To shield or protect?

Posted on · Posted in Parenting, Worry

Protecting your children is the obligation of a faithful parent. However, there is the false notion that children should be protected from every danger and uncertainty of life. That simply is not possible! There is too much uncertainty in life, too much which is beyond your control to protect .  Yet, the temptation to worry about all of the things from which you cannot protect your children persists.

You cannot shield your children from life itself or even from their own hearts.  The storms in Matthew 7 come to the wise and the unwise alike.  Until you go to be with Christ, sin and uncertainty will be a part of life.

Do you want children to worry needlessly? Of course not. But neither do you want to give them the false impression that unexpected, painful things will not happen.  They will.  So, attempting to shield children from the harshness of life can result in giving the false impression that unexpected, bad things will never happen.

Here is the difference between protecting and shielding:

To protect means to prepare for the difficult challenges of life.

To shield is to act as if these events will not happen or that they be can be avoided.

Shielding means that no real preparation is done, so shielded children are actually unprotected children.

Here are three biblical principles to help you protect your children:

The first principle, from Luke 12: avoid worry.  Worry doesn’t help and can lead to a lack of stability and ultimately to doubt

The second principle, from Psalm 46: God’s care is certain. He is a refuge, especially when difficult things happen.  The psalm assumes that hard things will happen and that God is a refuge of strength when they do occur.

The third principle, from James 4: you must live believing and acting that things happen because of God’s will.  You must not be presumptuous to the point of thinking that something will happen or won’t happen just because you plan for it.

  • Avoid worry,
  • God’s care is certain,
  • God will what will happen

By putting these three principles together, you have a good strategy to protect your children. Don’t worry or stress about things out of your control. God is a refuge and place of comfort regardless of what happens. Whatever you do or plan acknowledge that the outcome is dependent upon the will of God.

Jesus says you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. If this is true then stop acting like you do know!  This is the way it is in life.  You don’t know what tomorrow will bring but God does. While situations are uncertain, God’s care is not.  Speaking openly and frequently about these principles is a huge first step towards protecting and caring for your kids. Implementing these principles will help you protect your children without shielding them.

Counsel With Confidence

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.