“‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm.’” – Bob Dylan
When did ‘shelter’ become such a bad word? I recently read a blog post by one of my favorite writers, Andy Andrews, Raising Good Children in a World That’s Not Always Good (http://www.andyandrews.com/blog/raising-good-children-in-a-world-thats-not-always-good/), in which Andy takes a moderate stance on shielding children from the evils of the world – bad words and other objectionable parts of movies, etc. As I stated in my comment, I’m probably more permissive with my kids than he is with his (in reality). I was surprised at the number of comments that supported and took a stronger stance on permitting children to observe the world in an unfiltered manner. The funny thing is that many of the people commenting said something about “making good choices” or some similar idea, while stating categorically that they didn’t want to shelter their children. One person even went so far as to say that “protecting” children is actually harming them! Notably, that commenter is expecting his first child soon.
Is ‘shelter’ such a dirty word? Have we become so politically correct that the idea of shielding our children is so equated with intolerance that we can’t even suggest that it’s good to protect our children from anything?
I once talked to a dad who told me that he shared all the cuss words he knew with his teenage daughter because he wanted her to know what people were talking about. The problem is that there’s always a deeper level of depravity than we’ve experienced. So, where do you draw the line? I’ve had a few “sheltered” friends in my life that truly didn’t know what a certain unsavory phrase or word meant and, I have to say, it was joyfully refreshing! To find someone in his or her late teen or early adult years that doesn’t know what some disgusting phrase means is a delight!
I say, let my kids stay as innocent as possible for as long as possible. In our world today, there’s little danger of them being too sheltered. I want them to be prepared for the world, but I think the best way to do that is to train them up in the way they should go. Like federal agents being trained to detect counterfeit money, they don’t play with the fakes, they spend their time getting to know the real thing. If our children know the truth, detecting the lies won’t be hard for them. If they know love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, but they don’t readily recognize whatever sleazy phrase is cool on MTV right now – I’m sorry, but I fail to see how that will be harmful to them.
What do you think? Shall we shelter our children?