Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sheltering vs. Guarding Their Hearts

This is kind of a silly question.  Because if you look them up in the dictionary, shelter and guard are synonyms.  The difference here is a matter of the heart.  
The world likes to say that Christians "shelter" their children.  There's the argument that, "You shouldn't shelter your children because when they leave your nest they will go wild". 
Is there truth to this?  
What constitutes "going wild"? 
-drinking? having children outside of marriage possibly even with different partners? divorce? no career or direction in life? financial irresponsibility? 
We all know people who were not "sheltered" and were given many freedoms, that still fit the characteristics above.  
So NOT sheltering children does not keep them from "going wild" anymore than sheltering them pushes them toward wildness.  

The real issue here is the heart.  The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 
 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

My husband and I are firm believers that this is our job as parents.  
We (Christians) need to equip our children to go out into the world and since they're going "out into the world" we need to teach them how to guard their hearts.  Because the world is not kind to their hearts.

One of the hardest ways and one of the easiest ways to do this is by monitoring what our children watch in movies and on t.v.  
How important is what they watch?  
Here's a little informal study for you.  In almost 15 years of teaching, I can pick out the students in my class who are allowed to watch anything that is labeled  "kid friendly" (by the ratings, by ABC Family, by Disney channel).  Give me a month with my new students and I can tell you, with 100% accuracy, who has limits on their t.v./movie viewing and who doesn't. That's pretty bold, I know, but I stand by it.  
It's been true in every grade I've taught.  
How can I tell?  
-by their attitudes, by the way they talk to their parents, by the way they talk to each other, by the level of "girl drama", by the boy-girl relationships, by the way they handle conflict on the playground-just to name a few tell tale signs.  Their hearts are different than the children who's parents are monitoring their t.v. watching through a "guard their heart" lens.  

So, the world may say when I don't let my 14 year old watch Zero Dark Thirty, or my 8 year old watch Jessie, that I'm sheltering them.  But I KNOW that I'm teaching them how to guard their hearts.  
I've been charged by God to protect them and guide them temporarily and I take it very seriously.  
I encourage you to do the same.  We will NEVER regret guarding the hearts of our children.
Proverbs 4:23 
 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."


  1. This is a well-written post, Kris. I am 100% in agreement with you. I also believe it is important to let our extended family members know how important it is to us that they follow our "rules" too. You have inspired me to remind my children as to WHY we teach them to guard their hearts.

    You are a great mom, and I am blessed that we are friends.

  2. You are the best Mommy! Dylan and Holly are very lucky to have you as their Mom.

  3. Thea & Lori-thank you! It's so great to have friends who "get it" too!



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