As a parent in the twenty-first century, it can seem that every decision you make forces you to explain your actions, and you may feel as though you are swimming upstream in a raging river. I live in that world, so I know the feeling.
Among Christian families, there is an ever growing movement to separate our children from worldly influence. For more than two decades, homeschooling has continued to grow in popularity. In recent years, a growing number of families have chosen to forsake youth groups and children's church, knowing that even in a church setting the influences are undesirable.
Some families make decisions for their children that raise the eyebrows of even the most well-meaning friends and relatives. For instance, we tend to shy away from slumber parties or extended stays anywhere without parents. We closely monitor all of our children's friendships, and will quickly put an end to those that might have a negative effect on our kids. We limit TV and movie choices, and require the kids to check in with us if even a grandparent wants to take them to see a movie.
God gave us these children, entrusting them to our care. It's such a huge responsibility. But, since they came from God, we only answer to God.
In the years 1609-1620, the Pilgrims were residing in Leyden, Holland. It had been their refuge when they first fled England and the tyranny of the King. So, if it was so great, what made them choose the wilderness of America?
In his book, Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth colony, describes several reasons. One of those reasons:
"But still more lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was that many of the children, influenced by these [difficult physical] conditions, and the great licentiousness of the young people of the country, and the many temptations of the city, were led by evil example into dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks and leaving their parents. Some became soldiers, others embarked upon voyages by sea and others upon worse courses tending to dissoluteness and the danger of their souls, to the great grief of the parents and the dishonour of God. So they saw their posterity would be in danger to degenerate and become corrupt."
So, in their desire to raise their children away from such dangers, they picked up everything and braved a 6 week ocean voyage, wilderness, Indians, and the great unknown. They had very little knowledge of this new world, its weather, terrain, people, vegetation, or possibilities. But it was worth it to them to protect their children and save their souls.
I, for one, am humbled by their sacrifice and thankful that they were willing. They suffered many hardships and losses, but they also produced some of the greatest men and women in history.
So next time you question the sanity of your decisions or are accused of "sheltering" your children from society, holdyour head up, smile, and remember the Pilgrims.
Now go enjoy some pumpkin pie with those unsocialized kids of yours.