I am a Christian. I have been homeschooled since third grade. It has often amused me to watch others’ reactions when they discover that I was homeschooled. For the most part I did not encounter much of a strong negative impression. There was, however, one consistent response: the understanding that due to my homeschooling, I must have been and still be “sheltered.” At my initial encounter with this reaction, I was indignant and felt rather insulted to be branded as such. It felt as though I was not as experienced, not as wise as the others around me, and therefore, one who was not aware of how the world really functions. This, I could not abide. From then on, I had to struggle with anger anytime someone mentioned that, or insinuated that I was – that word. Indeed, my pride rose up mightily on its pedestal of power over me. I was quite unaware of the damage that was slowly working upon me.
What first came to me was the realization that, as much as I did not like to admit it, I was sheltered. I had been sheltered in many ways since I was born. In fact, my parents went to a great deal of trouble to insure that I would be sheltered. The meaning of the word shelter is as follows: “to protect, to place under cover, to create a safe haven for, to give sanctuary.” The question is now before us, what then, was I sheltered from? Well, unfortunately, the individual list would be far too extensive to list here, but it can be summed up as the influence of the world. At least, as far as my parents were able. Not growing up in Christian homes themselves, they had lived in the world and knew what it had to offer, or more accurately – what it did not have to offer. So when they committed their lives to Jesus Christ and had children, they determined to create an environment in their household as pure and untainted by the corruption of the world as was possible. To the best of their ability they monitored what influences were allowed to enter the house.
Thinking about this in terms of my own future children, it makes perfect sense. I want my children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, and strength. For this to happen, children must be sheltered from the outside influences of the world. The entire journey to becoming like Christ is one that is not easy, and one that requires an incredible amount of effort and singleness of mind. The desires of the flesh are strong and not easily swayed. The attractions of the world are not easily rejected. So to remove as much of their influence over our children is entirely logical. If your child was standing in the woods, and a ravening wolf was attacking him or her, would you not do everything in your power to protect that child? Of course you would. But there are spiritual wolves everywhere, and we have the responsibility to guard and protect our children from them, to shelter them. The time in which young children are growing up is the time when they are discovering who they are. They are not grounded in what they believe, they are very open to influence, and therefore much more easily turned away from God towards the world. Many of those in the world have realized that if you can get the kids when they are young, then you will very likely have them completely, and yet we Christians seem not to have gotten this idea very well, and the next generations are paying the price for it.
So, after all this I came to see that I had been sheltered by my parents. For them to have done that was for them to have fulfilled their calling as Godly parents, and I am so thankful that they did. Too many parents do not do that for their children and think it is loving their kids to allow them to do whatever they want. But in fact those who do not discipline their children and put boundaries in place are not loving their children at all, but in fact are crippling them spiritually. It is a sad thing, but I have seen it many times over in Christian homes. It all comes back to the Word of God, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” – Proverbs 13:24
Sheltered? Indeed. I was sheltered. I am proud to say that my parents cared enough for me to shelter me from the evil influences of the world. I am glad that, to the best of their ability, they allowed me to become strong in my belief in God first, to discover who I am in Christ, to grow and mature, without having to fight off the world at the same time. I have heard it put this way, would you send a 3rd grader to the front lines of battle? No, I don’t think so, and yet we do it all the time by sending our children to public school, and even some private schools. Those are absolutely spiritual front lines, have no doubts about it.
Sheltered? Yes, I was, and I’m glad of it.