Today #1 went home with a friend after school. This little boy played on his t-ball team last year so we have known his parents for a while. When he saw that #1 was going to join his kindergarten class in January they became best buds instantly. I was so thrilled that he invited my little guy over because it is a BIG deal to get invited over after school. You get to sit in the carpool line together and walk out together and all of your friends know that you are the special friend who got the big invite. Anyway, #1 has hoped to be the "chosen one" since the first week of school.
So when his mom called last week to invite him, we had friends over. I immediately said yes and thank you and that I would call her later for directions and details. It just so happens that #2 and her daughter go to the same preschool. So I saw her yesterday and we agreed that the playdate was still on for today and I would pick him up at 3:30. We were all settled.
So last night when I got up to feed #3 I realized that this playdate was a brand new experience for us. Neither of my kids have been dropped off for a playdate, or a birthday party for that matter, with adults that we don't know really intimately. I began to wonder if I had really thought this all through! As I prayed about it I really felt a peace about this particular family, but I decided that we needed "ground rules". I came up with four of them: 1. He can't play computer away from home. (pop ups and crazy websites are too much of a risk) 2. He needs to stick to G movies. (We have made a lot of exceptions, but it's just easier to have this generic rule.) 3. He got a bb gun for Christmas and is learning gun safety with his Dad's supervision. So if there are any firearms in the house he will have a false sense of security and they should be put away. 4. There needs to be no po*nography in the house.
Yep, #4 is a little uncomfortable to discuss with someone that I don't know well. But as I was praying, I began to ask myself what he could discover at a friend's house that would have irreversable harm. Loaded guns and por*ography were the two things that kept coming to mind. I spent the better part of the morning praying for the words to call and discuss my "rules". When I finally made the call, the other mom was of course gracious and reassuring. The play date turned out to be so much fun for the kids. And I was glad that I had set the rules and discussed them with her because next time it would be easier if we are in this situation again and because now this mom knows that our home is a safe place for her child.
Even though #1 goes to a Christian school and the parents have had a background check, have been extensively interviewed and have professed faith in Christ there are certainly no guarantees that every home is safe. I vividly remember seeing pornography and a loaded gun in the home of a girl who went to the same Christian elementary school. I felt a total peace about him going after our conversation. I knew I had done what God was asking me to do as his Mom and from there I had to trust Him to protect him and go with him. But man, being a parent is hard sometimes! Does any one have any other advice or guidelines that you have used in similar situations?