On sheltering

I mentioned in my last post that I've been reading the book Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Early in the book, DeMoss indicates that she is the oldest of seven siblings, and was raised by first-generation Christian parents. She says of her parents, "God gave them the wisdom and courage to 'grow' their children in a spiritual 'greenhouse.' They made a conscious effort to protect us from influences that could be harmful and to surround us with influences that would spiritually nurture our lives. As a result, we grew up with well-protected hearts. At a young age, our hearts were sensitized to sin and we learned to discern between right and wrong."

I knew already that I liked this woman (and her parents), and hoped she'd share more about that spiritual greenhouse environment.

Later on in the book DeMoss lists the following as a lie some women believe about children:

Children need to get exposed to the 'real world' so that they can learn to function in it.

I sat up and took notice of this section, because this an argument I have heard (but have not agreed with) from friends and family members of ours at different times in our homeschooling journey. Here's what DeMoss says in response to that particular lie:

If Satan can't keep Christian women from bearing children, he will do his best to deceive them as to how their children ought to be brought up. He uses the same tactics with parents that he used with Eve. He convinced her that by eating the forbidden fruit, she would learn something she needed to know: "When you eat of it your eyes will be opened... knowing good and evil" (Gen.3:5). Satan was right- when Eve ate, her eyes were opened (v.7); she did learn something she did not know before- the experience of evil. The result of this knowledge was shame, guilt, and alienation from God and her husband.

God never intended that you and I should know evil by experiencing it for ourselves. His desire is that we should "be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil" (Romans 16:19). But Satan says, "You need to taste it for yourself." He says to parents, "Your children need to taste it for themselves. If you shelter them from the 'real world,' they will never be able to fit in and survive in it."

The truth is, our task is not to rear children who can "fit in" or merely "survive" in this world. The challenge of every Christian parent is to bring up children who love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; who have a vibrant, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus; and whose lives will be bright and shining lights, penetrating the darkness around them. Christian parents ought to be seeking to raise up not just "good" children, but children who enthusiastically embrace the Truth, children who love righteousness and hate evil, children who will be used by God to change this world.

She continues, referring a bit to the environment she was raised in:
They [her parents] took practical steps to protect our young minds and hearts from exposure to the values and influences of this world system.

...I was a very sheltered young person. I don't recall ever hearing a single word of profanity before graduating from high school (she attended a Christian school). I knew virtually nothing about the popular cartoon characters, movies, or television programs of the day.

But, by God's grace and thanks to the influence of godly parents, there are some things I did know that few other young people knew. I knew the difference between right and wrong. I had a good overview of the Scripture- in addition to family devotions and sound doctrinal preaching in church, our elementary school curriculum included two journeys through the entire Bible. I had hidden large portions of Scripture in my heart, had a basic understanding of the major doctrines of the Christian faith, and I could sing from memory all the stanzas of many theologically rich hymns. I had read the biographies of many true heroes- men and women such as Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, William Carey, and Gladys Aylward.

Even more important than "knowing" all these things, I had a vital, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus- a relationship that would sustain me when I was out on my own and would motivate me to make the right choices once I was outside the protective walls of our home. The "faith of our fathers" had become my own.

I loved reading this, and that is so how we want to raise our own children. Shelter them from the world? Absolutely yes. Bring them up to love God with all all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength? Yes. (This is one of my fervent prayers for them.) Raise them to know and memorize God's word? Yes. To know hymns, and to read books that inspire them to love and serve God? Why, yes, please.

There's much more I could say about this subject but it's time for dinner!

17 comments:

  1. Stacy,

    I have also recently read this book (our church used it for Ladies' Bible Study) and I so agree with you in being encouraged by that chapter. I say Amen to your last words as well. I was "Sheltered" as a child/young person. E and I intend to raise our little girl the way we were raised amd we are so thankful for our parents. When people call it "sheltered" - I call it "raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord." You and Mark are a blessing to us!

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  2. I think it was RC Sprol Jr (although I could be VERY wrong) that answered the skeptics that questioned his homeschooling his children with, "Sheltering them? What will accuse me of next? Clothing and feeding them?" This has been our take also. Even though we have one in a school away from home now, we are very much sheltering our kids (even the one that is in school away). That isn't just a side-affect of conservative parenting. For us, it is our goal.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Stacy, I have also read this book and enjoyed it very much. I think it is well worth re-reading.

    I think as wives and mothers we are called to the gate-keepers of our home (among other things) and for me that means keeping out the enemy and allowing our children to grow in a safe and sheltered environment.

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  4. We get the "sheltering" comments with our family too. They need to "spread their wings" I have been told. We just smile and move onto something else.
    I have heard of this book and read a few parts but not the whole thing. Love those quotes and so agree with your thoughts and convictions.

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  5. I think it is important and great to shelter young ones. I tend to like the "greenhouse analogy" though. Things change as they get older and to shelter an 18 year old like an 8 year old is not healthy or right, I believe. (don't get my wrong, I won't throw them to the wolves, but "greenhouse" raise them.)

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  6. Thanks for sharing these encouraging words. Sounds like a wonderful book. Rebeca

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  7. Thank you for sharing these precious words Stacy, and for the echoing comments that others have left. They have spoken deeply to me today.

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  8. Andrea,
    I agree. (It's just that I only have little ones, so I didn't go there. :))
    Have a wonderful day!

    ~Stacy

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  9. Amen sister! This post is a refreshing spring in a dry land.

    Blessings!
    Rebecca

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  10. Oops! Hi Stacy, that was me. : )

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  11. I liked what she had to say, because it's powerful REGARDLESS of whether you homeschool or not. It's a 'parenting' tip...not something a homeschooler can only claim. All parents love there kids, that's a given...but sadly, not all parents 'shelter'.

    I hope that a lot of readers read this. It's pretty awesome.

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  12. Stacy, I read this earlier today and have had it on my mind. So I thought I really should let you know how fantastic it is to see that I'm not alone in my ideas regarding sheltering. How refreshing and strength-giving to know others are in this with me, when I too get the funny looks or comments when I mention things I don't let my kids do/watch, etc. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone, and that it IS the right thing. I've gotta get that book now!!
    Hugs,
    Camee :)

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  13. I just love Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have thought of the 'greenhouse' analogy many times, and it strengthens and clarifies my resolve to protect my children.

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  14. Loved this post. Exactly what my husband and I have been talking about regarding our 2 year old lately.

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  15. Stacy,
    Thank you for sharing this treasure of a book!!! It was the first of many books that began to influence me and change my life as a wife and a mother (after we moved away from B'ham). The blessing I have reaped as I was taught by the Holy Spiri after reading this have been immeaurable! I am so glad you are enjoying it, Thank you for sharing what is going on in your heart and home as you read!

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  16. I understand and sympathize with her view, but her upbringing didn't prepare her very well to relate to some who didn't grow up as she did. I just don't think her argument would hold water to someone who grew up as I did. The years I was home-schooled were some of the most stagnant of my Christian life and those years of my upbringing that I was brought in contact with the world were some of the most challenging, soul-searching and growth-inducing years of my life, thanks to the constant guidance and support of my parents. It is challenges that make us stronger.

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