I know that there are people who think that my husband and I are over-protecting or sheltering our children. I know that there are those who think that, because our kids are homeschooled, they are not being exposed to things to which they should be exposed, so that they’ll know how to deal with these things, you know, in the “real world.”
I saved an article from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine newsletter on the topic of “sheltering” our kids that was shared by someone in our homeschool support group a while back. I saved the article, because I knew that I would need to be reminded that we’re raising our kids in a way that, although often misunderstood, is how we feel God would have us to raise them.
The article says, in part
We’re finding [that “sheltering” is] a bad word in some circles. Something is creeping into the church (and even the homeschooling community), and it isn’t biblical. It is an “anti-sheltering campaign” of sorts, and it’s full of holes. Think about it. What does it mean to shelter? Protect. Defend. Guard. Preserve. Watch over. Shield. Safeguard. Hmmmm, so far so good, right? Sure, until “pop psychology” comes in and tells us we should allow our children to taste a little of the world in order to understand it or pray for it – that we should not “over-shelter” them. Nonsense.
What’s the opposite of shelter? Expose. Endanger. We parents are called to be like our Father in Heaven. He is the greatest “Shelterer” there ever was, and it is us He shelters – or watches over; protecting us, preserving us, shielding us. Praise Him for this! Glory to God who knows how to parent (shelter) us perfectly. May we as parents follow this model – His model. Let’s continue to shelter (love) our children as He loves us.
I think that “over-sheltering,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What is overly permissive for one family is just right for another. What is over-protective for one family is just protective enough for another.
I agree that children do not need to be naive about the things of the world, but they can be taught about worldly things from the basis of our family’s beliefs and value system in an age-appropriate manner based on the individual child’s maturity level, which only the child’s parents are in a position to determine.
In my entire 38 years, I have never been offered or pressured by friends to try drugs, smoking or alcohol. I have never tried drugs or cigarettes. I have tried, but never cared for alcohol and years ago signed a covenant not to consume it. Am I naive, innocent or sheltered? Perhaps. And, I praise my God that it is so!
And, I will continue to do all that is within my power to shelter, protect, defend, guard, preserve, watch over, shield, and safeguard my children until it is time for the Holy Spirit to take over that job in their lives by giving them the wisdom and discernment to make godly choices. I will do my best to raise my children to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) And, I will refuse to believe Satan’s lies that God would have me to do anything other than that with the lives to which He has entrusted me.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.