About a year and a half ago, I wrote about my fear of letting my kids join our church’s youth group. Growing up, youth group was my cover for all kinds of bad behavior, so my experience told me it should be avoided at all costs. My husband, who grew up very differently and had great experiences, encouraged me that my past didn’t have to be their inevitability. There has been so much growth in all of us since we (ok, since I) stepped out in faith with the youth group issue.
In fact, allowing our kids to join youth group was just the beginning of the new adventures our family has gone on in this new season of life. Stepping out of the isolation of home has not been the scary thing I thought it would be. Instead of holding us back, we’ve all grown and challenged one another. This first step was the springboard for family experiences like volunteer work at the homeless shelter, a spring formal dance for our teens, and a protest rally outside the local Planned Parenthood facility. By allowing our kids to get out and see the world they’re growing up in, we’ve opened up dialogues about sex, homosexuality, rape, abuse, and abortion. We’ve learned to practice compassion and have come to the understanding that behind every “bad example” is a broken heart in need of Jesus.
In the past, I would have avoided these topics out of fear of my kids being “exposed to something.” The irony is, I always told people I was homeschooling so my kids would understand the world, just from a Biblical perspective. Yet honestly, while it was a good rhetoric, I was too afraid to actually live it out.
Hesitatingly, I’ve chosen to step out in trust and have seen amazing growth in my children–and in me, too. My perspective has changed and I’m trusting myself more to be the example of strength of conviction that my kids need. The truth is, God isn’t requiring me to raise godly kids. He’s requiring me to provide a godly example. There’s nothing I can do to save my kids’ souls and isolating them from “evil” isn’t a sure-fire way to keep them on the narrow path. What I can do is protect their hearts by not allowing too much too soon and by walking alongside them as they venture out into this great big world.