Pray for Children

Summer Time and the living ain't easy.

Our Intention for the month of July is to pray for the protection of children/young people during the holiday season.

Its that time of year again; the long days and nights, the brighter, warmer days. Children and young people are off school; and parents have to up their game to stay on top. Yes, it's summer time; and where once, perhaps, the living might have been easy, it most certainly is not anymore. As parents, we might long for the 'holidays' but we do not get a break from our resonsibilities to our children.

A teacher once stated that schools were glorified creches and baby-sitting institutions. Perhaps he was having a particularly bad day when he said that, but have some of us not breathed a sigh of relief when our children do return to school? From the moment that schools are out, there are so many pitfalls and temptations surrounding us in the modern world, that we as parents need to pray for protection for children and young people, during the holiday In a home where both parents have to work, the need to provide a 'baby-sitting' service all day-everyday, does not diminish when schools are finally out for Summer. In households where one parent has a permanent stay-at-home role, he or she must increase his or her efforts to care and cater for their school-children. Even in a situation where these responsibilities are equally shared, it is still an extra load to take on board.

Can we afford to send them to summer-school this year? Should we take care of the book-list now or leave it till later? The bigger ones are going to need new school clothes this time, too; although we could let down those trousers...Mary wants to have a sleep-over and she needs money for a birthday party next week. Rain again, tomorrow. We don't want them stuck inside watching television and playing computer games all of the time: the noise is getting to us already and God knows what they'll be looking at, if we have to dash out to the shops and leave them alone! At some stage, whether we can really afford it or not, we may definitely decide that we need a holiday.

Cliff Richard sang about a wonderful Summer holiday where there were no more worries for a week or two; and people were doing things (that) they always wanted to. Perhaps that's a fair enough outlook when you're young - and single - but for those of us fortunate enough to have children, we know that those wonderful aspirations are difficult to achieve, even or especially when on holidays. Take the beach, for example. It's a wonderful place to be on a warm, sunny day. The children play with gay abandon and the parents sit back and let the experience envelop them. That wasn't the experience of some familes recently at our local beach, when droves of young people held a massive beach party which turned into a drink-fuelled riot, resulting in considerable police intervention.

Camping, caravaning or flying 'abroad' can be wonderfully exciting and exhillarating, but any of these pursuits entails many dangers. However difficult it may be to watch and mind children in your own country, it is far more difficult in a country where the language and culture are so different as to present considerable barriers. These however are surmountable and not the greatest threat. It is probably human nature that once you arrive at your choice of destination, the 'holiday time attitude' of letting your hair down and doing the things that you always wanted to, may surface.

The first visits to the pool should be simple fun for all the family, but before you can say 'buenas dias', your ears are being assailed with a constant succession of foul language, emanating from the mouths of older children. Before you can object, you get walloped in the face with a soccer ball, and then get admonished by an irate parent for being a 'killjoy'.

At least there are the night entertainments of karaoke machines and tribute bands to look forward to. But is it right to bring young children to open-air entertainments where drink flows copiously and some of the attendance may be badly inebriated, to the extent where their manners and their language flow down the gutter? What if this environment is not 'cool' enough for 'kids' and they leave your side, for even the smallest amount of time? What if you have teenagers, who may want to be more adventurous, and get lured to all-night foam parties, while you stay awake into the dawn, worrying whether they will return safely or not? The last thing you wanted on holidays was blazing rows and threats of 'grounding'.

So whats the alternative? Stay at home and suffer a build-up of frustration together? It has probably been a hard year. Surely, there's some way for you and your family to get the break that you deserve, to behave responsibly and to protect your children at the same time? There is no easy solution, no right or wrong way here. It is really a balancing act for parents. However, there are some safety measures you can implement or be aware of.

Protecting Children During the Holidays

Beware of Dangers

By Charles Montaldo

When shopping, either at home or abroad, teach your children to go to a sales assistant and ask for help in case they get separated from you. Teach them to stay close to you at all times while shopping. Never allow them to make unaccompanied trips to the toilet.

Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.

The bottom line should be: Never let your children out of your sight. Whatever their surroundings, though, teach children their full name, address and (your) telephone number to give to police officers, lifeguards or store security persons. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

Alcohol poisoing is a common risk for children during the holiday season. In addition to visiting licensed premises, many parents host or attend holiday parties where alcohol is served. Parents must take care to remove all empty and partially empty cups as soon as possible. Because kids imitate adults, many may drink the beverages they see adults drinking. Children become "drunk" much more quickly than adults, so even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous. Perhaps, most importantly, behave and act responsibly in your childrens' presence, while enjoying yourselves. Your bad behaviour may influence and have a direct bearing on more than your own family members.

Food poisoning is another potential holiday hazard. Practice food safety by washing hands, utensils, dishes, and anything else that comes in contact with raw meat, including poultry and fish, and raw eggs before and after use. Don't contaminate a serving dish with raw meat. Store leftovers properly and heat them thoroughly before serving. Watch out at those wonderful 'all-you-can-eat' carveries abroad. Don't encourage your children to eat six plates of ice-cream!

During summer months, turn off and tune in

Turn off all objects that create noise -lap tops, computers, televisions, radios, etc... Tune into God's wonderful gift of creation. Spend time at the sea, at Castles, having picnics, playing games, cycling, climbing hills, going fishing, swimming, etc. Teach your younger children to love the outdoors in fine weather, playing games like hop-scotch, skipping, ball-games, rock-pool fishing ; and simple games when wet like jigsaws, 'I spy', paint a picture for God. Simplicity is the key to happiness so lets keep it simple this summer. God bless.