21 July 2008

Kid Insulation

"I grew up in a cave." or at least that is what a least one of my friends at college thought. So it kind of became my mantra for a few years anything I tried to convince him that I was a good little girl that really didn't know much about the world. I may have been naive and unexperienced, but the more I learn about the world the more I'm not sure that I wan to know.


My Mom emailed me this article - this is a particulary interesting topic to me because I homeschool my kids, but I don't feel like my kids are isolated, especially not compared to my life, "in a cave." I am providing good insulation for my kids.

Case in point, Isaac was pretending to be preganant yesterday with a baloon under his shirt. Emily told him that boys can't be pregnant, but Isaac retorted that he saw one on the news that was pregnant. This turned into a great discussion on how the news (and other worldly organizations) try to confuse us either deliberalty on inadvertantly. We discussed General Mills box tops program. I said it is "good" that they want to donate to schools, but it a huge waste of time for people to cut out little boxtops, send them to school to be collected, counted, rewarded, and to receive a little amount of money for the huge amount of time. Wouldn't it be better for the people to donate some money, and some time with students than cutting out cardboard.

After they understood this concept I returned to pregnant men. I explained that it was really a girl, who was pretending to be a guy, that was pregnant. I explained that it is one thing for kids to pretend to be Mom's or Dad's because that is how they learn about the world, but that sometimes adults get mixed up and pretend to be something that they aren't because they are confused. I pointed out that Satan's job is to confuse us and keep us from being the best that we can be.

We have wonderful conversations like to fairly frequently and I know that I am adding insulation to my kids so that they will be prepared to go out into the world.

I'm posting the article here in case it disappears from the internet - you never know - it is is part of my Stand Firm Kit.

Protecting Your Children: Insulation vs. Isolation

(Stock photo/Brad Killer) :: We should prepare our children for what they will see and experience in the real world. Instead of putting blinders on their eyes, we put love and respect in their hearts. We teach them right from wrong and lovingly explain to them why wrong behaviors and decisions are not in their best interest.

Craig Harris
HappyNews Columnist
Updated: 6/3/2008

How do we protect our children from the evils of the world? Do we shield them from thoughts, morals, and ideas that are contrary to our own? Do we hide them from the dangerous and immoral influences out there?

I think a mistake some parents make is trying to isolate their children from the world. We can't shield their eyes and ears from every evil. Even if we could, it wouldn't last. The day would come when they fly from the nest and our protective shield is taken down.

I submit, then, that we should not attempt to isolate them from the world, but insulate them from it instead.

Some parents shield their children to point of letting them watch very little television. The children are not allowed to see movies that are not G-rated. They can't read most of the books in print because their content is objectionable for some reason. Video games, magazines, newspapers and the internet are all screened to make sure only positive values are let through.

On the surface, this seems perfectly healthy. But when you think it through you realize you might not be doing the children such a big favor after all. For one thing, you don't want your children to grow up culturally or socially ignorant. For another, you may be setting them up for a culture shock that may well overwhelm them. One day, they will be exposed to nearly everything you are hiding from them today. How will they handle that if they are not prepared for it?

We all joke that we'd like to hide our kids in a closet until they grow up, but some parents virtually attempt to do this. Every aspect of their children's lives are controlled, filtered, and protected to the point that they may as well live in Antarctica. Then the day comes when the kids walk out the front door and the protective filters are all gone. They see, hear, read, and experience the real world with its ugliness and hatred. Some will find it new and exciting, and rebel against every value that has been placed on them. Others may go back into hiding.

Am I saying that we shouldn't filter what our children see and experience? Of course not, and reasonable limits should be set on everything. My wife and I don't prescribe to premium movie channels because there is too much trash there that we don't want in our home. Some movies, magazines, books, internet sites, and TV shows have no place in front of your children and you have the right and responsibility to block them. And our filters should be set higher for younger children. I fear, however, that some parents try to go too far.

Instead of isolating them, we should insulate them. We should prepare them for what they will see and experience in the real world. Instead of putting blinders on their eyes, we put love and respect in their hearts. We teach them right from wrong and lovingly explain to them why wrong behaviors and decisions are not in their best interest. We show them the benefits of a life lived against the grain.

Isolation places barriers between them and the world while insulation prepares them for its realities. Isolation teaches them that no one else's opinion should even be considered. Insulation allows them to hear other ideas with confidence in what they believe. Isolation encourages the children to be dependent on their parents, but isolation encourages self-discipline. Isolation eventually breaks down, but insulation can last for a well-rounded, satisfied lifetime.

You can contact Craig at lcraigharris.blogspot.com

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