I really was the perfect parent back then. My kids didn’t watch TV, except maybe a Baby Einstein video every now and then. I was a stay-at-home mom, so they weren’t exposed to the world. They never went to daycare or any other outside activity. In fact, all we really did was go to church.
Then one day when my 15-month-old was lying on the changing table, she pointed down at her diaper and proudly said, “Elmo.” I was horrified. Ok not really. But I knew that no one at home had ever taught her that word. Where on earth did it come from? The only explanation was church. Someone must have changed her diaper and talked about Elmo being on it. (Don’t get me started about how the church had a policy that they were supposed to pray over babies or sing to them.)
I have to admit that I felt violated. It really wasn’t that I thought Elmo was an evil creature or that I really had to worry since she didn’t watch tv anyway. What bothered me was how easily the world had infiltrated what I thought was the rock-solid fortress I had built.
But I’m so glad it did. You see, that was my oldest baby and God gave me a lesson right there before my parenting journey had really gone anywhere.
I realized that there was nothing in my power I could do to completely keep the world from having some influence over my children. We live here and I have no control over other people. There is the option to lock my family up in the house and never come out again. Ok, for real? That’s not an option. But sadly, I find that many homeschool families fall prey to this thinking.
They are convinced that they homeschool to protect their children from outside influences. Many of these families don’t even put their kids in the nursery, wanting to maintain full control over what is going into the minds of their children. Now, I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with that move. Clearly after the Elmo incident, I think it’s wise to be protective and cautious even at church.
But the truth is, homeschooling can never and will never protect our kids from the world. In fact, if we aren’t careful, this one thing can harm them. Hear me out, ok?
But I Homeschool to Keep My Kids From Being Exposed to Worldliness
You don’t live in a bubble
Trust me, I want to live in a bubble and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I rarely go to a store that doesn’t have food these days. (Amazon has everything we need, right?) But as much as I avoid the store, we need food (don’t you?). I shop when it’s very unpopular (mostly because it’s easier for me) but we still find that there are real people there, people who don’t always say things I approve of.
Not to mention, the magazines on the shelf are flat out porn, with headlines that spew complete trash all over anyone who wants to pay for their food. I have indeed considered taking my children into the store with noise-canceling headphones and blindfolds, but I would have to guide them with a rope and surely someone would call DSS.
Seriously, think about this. We have to go some places in public even if we are conservative about those places. So instead of fretting every time we enter the checkout, I talk to my kids about it. We discuss the magazines and how we can keep our eyes pure while walking through them. We talk about the lies that the world believes (the money, attention, sex, etc. will make them happy). We also talk about praying for the cashiers and other people we encounter.
And once when an older lady dropped a glass jar of spaghetti on the floor and cursed like a sailor, we had a long discussion in the car about what a godly response would have been. (After we helped her get out of the mess without falling, of course.)
We’ve had many similar opportunities to talk about real-life situations in a safe manner. For example, we once went to the park and there was a teenage couple lying on the grass making out (literally- the girl was on top of the boy). I wanted to run away screaming PDA or maybe just call their parents without telling them.
But I did the good parent thing. I talked to my kids about a LOT of things–like how inconsiderate the couple was being to the children at the park. We talked about how God wanted us to keep our bodies pure until marriage. I reminded them of how I told them that NO ONE ever was allowed to touch them in places like that and what to do if they did (great lesson to ward off pedophiles, huh?). And finally, we prayed for the girl to have enough confidence to put some clothes on and to stop allowing herself to believe the lie that she had to behave that way to be attractive.
Do you see the value in it all? Of course, I’m not out looking for these things to happen so that we can make a lesson. But I’m also not keeping my kids home from the park just in case someone is up to no good.
You are wasting the formative years
Since I have a degree in Early Childhood development, I can’t let this one pass by. Do you know that the early years, from birth to about 6 years old, are called the “formative” years? This isn’t on accident. It’s because 90% of a child’s brain development is done during this time. Research also suggests that a child’s intellect, personality, and social skills are 85% developed during this time.
Is a light going off in your head right now? It should be. When I was in school, professors taught that children who are not properly nurtured during this time will never be able to handle intellectual discussions, social situations, or even, really, life in general. Anyone who has adopted a young child who was abused during this early stage will testify that this is absolutely true. Much damage is done.
Of course, we would never leave out what God can do in the lives of abused children, or those who have parents who neglected to teach things early on. But I don’t want you to miss my point. Kids learn things very early and they become who they will always be, often while we are knee deep in diapers and sippy cups. When we try to talk to them about heart issues in their teens, how can we be surprised when they will have no part of it?
The elementary years are known as the moral years. This is when a child decides what is right and wrong. And this is the best time to be talking about big issues like purity, sexual abuse, abortion, drugs, alcohol, etc. Trust me, during that time they think their parents hung the moon. Ok not really, but you get the idea. Your words matter. What you say is forming what they believe to be true and who they become. The faith they have is largely dependent on this.
Many years ago there was a well-known study done that showed 66% of teens to be walking away from the church. Most churches and families panicked and the rock-band mega churches were born in an effort to lure the kids back in. But it didn’t work either. Pastors found that the church as a whole was uninterested in God. (Not so shocking, huh?) So what was the cause? Further study and evaluation of the stats showed that these kids who walked away started doubting their faith in middle school.
Um, yep. It wasn’t secular colleges or atheist professors. It wasn’t even mega churches. The problem was parents. If that one doesn’t sink in deep, I don’t know what will. My friend, I know you don’t want your kids to become a part of that statistic, which means we need to be teaching truth now!
God has commanded us to compassionately share our message
I’ve got to admit that this is one thing most parents struggle with, me included. We taught our kids that Santa didn’t exist, but in the early years it was gut wrenching. I was always afraid that my kids would ruin someone else’s Santa. I’ve never thought the practice to be evil and didn’t want to force my beliefs on my friends by way of my 4-year-old who didn’t seem to have a filter.
One day I came up with a solution. I explained that the Santa thing was a game that some families enjoyed playing and that they should not ruin the game by telling others he wasn’t real. I coached my kids to tell their friends to talk to their parents if they had any questions about what we believed. It worked beautifully.
In fact, I used it many other times, like when we discussed the official names for body parts and when we had to talk about divorce. The young kids shouldn’t be talking about things like that with friends. But, they should be talking about it with family. They need a safe place to discuss things. And they need to be preparing for their time to share what they believe.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that God calls us to share the gospel with others. He calls us to share all of His Truth with them. Not just the comfortable or easy parts. One day your child will need to stand up for the sanctity of marriage or life. Will he know what to say? Now is the time to lay these foundations and teach them to be passionate about the Truth, while still being compassionate for those who don’t believe it.
The world has an agenda whether you admit it or not.
Lastly, I feel the need to remind us both that the world has an agenda. It’s had one since the beginning of time. This agenda is to lure us away from all things pertaining to God and godliness. We have got to be on guard. If the tragedy over Planned Parenthood hasn’t taught us this, we are fooling ourselves. Darkness and evil surround us. Our kids WILL NOT escape. We have to prepare them for the battle.
Want to join us?
I have been working diligently to create a new Bible study that lays the basic foundations for our faith and will help me walk my kids step-by-step through many of the most important issues that we face today. In the study, we dig into the Scriptures, learn from godly counsel, and then create a statement of faith about each and every one of today’s hot topics including the sanctity of marriage, sanctity of life, purity, substance use/abuse, media, and more.