An acquaintance of my husband found out what we homeschool our children and immediately stereotyped us as "sheltering" our children. WE found this humorous and asked what he meant. He went on to talk about a relative of his who homeschool their children and they know nothing of the world because of this! His concern was that homeschooled children aren't exposed to a broad array of beliefs, worldviews, lifestyles and all they know is what goes on in their own home. Their parents have created an environment of dependence on them, a sterile environment free from knowledge of what the world is really like.
My husband and I have always strived to prepare our kids for maturity in life and in the Lord and are still praying and asking the Lord what this looks like for our family. We don't want to shelter them from everything that goes on in the world, but to also be wise about what we expose our children to taking into account their age, maturity level, reasoning capability ect. This balance is sometimes tricky and as a result some Christian parents end up sheltering their kids, some end up not protecting them from evil influences in both cases neglecting our duty as Christian parents.
We often discuss things right in front of our children. I know of many families that shoo their children away when they discuss things that may bring up topics such as
world events that include serious criminal events,
or things that could implant fear in the hearst of our children.
Are we doing them a favor here?
Or are these things that we want our children to be aware of so that we can impart into them what the Word of God says about these things?
Do we not want our children to see us wrestling with the fact that so & so is living in a sinful lifestyle?
Do we not want them to see us laboring in prayer for them?
Searching the scriptures for how to handle this situation?
Discussing it together as a married couple?
Handling a Mattew 18 situation properly?
Do we not want them to know that there are people in the world that DO NOT follow the things laid out in the scripture?
Do we not want them to know that there are truly evil forces out there that want to hurt them, destroy them, and rob them of the innocence they currently have?
Are we TULEY doing them a favor keeping these things from them?
*Obviously, not sharing specific names of people helps keeps discretion between you and your husband, but when the kids ask wha tis wrong, why not share?*
Just let the kids be kids! They only get this *false* view of an innocent, loving world for so long, let them enjoy it.
I challenge you to think about this statement for a moment. Is it not our goal to bring our children into maturity in all things? Is it not our goal to equip them for the "real world"?
I am NOT SUGGESTING that you teach your 3-year-old in detail what is occurring around them and to use some discretion and common sense, but when they are exposed to something, I pray, it's under YOUR supervision and YOU'RE there to lovingly point them to find Jesus in that situation.
An example of this pertains to the above photo:
My husband and I have been praying about a very large, life changing descicion for a while. Our kids have seen us struggle and pray and we've been completely open and honest with them about it. When the Lord finally gave us the confirmation to move forward in the descicion, our kids watched the humbling event of Alex being driven home by his boss, hand over his work truck, work iPad, work uniforms, and work tools and they watched as his boss drove away with the very clothes off my husband's back. Yes. He quit his job (this was about a month ago...).
We sat the kids down and explained to them the very thing we require from them in obedience, we too abide by when it comes to Jesus: to obey immediately, thoughouly, and cheerfully.
We explained our financial situation, how long we can make it on what we have left in the bank account, what sacrifices our family is going to make, and to what extent are we willing to remain obedient. What are we willing to lose? Are we truly willing to sacrifice all to do what the Lord has called us to do?
We didn't make this situation light or fluffy, but let them feel the weight of it. We then explained that God ALONE is our provider. It's better to be 1 day in His will then 1,000 days else where.
As needs arose over the last month, the kids were aware of them, and as a family we sat down and asked God to meet those needs. Time and time again the kids got to SEE the Faithfulness of Our God. They got to see Him answer prayer and provide for our every need.
What if we just said, "Don't worry about what's going on honey. This is mommy and daddy's concern. Go run off and play!" They would have greatly missed out!
It's been cool seeing the concern and faith in my second born grow during this time (her belly is what drives her;) ) Every night she was concerned where our food for the next day was going to come from. Every night we reminded her, "Did you go hungry today? Has God not always provided food? What does the Bible say? Don't worry about these things, God feeds the birds of the air and the flowers of the field will He not feed you (Matthew 6)? Among many other scriptures...
So next time that transgender man/woman walks down the road, are you going to cross the street and shield their eyes, or are you going to use that opportunity to teach them?
What about that neighbor that cussses up a storm and is drunk and high out of their mind as you walk from your car into your home or are outside jumping through the sprinkler? Are you going to run inside and silence the questions your little ones ask and vow to never go outside when that person is outside ever again, or are you going to explain the effects of drugs and alcohol and a life apart from Jesus?
Are your children going to see you share Jesus with them even though they are intimidating?
What about when the neighbor boy wants to play alone with your little girls and you don't allow them to be alone? Are you going to explain why? Are you equipping them with understanding so they themselves can have the discernment as to what's appropriate and what is not? Are you going to teach them about purity, sex, saving themselves for marriage?
I know this seems totally polar opposite to what we've been taught, but let's look at the Bible. Does God not tell us to instruct our children and teach them the things that His Word says?
Search the scriptures. Start in Deuteronomy 6.
Obviously, I don't allow my children to watch inappropriate TV shows, or listen to secular music, or go places that are inherently dangerous to them, but I use every day situations that occur to teach them about God's love, salvation, forgiveness and equip them to discern what is Jesus and what is not.
I pray you examine these things and DON'T MISS OUT on the lessons you get to teach your kids while they are under your roof, and your protection.