Sunday, July 7, 2013
Protect or Prepare
Raising children in this modern age of impending but inevitable disaster is a monumental task. Do we protect them from the horrors of the world, or do we prepare them to deal with the realities of their future?
Sir Knight and I have wrestled with these questions for years. Do we try to ensure a carefree, naive childhood for our children and then turn them out, unequipped, into a broken world, or do we prepare them, train them, and give them the skills they will need to survive?
As parents, it is our duty to raise our children to become productive members of society. We must equip them to function in whatever world they have inherited. Childhood, contrary to popular belief, is the training ground for adulthood. It is a time of intense learning. A time of forming the character that will define a person throughout their entire lifetime. Childhood is the moment in time the character of our nation is formed, either good or bad. If we fail to mold these children, our future will be lost.
As parents, our first inclination is to protect our children at all costs. We want to shield them from a corrupt world. And of course, when they are little, the broken world is our burden to bear, not theirs. But as they grow in stature and knowledge, our world becomes their world. It is our job to prepare them to meet it head-on.
We walk with our feet in two worlds. In one world, we are preparing our children to succeed in their chosen field, find a spouse, live a happy and successful life. In the other world, we are preparing our children to fight the good fight. To stand for what they believe in, no matter the cost. To endure hardship, stand their ground and hold the line. We are teaching them to see past their future into their eternity. We are choosing to prepare them for life rather than protect them from it.
Current wisdom dictates that we protect our children from every bad thing. We have to keep them safe at any cost. But, if you just look, you know that the cost has been too high. We have retarded our children's growth, frustrating them and stunting them in the process. When my mother was a little girl, she was broiling bacon in the oven by the time she was 5 years old. She knew how to do the dishes, make simple meals and care for her younger sister. She was 5! It was not uncommon during the days of the pioneers for a young girl of 11 to step into the role of the woman of the house. She would cook, all of the meals from scratch, care for the children and keep the house up - not to mention milk the cow, care for the garden and mend all of the clothing. None of us want that for our children, but, if TEOTWAWKI were to happen, wouldn't you want your children to know how to do all of those things so they could live? I certainly would.
How many times do you see naughty, undisciplined children creating mayhem in some public setting? Too many times to count, I'm afraid. These children need to be trained, to be useful, to be helpful. They need a job to do - and I don't mean something like wiping the table, I mean a real job. They need to be learning to broil bacon (I don't care if they are 5, they are more capable than you give them credit for), peel the potatoes and pull the weeds. They need to have responsibility. They need to be useful.
As a mother, I take every precaution to protect my children from unnecessary danger. When my 5 year old is broiling the bacon, I make sure I am close by, watching his steps. When my 8 year old traipses off through the woods, I make sure she takes a radio and her emergency whistle. When my 14 year old goes hunting, I make sure I know what roads she is taking. I make sure that she knows how to shoot well and that she knows how to properly gut her kill. When my 17 year old uses the chain saw, I make sure that he wears his Kevlar saw chaps and eye protection. When my 24 year old heads off to a foreign country, I make sure that she maps a route home, always has a method of communication and, most importantly, has her faith and trust firmly planted in God alone.
Sir Knight and I can't shield our children from the world, but we can equip them to live in it. We have chosen to protect our children by preparing them.