As a second generation homeschooler I’ve heard the “s” word my whole life.
“Those poor children are going to be so sheltered they won’t be able to adjust to normal life.”
The other big “s” word? Socialization. These two words have a way of following each other around. “Oh my, their children are so sheltered they won’t know the first thing about socialization. I mean, how will they cope when they get out into the real world?”
I can attest that there is at least one person on the planet who was sheltered as a youth and who, now in her 30’s, makes her way in the world quite well. That person is me. Actually, believe it or not, there are others like me. Many others. You might not know it though because, well, we’re just so adept at socializing. 😉
Sarcasm aside, I’m sincerely not the least bit resentful that I didn’t experience more of the world as I was growing up. My parents carefully controlled the environment in my home and I’m grateful for it. That’s not to say we lived in a cave. My mother was very wise in the way she sheltered me yet made sure I was equipped and prepared to enter the world.
As a sheltered homeschooled child I grew into an adult that was married at 19 and became a mother at 20 (gasp, yes I was one of those young brides who went through courtship). I am currently a pastor’s wife, a business owner, a blogger, and I hope a “normal” human being that tries to conduct her life in a way that would please God.
What did my sheltered life consist of? (Cue the melancholy music.)
1. I wasn’t familiar with many of the popular movie stars, as I didn’t watch many of the popular movies. If an actress was in a Jane Austen movie then I knew about them. It’s still that way today. Watching PG-13 and R rated movies just didn’t happen (I think I’ve seen two PG-13 movies. Or maybe I should say I’ve seen about a ⅓ of two historical PG-13 movies. We fast forwarded through most of them).
2. We listened to classical and some Christian music growing up. Actually I listened to more Contemporary Christian music when I was younger than I do now. I was a teenager when my brother introduced me to the famous Bye-Bye Ms. American Pie song (and don’t ask me the band responsible for the song, lol). I knew what songs were popular from being out shopping. I suppose you could say I grew up listening to the Wal-Mart top 40. : )
3. Cursing was absolutely not allowed in our home. Slang words were considered just as bad as curse words. Some of you might be shocked, but I was well into my 20’s before I even knew what most bad words were and I still don’t think I know all of them. If I had been around situations where curse words were commonly used, my parents would have educated me more. I just didn’t need to know!
4. The TV was never background noise. It was only on if we were all watching something together, and many years we never even had TV reception.
5. My parents never taught us to believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause. Actually my Grandpa was the town’s Santa Clause one time (it was a big deal; he rode in a float with the mayor, picture in the paper and everything). We went to see him with our younger cousin who did believe in Santa Clause and we were given strict instructions to not say a word about it being our Grandpa! We celebrated holidays for the religious reasons behind them, not the secular.
6. I’ve never been to a lock-in at a church or school and I only went to one big overnight birthday party when I was little.
7. I never went on a date until I was courting the man I married. Please know I don’t believe that just because you are in a courtship means you will automatically marry that person, but I do not believe in dating around for fun. We had our first kiss on our wedding day.
My parents came from rough upbringings, and they regretted a lot of things they went through. They didn’t want their children making the same mistakes so they sheltered them from influences that they didn’t consider godly.
However, don’t let this list fool you. I’m not a naive 30 year old mama. I’ve had my fair share of real life, hard, and very unsheltered situations.
As soon as we were old enough to drive we were added to our parents checking accounts. My mom had Lupus since I was 11 and we were responsible for grocery shopping and running errands when she was sick.
I was one of the primary caregivers of my great-grandfather when I was 16. He was living in our home on hospice for a month or so before he passed away of cancer. My older sister was in charge of all the financial/legal paperwork and I worked with the hospice nurses on how to take care of him.
I’ve learned far more about homosexuality and it’s lifestyle than I ever dreamed I would have, because of family members who have chosen to walk in that path. I’ve been in many counseling situations, churches of all different faiths, and opened our home to many different types of people.
I’ve walked through family member’s divorces, separations, terminal illness, heartaches, victory and failures.
Being sheltered does not mean you don’t experience real life and all that it brings. It simply means you limit your understanding concerning the ungodly things as much as you can. Why? So you can deal with real life.
The only time I’m super aware of my limited knowledge of movies or movie stars, popular people (like famous people in sports), etc. is when my husband makes a joke or tries to tell me some passing tidbit of news, and I have no clue what he is talking about. We come from different backgrounds, but he always tells me it’s better not to know!
Do I think you can shelter your children too much? Absolutely. But that’s a topic for another post. For the purposes of this post I just want to say that this lady who is married to a real husband and who went through 6 real labors which brought 6 real children into the world, and who has seen her share of real sorrow and suffering among those she loves most, is truly grateful for being sheltered when she was young so she could joyfully weather this bittersweet thing people call socialization.