opinion, personality or life experience. God teaches us through all of those things, but always refer to the Word accurately with any advice given or thought that comes to you...you never know....it just might politely disagree with what God actually says. More later...