A Couple of days ago, we began a series of blog post that spawned from a personal study of the genesis account of the flood. While, much can and should be taken from the account (The picture of salvation in Christ that the Ark itself depicts or the fruit of obedience demonstrated through Noah to name a couple), I wanted to approach it from the angle of Noah taking responsibility in providing a place of safety in the midst of a coming storm.
Again, I believe that as parents, we have a divine responsibility to not only see the storm coming but build an ark of safety for our families. We must be proactive, not reactive in ministering to our children in this way. In the last blog from this series we discussed preparing economically for difficult times.
Today, we’ll focus on preparing an ark of safety as it relates to culture and it’s influence upon those entrusted to our care.
There is little doubt that culture, which carries both good and bad fruit, has a profound influence upon the home in today’s world. Lets face it…in a media savvy, technology rich, entertainment driven, YouTube world, our children have the “world” at their fingertips. They are one click away from both Christ centered, safe, enriching resources AND depraved, pornographic and fruitless deceit.
Pretend if you’d like…. but we do not live in a Mayberry world.
So the question becomes, “In this world, with all of it’s “easy to reach” poisons…and their disastrous consequences…How are we to provide a place of safety for our children?”
Allow me to share a few suggestions that we have found to be helpful in our home
Get A Grip On Whats Real – in my humble opinion, the worst country music band in history is a group called Rascal Flatts. I know that the Billboard Charts and most probably you would disagree with me on that. I really think they are awful. The content of the music isn’t what gets me, neither is their instrumental acumen. It’s the nasal, obnoxious, “makes me grind my teeth” sound that flows from the lead singers mouth with he sings (I literally just cringed thinking about that). He’s probably a stand-up guy. It’s not personal….anyway….the band released a pretty popular song a few years back, “I Miss Mayberry“, where they lamented about a hopeful return to a life of Cherry Coke and sitting on the porch. You know, where everything was black and white…da, da, da, da…dadadada-da. An innocent time.
Cool Idea, Hopeless aspiration.
It’s not happening. That world doesn’t really exist. There is a reason why too – Our adversary, the devil is like a lion. He roams. He seeks. He devours….and he targets the family.
One of the first steps a parent/guardian should take when building a refuge for their children is to wake up and smell the coffee. Understand that the world we live in is indeed a dangerous place. Forsake the fruitless hopes of a return to a world that never really existed (outside of the pre-fall Eden, of course) and grasp the reality that this place is indeed fallen.
Take Preventative Measures- As I type this post, through the window beside me a quiet breeze is gently reminding me of a change of seasons that is taking place. Fall is here. Cool weather. festivals, sweet potato pie and…..the flu.
Though I don’t take it myself, many of my Pastor friends (because are their frequency at Health care facilities and because of poor immune systems due to a lack of care for their own physical bodies…sorry, but it’s true) take the flu shot as a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of being infected with this sickness. The immunization they intentionally receive doesn’t entirely discount the possibility of getting the flu, it doesn’t ensure that they will not be exposed to the infection and it doesnt mean that they, because of their action have eradicated the flu itself….it simply means they have taken steps to decrease the likelihood of infection.
As parents, we are wise to take steps of preventative measure when it comes to the possible influence of culture upon our children. Like my pastor friends and the flu shot, the steps we take won’t eliminate the possibility of infection, they won’t always keep our children from exposure and to be certain, our good intention will NOT eradicate evil….but they do decrease the likelihood of infection.
Look, I will admit right out of the box that our style of parenting is unique to say the least.
We’ve had some success and some failure. We’re no experts. We’ve learned (better said “learning”…its a process) parenting though personal example, through trial and error (oh my, I thank God for His Grace), through Godly friends who serve as mentors and most of all through Gods Word. Again, no experts here but there are a couple of things we’ve come to understand about parenting as it relates to culture and it’s plausible influence on our home
We adamantly, unapologetically, unashamedly SHELTER our children.
There, I said it. I feel better. And I mean it. Yes, we shelter our children.
Now, I suppose it would be important for me to explain that…OK, Here goes….
To really understand what I mean when I say the we “shelter” our children, you’ll have to first understand what I don’t mean when i say it.
We DO NOT practice isolationism. Isolationism is by definition to “be detached” or “placed by itself”. The isolationist parent believes that any type of influence, regardless of its nature (other than themselves, of course) should be avoided at all costs. The isolationist resist interaction with those outside of the home and to put it simply, establishes an island of sorts, separated from any remote possibility of danger.
We are NOT isolationist. Our children enjoy (and benefit from) wonderful relationships outside of the comfort of our home. They participate in activities and recreation year round with people of all races, creeds….so on. They are afforded the opportunity to learn by observing the wonderful world that God has created. Heck, they carry the ambitious and often dangerous spirit of “Lewis and Clark” as they absolutely LOVE to explore the world around them. Adventuresome little buggers, they are (complete with black eyes, nasty scars and broken limbs….yeah, those things happen and it’s ok). We travel as much as possible so that they may learn to appreciate people and things that are different from themselves/their environment. We encourage them to try new things…to check fear at the door. To challenge themselves. Nope, we don’t isolate them.
Instead we shelter.
“shelter” – 1. to cover from violence, injury, annoyance or attack 2. to defend, protect from danger; harbor 3. To take cover or a safe place
Seeing this definition, I’m sure that we all (hopefully) have the desire to “shelter” our children. I believe that to do so is a God given instinct afforded to the christian parent. “Sheltering” children that we love is, well, it’s part of HIS character!
Psalm 61 “Hear my cry, o God, attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is high than I. You have been a SHELTER for me, a strong tower from the enemy….”
Joel 3:16 “Jehovah will be a refuge for His people”
Psalm 3:3 “But You are a shield for me”
Sheltering our children is in essence, guarding, protecting, shielding them from danger that we see coming. It’s not completely isolating them from the world, it’s guiding them in it. To be sure, there are instances where we remove our children from situations and remove certain situations from our children. We have that right and that responsibility. But ultimately, we are to guard, we are to guide, we are to train and teach, we are to stand with them…yes….we are to shelter. And we do that ferociously.
So the next time you hear that tired old phrase “they are sheltering their kids“, you put it on a button and wear it proudly. You betcha we are.
So at the End of the day- Yes, we live in a messed up and influential world and yes, we have a big responsibility as parents….but we also have a Great God who’s not left us here to do it on our own. Dad, Mom, in the strength and wisdom of Christ, the guiding of the Indwelling Spirit and Instruction from The Word…you can raise up lights in this dark world. I’m praying to that end.
Love you All and Soli Deo Gloria! – Pastor Kyle