Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator r as swimming toward the shore.
In the house his mother was looking out the window, and saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother.
It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.
From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkable, after weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn't let go."
As parents we can identify with that mom and little boy. The world is pulling our children. The devil is trying to sink his teeth into them (1 Peter 5:8). We may feel like we are "scratching" them with our discipline and restrictions. We must continue to teach, pray, discipline, and show them the right way (Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 16:26; Ephesians 6:4) The battle is too important to let go.