When our now 17, 15, and 13 year old sons were much younger,I was very sensitive to their surroundings and everything they were exposed to. Yes, I admit it. I was a "smother mother". Isn't it a good thing to guard and protect our children from the negative influences of this world? After all, God's word says "Guard your hearts for it is the well-spring of life." When our children are very young they do not understand what this means, so we are responsible for sheltering them from things that could influence them spiritually and emotionally, as well as physically.
However, I do believe that sheltering can be more of a detriment to our children rather than a positive enhancement when we become to rely on it as the solution to the problem of our children being influenced by the world.
When our three oldest were younger, I was very cautious about what they watched on TV, what types of stories they read, and who their friends were. These things in themselves were not bad, but I did over react in these areas many times. For example, we had friends that we spent a lot of time with. They had one son who was the same age as our second child. The little boy loved to watch a show called "Power Rangers". Power Rangers was a "no no" at our house because it was violent and "supposedly" based on New Age beliefs which presented your own power rather than God's power to fight and destroy evil.
When we would have this family over, the little boy wanted to constantly act out the characters in Power Rangers. I would politely, but firmly tell them that particular type of play was not allowed in our home. However, all of the little boys would continue running around kicking and performing their intimidating "karate chops" on one another. It irritated me so much that I almost stopped allowing our boys to play with the little boy. However, we continued to build a friendship with this family. If we had not been in their lives at the time, the mother and father very well could have divorced as they had just come through a trial of infidelity in their marriage. We were able to be utilized by the Lord to help save their relationship. My religion of avoidance could have stopped us from being a blessing to this family who needed safe friends during a time of darkness in their marriage. Furthermore, our chidren are not ruined for life because they played a few rough and tough games of Power Rangers.
This should make us think of the Pharisees who were the religious rulers at the time of Jesus life on earth. Jesus was constantly confronting them because they avoided anything that seemed to taint or defile. This practice of avoidance made them appear and feel holy. If we as parents become too fixated on keeping our family from corruption, we can become prideful of our higher standards. therefore,we are not much different from the Pharisees.
The fact is that if we are not careful, parenting can become one of the most prideful and arrogant areas of our lives. We must not think we are prone to even the point where we "boast" or "share" with others the standards we share. We really should not offer our standards unless we are asked.
Another negative to being fixated on sheltering is that in our pride we become very in tune to what other parents are doing or not doing in their methods of parenting. Unfortunately we fall into being judgemental. Not only does this hinder us from developing relationships with others that need the Jesus who is in us, but it also teaches our children to be self righteous and prideful. As they "inherit " these seemingly "holy" mindsets, they also go through life looking down at others whom God wants to touch through them. It "messes" with our entire destiny.
Let us guard against the horses and chariots of over sheltering. Instead of them being a tool in our hand to defeat the enemy, these weapons can easily be turned against us and our children for our own destruction instead of our glorious transformation.
(Check back soon for the next horse and chariot of parenting, PREOCCUPATION WITH OUTWARD FORM)