The Oak Life Journal
Sep | Oct 2023
From the Editor
By Cameron Talbot
2 minute read
My firstborn, Lyanna, was born during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And so, in the midst of that season of great uncertainty and global paranoia, my world was suddenly flipped upside down. Into my shaken arms, they placed the most vulnerable, beautiful creature I had ever seen, my baby girl.
What came next, I’m sure many first-time fathers can attest to experiencing—I spent the next two years processing very real and visceral fear that something unthinkably painful and terrible might happen to my precious daughter. I have the authority, responsibility, to decide what comes within my family’s boundaries, to what and to whom I will open the gate. And that reality sobered up my personality very quickly.
It kept me up at night.
“Just calm down,” People told me. “You’re exaggerating dangers. Everything’s fine.”
To a certain extent, they were right, of course. And I’ve since learned how to better balance realist gatekeeping with faith that the Lord also takes my daughter’s life seriously. Ultimately, He is the real Protector.
But we’re never more acutely aware of the world’s darkness until it creeps viciously towards those we’ve been called to protect. Men are evil in the land. Sickness abounds. Truth is harder to come by.
Our gatekeeping choices matter.
Your choices matter. Keeping this reality balanced with faith in the power of Jesus, directors and caregivers of Children’s Homes must embolden themselves to stand guard!
You guard the gate for your kids by studying and listening to others. Research the signs of abuse or grooming. Do your due diligence on every single volunteer through background checks, interviews, asking around etc. Have a staff member pre-screen every movie. Know what’s happening in their schools.
You guard the gate for your kids by writing policies and procedures in your home. Volunteers must read and sign the rules before interacting with kids. No one is allowed in the children’s bedrooms. No one is allowed to be alone with a child, not even staff members. Procedures of response are in place if someone is abused, or if two children are found being inappropriate with one another. Easily accessible methods are in place for children to report problems, concerns or fears.
You guard the gate for your kids by trusting your intuition. Pray that you would have a double-portion of it. When someone crosses a boundary or you feel genuinely uncomfortable about their intentions, ask them to leave. Don’t wait until your intuition is proven right.
And finally, you guard the gate for your kids by standing strong, ready for a fight.
Be empowered, you who watch on the wall and keep the gate for the sheep. Do not be easily deceived, but instead train yourself for the fight. Not out of fear, but out of righteous justice and strength. Be the hands and feet of the Almighty Father of Orphans, and enact swift and clear protection.
And always remember, that He is the first and last Protector of His children.
He will be just.