My children wear seat belts in the car. I make them wear helmets when they ride things with wheels. I limit their candy intake. I have a water filter on our sink to ensure the water they drink is clean. I don’t allow them to play by the road. These are typical boundaries to ensure our children’s safety that I think most people would agree upon, because they physically protect our kids.
However, when I say my children are not allowed to watch certain movies or t.v. shows, people tell me I’m overprotective. If I mention that our teenagers are not allowed to date, people think I am robbing them of their youth. When I mention that one of the reasons I homeschool is because I would like input into who is influencing our children’s lives, people assume I am controlling.
I find the irony somewhat amusing that people of today’s culture would never want their children to have skinned knees because of the scar it would leave, but they believe that a teenager with a broken heart builds character. People deem roads as dangerous, requiring distance when playing and seat belts when traveling, but the “information super-highway” rarely has accountability or safeguards. It has been established that sugary snacks shouldn’t be ingested, but our daily media consumption touting unrealistic expectations and moral compromises is thought to be unavoidable.
The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” One of the greatest callings placed on us as parents is to guard our children’s hearts. We need to have our young ones put on a heart helmet daily to protect their moral and spiritual purity. The filter on my kitchen sink is not nearly as important as the filter I need to have in my home; we parents need to be the filter through which the things of this world enter our children’s lives.
This is going to look different for each family. Prayer is imperative to becoming a purity filter for our homes. The Holy Spirit will confirm and convict what needs to be shared and what should not enter your home. As Christian families we need to do things differently than the world does or we will get caught up in its trappings.
Those of you who go to the bathroom in the middle of the night can relate to this: a dark room doesn’t get any lighter, but our eyes just begin to adjust to the black night. If we continue to saturate our families with messages of the world, they will soon lose their sensitivity to the darkness of this world. The pure life God wants for our children will no longer be intact.
Ephesians 4:18-19 puts it this way, “…Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”
Mamas, we need to filter this filthy water the world’s well is pumping out and make sure our kids are only getting the Living Water, or they will harden their hearts and begin to live for themselves. Now, don’t think I have my kids living in a rose-colored bubble; our house is not just children’s Bible songs and Little House on the Prairie 24/7. Many of the things I say in my home and in front of my children might make some of you cringe, not because I am foul or inappropriate, but rather because I speak candidly about life, forgiveness, and grace. Sex is not a taboo word in our home, and even the youngest of my seven children has heard me use the word on many occasions. They don’t comprehend the fullness of it, but they do know that sex is part of God’s design to bring about beauty and life. They also know that the world has tried to destroy it by bringing God’s creation into the dark.
I feel this straightforward way of speaking leaves my children “as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents” (Matthew 10:16). As a family we pray for the persecuted, for the impoverished, for the abused, and for the exploited. To do that effectively and to recognize the importance of praying on their behalf, my children have to know their stories. They aren’t pretty stories, but how else will they see this dark, broken world’s need for Jesus and His mercy? My husband and I don’t believe there a more important homeschooling lesson I could teach than the need for the Savior.
Society calls my kids sheltered. I say we’ve equipped them with spiritual and emotional safety gear.