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Am I Sheltering My Child Too Much?

Did you all see the article by Gena Suarez that Old School House sent out a few weeks ago. I loved it and thought I would post it here for those who did not get it.


Do you "shelter" your children? We're finding that's a bad word in some circles. Something is creeping into the church (and even the homeschooling community), and it isn't biblical. It is an "anti-sheltering campaign" of sorts, and it's full of holes. Think about it. What does it mean to shelter? Protect. Defend. Guard. Preserve. Watch over. Shield. Safeguard. Hmmmm, so far so good, right? Sure, until "Christian pop psychology" comes in and tells us we should allow our children to taste a little of the world in order to understand it or pray for it (the kids being "salt and light" baloney in the public schools is a good example) – that we should not "over-shelter" them. Nonsense.

What's the opposite of shelter? Expose. Endanger. We parents are called to be like our Father in Heaven. He is the greatest "Shelterer" there ever was, and it is us He shelters – or watches over; protecting us, preserving us, shielding us. Is God missing something, here? Should He instead follow the advice of those (shamefully, some of these are even pastors!) who say to lay off a bit? Thankfully, the Lord is a bit wiser than that. Praise Him for this! Glory to God who knows how to parent (shelter) us perfectly!

May we as parents follow this model – His model. Let's continue to shelter (love) our children as He loves us. Dismiss the garbage that crawls in; don't buy it. We're promised there will be false teachers, liars in the church (and there are many). I want to keep my eyes focused on Christ, come what may.

By the way, someone once shared with me that when it comes to parenting, she would rather err on the side of being a little too careful/sheltering than to err on the wrong side. Paul and I agree wholeheartedly with this. We would prefer to be a tad "too" protective than to make a major mistake we can't take back once it's done. We've learned some hard lessons over the years.

And as our kids get much older, as we see the Truth in them growing as they take on their own relationship with the Lord, complete with Godly convictions, we can loosen up the reins a little. There's no set formula for this, though, so don't let anyone try and give you one. You know your children better than anyone, and can assess their maturity in the Lord best. After all, this is why you are homeschooling them (or did homeschool them through graduation), so that you can customize their education both academically, and most importantly, in God's word. But again, be careful. Do it slowly and if you're going to "go overboard", do so on the conservative end. Don't err on the wrong side.

And just to be clear, this doesn't mean to stop sheltering them. During the short time we have them, we have a responsibility to protect them and to guard them against ungodly influences and worldly displays the best we can. The wisest thing we can do right now is to soak them in God's word. Pour it into their hearts. Train them up in His ways so that as they get older and begin to leave the nest, they walk in Truth and can go out and start families, bringing their own children up (tightly to their hips) in the love and admonition of their Lord.

May your sweet children rise up and call you blessed for your faithfulness and hard work in raising them up in Christ. It's not easy, it's often thankless (for years), and you can fall into doubts, especially when you come up against a whining 14 or 16 year old who wants his way (and wants YOU out of his way). Don't give into the doubts; that's a trap. Rather, lovingly stand firm. God stands firmly beside us, sheltering us. May we do the same for our children.

"Glory to God who knows how to parent (shelter) us perfectly!"

Parents: Keep sheltering them. You are bringing them up in the love and admonition of the Lord, not in the latest "homeschool philosophy." God's word trumps any speaker! It dwarfs any author! May you be blessed as you continue to walk in obedience of His word.

Lord, thank you for sheltering me. Please never stop. "Over-shelter" if You will (if there is such a thing). Fine with me!

Over-protect, over-defend, over-guard me; please do! I'll take it all, Lord. Keep me tight to Your side. I'm safe in that place. There, I can breathe and thrive. It's where I find my hope in Christ.

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. – Psalms 61:3

Action point: Do you need to repent to someone today for looking down on (judging) them? Have you been a thorn in another parent's side over this issue? Who have you scolded or cryptically "spoken to" about their "overbearance" in regards to their own children? It might be time to humbly pick up the phone or shoot off an email.

Parents who strongly shelter their children are to be praised, not made to feel inadequate or odd. That's the world lying to us, there. And this world is not our home.

Paul and Gena Suarez reside in Gray, Tennessee, where they homeschool(ed) their six children: Paul (20), Luke (19), Levi (16), Julia Rachel (14), Susanna Hope (3) and Chloe Abigail (10 months). They enjoy long country drives in the van while listening to books on CD, hanging out with good friends, and staying up late. By the grace of God, the Suarez family publishes The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC. Let Gena know what you thought of this article at her personal email address, gena@tosmag.com

P.S. – A note from Gena real quick:

Hey, I want to wish all of you a Merry CHRISTmas, first of all. And I'd like to ask you all to pray for us, during this economic downturn. God has really kept TOS going for almost ten years now and we want to continue using the magazine to glorify Him alone. Paul and I pray you have been helped by the magazine even in some small way. It helps us to hear it, particularly when times are tight (so many companies are experiencing "tight" right now – it's no exception for TOS), and we get caught up in the day to day operations of just running a business. We start to wonder, is this even helping people? Is it needed? So when we hear from you, you have no idea how it uplifts us, recharges us, and gives us a more focused drive to continue on.

Lastly, I'd like to ask that if you are not yet a subscriber to the print magazine, that you consider biting the bullet and coming on board now. If you are already a current subber, then TOS Magazine makes a great Christmas gift for friends that keeps on giving, all year long. Normally our one-year subs are $25, but until Jan 2, they are only $7.95! This crazy deal is pretty much "at cost" but we want as many folks receiving it as possible. We also have the beautiful cranberry tote bags with subs in a different special (see the ABC options at the following link).

Anyway, I guess I'm just hopeful that as the year closes, we will end it with a BANG of new and returning subscribers (and yes, you may renew early to get the special), at least that's what we're really asking the Lord for.Please consider joining us, and spreading the word (the URL is http://bit.ly/g0Sda3) about it as well. We appreciate your business, we love you all, and we pray that the Lord will bless each of your families as you seek to serve Him. Keep those kids home where they belong.

May 2011 bring hope, joy and the peace of Christ to each of you.


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