Free Northerner’s post on the subject of the “Christian culture industry” got me thinking about the subject of parenting and protecting your children from dangerous influences. One of the points that Free Northerner makes (and one that I hear many parents at my parish make) is that you can’t keep all negative influences away from your children. At least, not unless you are willing to live in an Amish type commune. Otherwise, they will find some way of reaching your children. Isolation- living in a bubble- is just not practical if you are unwilling to completely detach yourself and your family from the world.
A better strategy than attempting isolation, I would think, would be one of “inoculation.” As your children mature, deliberately expose them to some of the myriad temptations and evil influences that are out there in the world. But do so in a controlled way- while you are present and able to explain the subject(s) in question to them. This way their first experiences with these matters can be shaped by you, their parents, and not the general culture.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. But it seems sensible to me. I invite my readers to offer you thoughts on the subject. Also, I invite you to offer any additional quotes from scripture that you think might be relevant. Here are two that seem to connect (at least somewhat) with what I’ve discussed:
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
(1 Cor 5:9-13)
My child, keep my words
and store up my commandments with you;
2 keep my commandments and live,
keep my teachings as the apple of your eye;
3 bind them on your fingers,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
5 that they may keep you from the loose woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words.
6 For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7 and I saw among the simple ones,
I observed among the youths,
a young man without sense,
8 passing along the street near her corner,
taking the road to her house
9 in the twilight, in the evening,
at the time of night and darkness.
10 Then a woman comes toward him,
decked out like a prostitute, wily of heart.
11 She is loud and wayward;
her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
and with impudent face she says to him:
14 “I had to offer sacrifices,
and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you!
16 I have decked my couch with coverings,
colored spreads of Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;
let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took a bag of money with him;
he will not come home until full moon.”
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 Right away he follows her,
and goes like an ox to the slaughter,
or bounds like a stag toward the trap[c]
23 until an arrow pierces its entrails.
He is like a bird rushing into a snare,
not knowing that it will cost him his life.
24 And now, my children, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths.
26 For many are those she has laid low,
and numerous are her victims.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.