Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sheltered in love

To shelter or not to shelter? That is a question I have asked myself for years. Before I had children, and even when my oldest was very young, I thought it was best to allow children to be exposed to the world with all it has to offer, both good and bad. I thought since my children were to be a part of this world, it was best to let them see and experience it all. Then I, as their mother, would interpret things for them as best I could.
As my only child grew, and as we added to our family, I grew also. I grew in my faith and spirituality. I learned more about the teachings of my Catholic faith and I came to understand the truth as Jesus taught it. Part of the truth Jesus gave us is that there is right in the world and, consequently, there is wrong. We have each been given the free will to choose what we will do but we are not given the freedom to define right and wrong. That has been done for us. I, as a parent, have also come to understand the development of children a little better over the years. With all this increase in wisdom and understanding, I have decided to do all I can to shelter my children.
I believe that sheltering and protecting my children, from many of the injustices and immoral choices in the world, is part of my duty to them. I believe, though they are living in this world, they are often not ready to handle being exposed to all that is out there. Nowadays, my desire is that though my children are in this world they will not be of this world. I hope that by filling their childhood with moral truth, good Christian values, and the influence of as many positive, holy people as I can, they will have a strong foundation to build on. Avoiding all that goes against moral truth, good Christian values, and true holiness will only strengthen that foundation even more.
I know, at some point, they will see the "alternative" choices others make in this world. Unfortunately, they will eventually be exposed to options that go against the teachings of our church and the values and morals their father and I hold to be true. My aspiration is that when this happens they will look back to the innocence, simplicity, and goodness of their childhood and easily reject that which goes against truth. I can only hope to achieve this by limiting their exposure to the evils of the world and by surrounding them, instead, with the people and experiences I see as worthy and Christian.
As my children grow, and on their own, start to realize some of the differences between our values and choices, and those of others around us, I pray they will come to me with their questions. I, as their mother, will still have the opportunity and responsibility of helping to interpret this world for them, but I will do everything in my power to wait until they are mature enough to handle it. In the meantime, I will continue to keep them in the shelter and safety of our loving home, where they are being taught that the greatest choice they can make in this world is to know, love and serve God in all they do.

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