Recently I was having an interesting discussion with a new friend from church about parenting. He has kids that are older than mine and we got to talking about styles of parenting and such. He told me that he and his wife work very hard to protect their kids from any and all negative outside influences from the culture. Here is the run down:
1. Home school the kids
2. Almost no contact allowed with peers in the neighborhood
3. Very limited contact with peers from our church due to most of our families being too “liberal”.
I appreciate this man’s desire to protect his kids and I can’t sit back and say that these three things above are necessarily wrong. As a father of 3, I can greatly relate to this primal need to shield my children from anything harmful. The thought of my oldest going off to school next year is about enough to make me pee my pants.
But here is my question…(and it is a question, not a judgment)… If we have such a fierce streak of protective structure placed upon our kids lives, do we expect them at some point to just flip a switch and become radical Christ following, pagan culture influencing, truth declaring for the sake of love, kinds of disciples?
But perhaps even more importantly, here is another question: Do our kids see us modeling evangelism as something that they will someday grow into, or do we simply model in our adult lives that same fortress mentality of protection from the world? When do our kids see us relating to people who don’t give a rip about Jesus? When do they hear us teach them about the fact that some people who don’t love Jesus behave differently than we attempt to?
If we say we are Christians then we HAVE to take The Great Commission seriously. How will our kids learn to do it unless they see us doing it?
Now, do I take my kids to strip club because strippers need Jesus too? Of course not. We certainly need to be discerning in terms of who and what we allow our kids to be exposed to, but my main point here is that if we protect our kids to the extent that they don’t ever see us actually engage with real life pagan culture, I don’t think they’ll probably ever emerge well from behind the protective walls we set for them.
I ask these questions to my friend (and maybe he has great answers that we just didn’t have a chance to dive into), but I ask them also to myself as I pray for the grace to love people who, like me, need a Savior.
Article from Take Your Vitamin Z