There is a common line of thought that says too much sheltering of children will produce naive adults that cannot function in the real world. In the case of homeschooling this is just an extension of the age old “What about socialization?” question. (As if the child who spends seven hours a day, five days a week in an artificial environment unlike any he will ever encounter as an adult, will be better prepared than a child whose main role models are mature adults.)
But ironically, this myth also abounds within the homeschool community. Could it be possible that we decry the “What about socialization?” remarks but on some level we truly are still worried about it?
We fear that our children will stand shocked and bewildered when someone uses profanity in their presence or they aren’t savvy to the words and phrases that other kids use to speak of illicit sex. We fear that the latest movie or pop star will be discussed and our kids will awkwardly stand there not participating because they have been too sheltered from the world and haven’t heard of these things.
Parents assume that the best way to know evil is by experiencing it for ourselves and so we expose our children to evil, but only to the degree that we deem appropriate. Yes, that sounds good. And look it’s right there in the Bible in the book of…wait. Nope, it’s not there.
God never intended His children to know evil. He wants us to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. Satan is the one who told Eve to taste for herself. And he wants us to fall for that same old lie.
Moms, our task is not to bring up children that fit in with this world. Are your kids weird? I hope so. I hope they seem like they are from another world. If we are fitting in with the world then we are conformed.
The challenge of every parent is to raise up children who love God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. Children who have a living and vibrant relationship with Christ, shining a light that penetrates darkness with righteousness and the gospel. We want more than just “good kids”. We want kids who enthusiastically love truth and hate evil and who have a burden to go out and change this world–not fit in with it.
We want them to know the difference between right and wrong because of:
1.) A good overview of the scripture. I can teach my son more about immodest women and the flattering and seductive women of the world, through the use of scripture. He doesn’t have to experience it.
2.) We can teach them the major doctrines of the Christian faith as well as teach them theologically rich hymns.
3.) We can teach them from biographies of true heroes–men such as Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone and William Carey.
4.) And we cover it all in prayer, that God would bring the increase of all we sow. We pray He would sustain them when they are one day out on their own and that their love for Him would motivate their choices once they are outside our protective walls.
We pray that the “faith of their fathers” becomes their own.
Shaping Them in the Greenhouse
One thing is to be sure: Our children will eventually be exposed to lifestyles and choices that are foreign to them. But we, their parents, are the shapers of their “want to.” Shaping them happens in the home–the greenhouse for tender plants that protects and shelters them until they are ready to be transplanted outdoors.
Children are going to develop an appetite and hunger for what they are fed. If all we feed them is junk food why would we expect them to grow up and eat nutritious meals? And if we allow our children to listen to and partake in pop culture, why are we surprised when they develop a listening ear to (or outright embrace of) the world’s philosophies?
Our children will one day have the freedom to go places, do things and spend time with who they wish. Has their “want to” been shaped by you? One day their decisions will not be driven by what they are afraid we, their parents, think. Their decisions must be driven instead by a strong sense of the presence and holiness of God.