A Note from Chris Adams: It would be nice to think we can protect our children from the ugliness and sin in the world, but that is just not possible. What we can do is help moms know how to help with the tough issues they see in their communities. We can also equip them to know how and what to discuss with their children at various ages. In that way, we aren’t hiding the issues, but appropriately sharing information as needed so that these children will also invest in making a difference as they mature. Read this insightful post from Dr. Deb Douglas, Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA . She is not afraid to deal with difficult social issues and she is not afraid to involve her granddaughter as she can. She is raising up the next generation of concerned young women.
Recently on the “End It Movement” day, I drew a pink “X” on my granddaughter’s hand after she saw mine. I didn’t expect this 4 year old with a tender heart to ask for an explanation beyond a superficial one. I was wrong. She wanted to know more and suddenly I was faced with the question, “How much is too much?”
My granddaughter knows I minister to women of all types. She’s tagged along with me on adventures of all kinds. She’s played with the children of sex trade workers as I’ve talked with them, gathered up toys and clothes to share with the children, and helped me deliver items to Purchased, the local ministry to sex trade workers. But she’s seen this all as just some more of what I do.
“What is trafficking, Pearl?” (Yes, she calls me Pearl!). Hmmm. How to answer that one? It’s not a question I had to answer with my children. How do we, as women’s ministry leaders, help moms grapple with the issue of trafficking? How do moms protect their children while being sensitive to their tender hearts? First, moms need to understand the problem.
Trafficking is not an issue we can deny. Trafficking happens in every town in the U.S. no matter the size. The less we know about it, the more susceptible we are to trafficking. For an introduction to trafficking, watch 8 Days, a film based on a true story or Nefarious, a documentary on trafficking around the world.
Trafficking problems are different in each town. Find out what is happening in your town. Check out the A21 Campaign, the Polaris Project, and the End it Movement for facts about trafficking worldwide.
3. Judge Not.
Understand that no girl ever dreamed of growing up to be a prostitute, dancer, call girl, or slave.
4. Remember Grace.
Understand that any trafficked girl could be our daughter or granddaughter. My mother’s favorite saying was, “there but for the grace of God.” This is true with trafficking. It impacts every race, economic status, and community.
5. Get Involved.
We can’t wait for someone else to solve the problem of trafficking. This doesn’t mean we have to go into strip clubs, but we can provide needed items to ministries for sex trade workers. And we can pray!
Pray for discernment to know how much information to share with daughters and granddaughters.
So what did I learn about the exchange with my granddaughter? Be prepared!
Trafficking is a hot topic and knowing what to say before the topic comes up is the key. Each child has different levels of understanding. Moms need to pray about what is appropriate for each child. Here are some suggestions for how much to say:
- Under age 5: Keep it simple. Pray together for people who are in unhappy situations.
- Elementary-school age: Explain how moms do their best to protect their children. Pray together for protection.
- Middle-school age: Begin to have serious conversations about how to protect themselves from being trafficked.
- High-school age: Watch the 8 Days movie together and discuss afterwards.
What am I doing as a women’s minister? Recently, my church hosted a showing of 8 Days as part of the education process. We have ministry projects to collect small gift items for women in the sex trade industry. Our pastor has shared statistics and information during sermons. And we have supported a conference on pornography.
There is much ugliness in this world that we shield our eyes from, but trafficking is a reality that is invading every community. Being prepared is the best way to educate children.
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline.