Is It Dangerous for Parents to Shelter Their Children?

Why do you coddle them so much? Why do you spend so much time protecting them? Don’t you want to prepare them to live in the real world?

"Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name: through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Greetings! This is Fr. Joseph Gleason here in the little village of Ivashovo, Russia. We are just west of Rostov the Great, about 3 hours north of Moscow.

Let me tell you a story about two gardeners . . . A good gardener carefully planted his seeds in some little containers. He provided them with rich, nourishing soil, and just the right amount of moisture. His seeds quickly became tender little seedlings. He protected them from the wind, defended them against parasites, watered them regularly, and gave them just the right amount of sunlight.

After the seedlings grew in strength, the good gardener planted them in his garden. He mulched, watered, and fertilized them. For the first few weeks, he provided them with shade on days that were particularly hot. He continued doing this until their stems grew sturdy, and their roots grew deep. In time, they grew into strong, vibrant, healthy plants.

Another gardener lived next door. He mocked the first gardener. He said,
"Why do you coddle your little plants so much? Why do you spend so much time when they are young, protecting them from the wind and the heat? Don’t you realize they are going to live outside eventually? Don’t you want to prepare your plants to live in the real world?"

This other gardener did not care for his seeds, and he did not give attention to his little plants. From day one, he planted all of his seeds directly in the garden, and he walked away. He offered them very little protection. Within the first few weeks, a quarter of the little plants were killed by the heat, a quarter of them were broken by high winds, and a quarter of them were eaten by bugs. Out of every 100 seedlings, only 25 survived. And the growing season had only begun.

Which garden do you believe was the most fruitful?
Which gardener do you think received the most abundant harvest?

People ask why we homeschool our eight children.
People wonder why we shelter them from ungodly influences.
People worry that we are not preparing our children for the “real world”.

I understand that my children are precious little seedlings, tender little plants. They need their stems to grow strong, and their roots to grow deep, before facing the deadly temptations that the world has to offer. As children, they need to be raised the way God requires, with godly Christian teaching all day long, every day, just as God says in Deuteronomy 6:7.

When your little plants are young and tender, it is unwise to blast them with high winds and sweltering heat. It is not good to expose them to parasites. Your children will receive enough of that anyway, when they are adults. First, they need time to spread their roots deep into Christ, deep into the Church, and deep into the Scriptures.

I am preparing my children to live in the real world, not to die in it. 

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel."

Thank you for listening.