Are We Overprotecting Our Kids?

We have been called “over-protective.”

My mother once accused us of that. This was after she had found out that not only were we homeschooling her grandchildren but we were also considering apprenticeship rather than college and courtship rather than dating. After I had some time to think about it, I told her that we were not trying to protect our children from the world—they have to live in the world—but we were trying to protect them from sin. There are some sins that people commit only once that can ruin the rest of their lives. I said, “Not to be critical, Mom, but I could have used a little more protection as I was growing up.”

Recently my husband and I went to a movie. It was a pretty clean movie, and it was entertaining. At the end of the movie, the guy and the girl finally got together; however, there was a line at that point that particularly struck me. The guy said something like, “It’s just a casual date, and if we end up in bed, so what?”

Every now and then, I realize what a protected environment I live in. That was one of those times. I started asking around, “Do people these days really think that way? Is everyone like that?” The answer that I received most of the time was, “Yes, Lyndsay, people really think that way these days—but not everybody.” Some consolation it is that not everybody thinks that way!

Apparently my friends are right that there are some who have such loose morals. I managed to miss the interview with Monica Lewinsky after … well, you know. I have heard, though, that her talk was coarse and that she spoke a lot about the behavior of her circle of friends who would take advantage of each of the three weekend nights by sleeping with different people each night. Is this considered normal behavior in our society?

What about the recent shootings in schools – the continuing rash of children killing children? To me, some of the saddest stories that have gone along with the shootings are those of parents who had been homeschooling their children and had recently put them back into the public schools for whatever reason, just in time to have them killed by another student with a gun.

One day my mother was having a talk with my aunt about the metal detectors being used in the junior high schools in Oklahoma City, where my aunt lives. At the end of the conversation, my mom said, “Well, maybe Tim and Lyndsay have the right idea after all.” She never told us that, but I appreciated my aunt passing along the comment.

I remember going to a meeting in our hometown some years ago, at which the president of the school board was speaking. He talked about having drug-sniffing dogs in the elementary schools. This was actually going on at the time in our conservative West Texas town! I turned to Tim and asked, “And they wonder why I want to home school my children?”

I was telling a friend once that one of the things that had encouraged us to homeschool was the negative influences our children had been around when they were playing in the local soccer league. I commented that those children would be the ones that my children would be sitting next to in class. She said, “But, Lyndsay, that is not the fault of the public schools.” I agreed. There are many dedicated teachers and administrators in the public schools. There are many fine children there also; however, these children, who were going in different directions than the direction I wanted my children to go, would still be the children that my children would be spending both supervised and unsupervised time with if they went to school with them.

I was talking to another lady not too long after we began to teach our children at home. Her comment to me was, “Lyndsay, your children are going to be different!” Coming from someone who had two daughters who did not have good reputations and/or were pregnant before graduating from high school, I found her comment very interesting. I said, “That’s the point!” to which she responded, “Oh, um, yes, I, um, see what you mean.”

I was visiting with a home school graduate not long ago who was discussing a conversation she had had with her doctor, who was impressed that she was a virgin. This man encouraged her, telling her that he knew the pressures were great but that she should not give in. Her comment to me was that she had never received that kind of pressure. This girl is different, but what a refreshing difference!

Please do not get me wrong. Home schooling is not a panacea for all problems. This young lady’s parents had been very careful—not just to homeschool her but to see that she had friends who would support the values that they had taught her rather than work against them. They had been very watchful of the places that she went and the things that she did.

Now that my children are all adults, sometimes they reminisce together about their childhood days. One day I overheard them discussing the fact that they had been protected—talking about things like the movies and television shows that we had not let them watch when they were young. It warmed my heart as they talked about how they also planned to protect their children; apparently our protection had not hurt them a bit.

OK. I admit that I protected my children.

But was I overprotective? I don’t think so!