Lately, there has been a sort of balancing act upon my shoulders, weighing me down. I do not like feeling uneasy, especially when my purpose is to lead my children with strength and wisdom. Like many times before, I have turned to God and scripture for resolution. Reflecting on His words and internalizing the value always delivers clarity. The equalizing act between how to protect my children while adequately preparing them for the world is the crux. My instinct is to shield, but my foresight says this cannot be done forever. The balance between bravery and cautiousness seems like a juggling act. It turns out the two balance each other. You can’t have one without the other, and Scripture confirms this sentiment.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3)
As Christians, we are bound by our love of God. Through Him, our hearts are sheltered with His protection. We can walk with the notion that fear should be obsolete, and evil will do us no harm. We should not be afraid but take courage. However, courage does not mean being careless. It does not mean walking blindly with your head in the sand. It means being proactive and prudent. Life is a gift, and we should treat it preciously. Moreover, teaching our children that God is their center should bring clarity and insight to take heed.
But how do we apply this to our children and help answer the tough questions of today? Our world looks very different than I would have thought it would 20 years ago. Drug use is overwhelming, borders are open, our school system is in shambles, homelessness is worse than I can remember, everything is expensive, truly awful wars overseas, and so much hate everywhere. Even more, I traveled throughout the world through my adolescence, and my heart yearns to give a glimpse of that adventure to my children. But, there are places we just won’t travel to right now, or in the foreseeable future. TV has changed, our lives are swimming in electronics, there are wacky pro-nouns that confuse, and whether we think it’s happening or not, our children are being exposed to all of it. Even more, the older they get, the more exposed they are. To be perfectly honest, it’s devastatingly sad.
As parents, we naturally want to shield our children from this chaos. Many of us went so far as to pull our children from public school to shelter them from the evil that exists in our school systems. Sexualization, grooming, hate, bullying, CRT, cancel culture, the list continues. We are faced with some terribly hard choices as parents nowadays. We want to protect our children because one day they will no longer be in our care and embrace. They will belong to the world.
But how do we do so without over-protecting and adequately preparing them at the same time? Do not hide. Do not over-shelter. It is impossible to take refuge completely, and if forced, it may be more detrimental than you can imagine. Often times, the bubble approach leads to an explosion. Bubbled children who depart to discover their place in the world habitually are drawn to the undiscovered and become immersed and lost. Rather, an awareness is necessary. Look for the “danger signs” and be cautious. Expose your children at appropriate developmental stages and talk to them. Answer all their questions with honesty, intelligence, and God as a cornerstone. Try to find a balance and prepare your children for the way the world is. Being prudent will allow your children to more easily discern when set out on their own. And, do not let them simply keep going thinking that vulnerabilities do not exist. We want them to be courageous and aware at the same time. Not simple and blind. Prepare them.
In Joshua 1:9, we are spoken to of courage: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Fear is a large part of our everyday world. It’s toxic and clouds judgment. But having your head buried in the sand, not wanting to know, or walking without any reservation of any danger is risky and irresponsible; especially for our children. When we go camping, do we not bring first aid? In the car, an emergency kit and jumper cables, in crowds, a concealed weapon? Ignorance is not bliss; it is dangerous. Assess each situation and do not turn a blind eye – these things do exist, and your children need to know about them, so they are prepared. You are courageous in your proactiveness, and this will echo in your children’s discernments.
Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.