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Lost in Space

Is my son's fascination with UFOs healthy?

My ten-year-old son has a fascination with UFOs and space aliens. I know this is partly a boy thing, but I'm concerned it could lead him to the occult. Do I need to discourage this fascination?

Recently, I read the following in Randy Alcorn's book Heaven: "God has built into us the longing to see the wonders of his far-flung creation. The popularity of science fiction reflects that longing. Visiting a Star Trek convention demonstrates how this—like anything else—can become a substitute religion, but the fervor points to a truth: We do possess a God-given longing to know a greater intelligence and to explore what lies beyond our horizons."

The Bible says, "For by him [Jesus] all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him" (Colossians 1:16).

Satan is aware of the fact that "the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1). The Devil realizes man will be drawn to explore the skies, even if only in his imagination. But he also knows the Creator behind the creation, so he had to come up with a plan to divert and distract. Enter UFOs, space aliens, extraterrestrials, and anything else that draws our attention away from worshiping God, the logical response to gazing upon his infinite wonders.

How about investing in a fairly advanced telescope, a few illustrated books on astronomy, and maybe even a video or summer camp that focuses more on the science and less on the fiction? Allow that God-given curiosity in your son to draw him into a deeper appreciation for the awesomeness of his heavenly Father, the true Father of the heavens.

Racially Incorrect

I caught my 14-year-old daughter using a racial slur with one of her friends. I was appalled and thought she would know better—but apparently not. How can I best teach her that jokes and comments related to people's ethnicity or racial background are never acceptable?

Doesn't it blow your mind that kids today think it's ok to use those names and words? They honestly don't understand why we get so upset. "After all," our kids explain, "they call themselves those names and make the funniest jokes about themselves."

A few months ago I overheard my 15-year-old son say, "Oh, that's so gay!" When I confronted him about it, he casually responded, "Oh, that's just the new word for 'dumb.'" Not in my house! Because we care about gay people, we informed him we would not tolerate any reference that degraded any of God's children—period.

I believe this particular desensitization is a by-product of the garbage we unwittingly allow into our children's minds and hearts. Much of today's popular music, movies, television, and video games are fraught with racial slurs and degrading remarks. So I suggest you see if there's any "garbage" in your house that needs to be taken out, including any inappropriate comments you or your husband may be making.

Then, one day when you and your daughter are standing in front of the mirror, make the comment, "I'm so fat (or ugly, or skinny, or … )." She'll rush to convince you you're beautiful the way you are. Ask her how it would make her feel if she overheard someone else say you were fat (or ugly, or skinny, or whatever). As bad as it was for you to say it yourself, it wouldn't even be in the same category as someone else saying something derogatory about her mother! Now ask her how she thinks God might feel when we jokingly demean one of his children.

Bully Pulpit

My grade-schooler reluctantly told me some of the boys at school pushed him around during recess, but he doesn't want me to tell the teacher. He's afraid the boys will discover he told on them. Any wisdom on how to handle this situation diplomatically?

Wisdom dictates alerting the principal to the situation, but fear of retaliation begs to differ. Without setting the context for your question, ask your son whether he wants his life characterized as being led by wisdom or fear. Praise him for choosing wisdom and show him Bibleverses that exalt wisdom as one of the highest of aspirations: "Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do!" (Proverbs 4:7, NLT). (See also 2 Chronicles 1:11-12; Proverbs 3:13 and 19:8; and James 1:5).

Now lead him to Scriptures validating his instincts that a life led by fear isn't a good choice. Here's one verse your son might especially appreciate: "Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you" (Deuteronomy 3:22).

By this point, your son probably will know where this conversation is heading. Ask him if he trusts God to be his defender. Isn't there a distinct possibility he's not the only boy being bullied, and wouldn't it be a good idea for him to stand up for others who may be too afraid to stand up for themselves?

Finally, lead him to Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Pray with him that God would grant him understanding of God's power and sovereign authority, so he can trust God to replace his fear with courage. Then together you can make the wise choice to alert the school authorities.

Lisa Whelchel is the author of Creative Correction (Focus on the Family) and the mother of three. Visit her website at www.lisawhelchel.com. Have a parenting question for Lisa? E-mail her at tcwedit@ christianitytoday.com.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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