Last week we talked about the importance of tending to our flocks as shepherds in our homes. 1 Peter
5:2-3, says “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Serving as overseers means to watch over our flock and guard them. In parenting small children, we are
constantly watching over them and guarding them from choking on pieces of food that are too big,
keeping them from falling into large bodies of water, and from other dangers they know nothing about.
Our lives are all about overseeing their well-being.

As our children get older, part of how we guard them is to train them how to be attentive about things
and people that could hurt them (“don’t talk to strangers”, “keep the doors locked when you are home
alone”, etc).

Part of guarding our children is helping them make wise choices about the company they keep. When
they are in preschool and elementary school, we ask them lots of questions about their friends from
school to help guide them away from classmates who are bad influences and toward those who will
encourage them to do the right things. These conversations train our children why choosing our friends
wisely is a life skill. A great verse to memorize together is 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

When our children begin the teen years, they usually share less about their friends and who they hang
out with. If we train them well when they are young, helping them guard their hearts, we can trust them
to make wise friend choices as teens.

But never stop praying for protection over their partnerships – in friendships, relationships, and who
they work for – because God tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
This isn’t just about not marrying non-believers. This warning includes all
relationships that influence us and our children. In guarding your flock, pray for opportunities to talk about how to make wise relationship choices and for your children to follow your guidance in order to protect them.

Guarding your older children has more to do with training them as younger children and dealing with
specific issues as they come up with each of your teen children. Make the time to train them to do
anything they’ll need to do as an adult while they’re still in your care to guard them as adults! (If you aren’t there, can your children swim? Drive? Say “no” to drugs and alcohol?) Training them now to be wise adults.

What can you do to guard your children and prepare them for their next stage of life?