Feb 19 2013
The Krusty Sage, on Sheltering Your Kids

(From Brant: This guy sure is cranky. But occasionally, he takes over my blog, and says some stuff, and I can't stop him. I just want you to know that I am thoroughly offended by his tone, and am already drafting a strongly worded letter to me about it. I'm more offended than you, even.)


"Should you shelter your kids?"



The Krusty Sage and the Mrs. Krusty Sage have homeschooled their kids.  (Mostly Mrs. Krusty Sage, to be straight-up honest, yo.) Now, the K.S. does NOT care whether you homeschool or not.  Don't want to?  Can't?  Whatev, man. Your kids, your situation, your call.

But please spare the Sage your concern that he "shelters" his kids.  Why yes, we do, and have.  Thanks.  Glad you're concerned.  By the way:  If you don't "shelter" your kids, you're a traitor.

Remember the Sam Kinison sketch on SNL?  He's a kindergarten teacher, and a shiny, happy mom and dad walk in for their first Parent-Teacher conference.  He tells them their daughter is seriously whack.  They can't believe it.  How?  Why?

He shows them a picture she drew, with a happy little house, and a smiley-faced sun in the sky.  "See this?!  This is insane!"  They don't get it.  So he walks them over to the class window.

"Look at the sun up there.  Can you see it?  Let me ask you a question:  IS THERE A SMILEY FACE ON THE SUN?"

He then launches into a tirade about sheltered kindergarteners, unaware of the gritty real world.  "That's why I've chosen THIS text," he says, slamming down a thick tome.  "It's about the REAL WORLD!  VIETNAM! Lying in a trench in the mud, watching your friend get his head blown off!"

Yeah, man, Vietnam.  The real world, man.  Get those kids exposed, now.  As if there's not a season for everything, as if childhood isn't fit for children, as if "sheltering" weren't one of the things you are precisely charged with doing as a parent.

If you don't shelter your kids, you're a traitor.  Maybe I mentioned that.  "Shelter", "protect" -- what's the dif, dad?

Maybe it matters what you show them on TV.  Maybe it matters that a six year-old may not be ready to watch the new Batman movie, or that your 13 year-old son is seriously wondering why you're not creeped out by watching a sex scene on TV along with him in the room.  Maybe your daughter actually does absorb foolishness from Seventeen and MTV, and maybe that matters.

("But I watched some sex scenes when I was a kid and some inappropriate shows and I turned out okay, and --"  Really?  You're "okay", huh?  You sure?  The K.S. wouldn't even say he's "okay".  But you are?  Neat.)

Maybe allowing your 14 year-old a computer in his room isn't really helping him learn the "real world", but about fake women, and he's in there sabotaging his future marriage, and you're letting it happen because you're a) breathtakingly naive, or b) you're not man enough to "shelter".

It's your job to shelter, pops.  And if you think the mindless entertainment/consumption lifestyle is somehow "the real world", the K.S. is going to get out of his big, awesome, wooden chair and hit you with it.

The K.S. has a friend who was seriously concerned about how the Sage family hadn't let his kids watch "Superbad".  Sadly, the same friend later said his dad had shown him porno mags when he was seven.  No sheltering there. I feel for him.

Another friend once worked at a pre-school with both Amish and non-Amish children.  They occasionally showed Disney videos to the kids, but the friend got a warning:  "Be careful and make sure you watch the Amish kids closely.  They aren't used to movies, so they can take things too seriously and get emotional."  Weird, huh?

-- except it's not the Amish kids who were weird.  They lived in a real world.  A different one, sure.  A "sheltered" one, sure.  But far, far more real than Ariel and Belle.   They aren't the odd ones.  They're children.  Childhood has it's own seasons, its own rhythm, its own implicit modesties, and, if allowed, its own sweet, and more real, charms.

So here's an idea:  DO show your kids the real world --  in time, in season, and informed by wisdom.  Help them to understand, from the outset, that some things aren't appropriate for them yet, but will be in time. Take them out of the country to the third world.  Give them lots of great (usually not modern) books.  Gradually give them more and more latitude as they demonstrate their own wisdom, with the goal of producing a well-formed, free-thinking, independent adult by their very late teens. (By the way, we steered our oldest to the largely non-sheltering environment of his new context of UC-Berkeley.)

Here's the downside:  In order to do this, properly, you'll actually have to know them -- really know them.  May mean giving up your awesome car or house and getting a different job.  Sorry.  Also means you can't watch a bunch of garbage on TV yourself.  Sorry. 

That's one problem with helping people grow up:  You have to be a grown-up.

Comments (38) -

2/19/2013 1:44:08 PM
Kathy Bell United States
Kathy Bell
You just mentioned on the show that you would have something in your blog concerning the UN HRC. Maybe I am missing it.
2/19/2013 1:44:49 PM
brant United States
It's at the top on the right...?
2/19/2013 1:51:16 PM
Kathy Bell United States
Kathy Bell
Cool, thanks!
2/19/2013 2:26:41 PM
Wendi United States
2/19/2013 2:33:04 PM
Michelle Thompson United States
Michelle Thompson
Love it!!
2/19/2013 2:37:47 PM
Tiffany United States
You just get it. You somehow get me as a parent and put into words what I have been trying to say. My kids are sheltered, innocent and yes I will keep it that way for as long as possible. Because its my job as a parent. Thank you again for reaching into my brain and putting my thoughts into words in a way I never could. <3
2/19/2013 2:51:15 PM
Justin United States
Hope you don't mind but this was too good not to link to my Blog.  
2/19/2013 3:03:41 PM
laura United States
I just needed this today. Yesterday I exploded and cried because my 9 yr old and 7 yr old have a father that thinks things like call of duty and older teen movies are okay for them. I was so angry but more at this world and the enemy  that tries to find a way to sneak in to everything. Imm tired of conformity and people who just go with the world's idea of what is appropriate for a child. Today is the day I take a stand for truth. My heart grieves because of loss of innocence. We need to protect our children at all costs. After all, they have their entire life to be adults.  Thank you for this. I feel less alone
2/19/2013 3:17:45 PM
Nancy United States
wait, you mean, I'm not crazy for not letting my kids watch all the other stuff my christian friends let their kids watch?!?!
2/19/2013 3:26:28 PM
Aurora United States
It's great to here a parent taking their job as a protector seriously instead of taking their cues from the world.  Your children are blessed.  Keep  up the good work!
2/19/2013 3:27:16 PM
Aurora United States
hear no here Smile
2/19/2013 3:29:22 PM
Debra Masters United States
Debra Masters
I sheltered my kids. Every book they wanted to read, I read it first. Every movie they wanted to see, I saw it first and THEN I decided if they had the maturity to read/watch/handle it. As they grew up, I gave them more responsibility, but even at 16, when my youngest daughters class sent home a permission slip to watch "Silence of the Lambs" as a class, I did not give permission. She was way too tender-hearted for that film, it would have tormented her. And I never let a child of mine under the age of 18 have a computer in their room. First off because that isolates them and teens need less isolation not more, and second because the temptation is just too great for them to stand against alone.
2/19/2013 4:06:39 PM
Diane United States
I would never let my son have a computer in his room.First thing they look for is nudie pics.I was strict on T.V. also. T.V. is not the "real world". I never sheltered them from day to day living,just the bad morals and values that weren't a place in our home.I feel sorry for the children who have parents that don't really care enough.I've always been a minority in my family but that never bothered me.My kids turned out great.And yes i know they exposed to all those things when they were with friends,but that taught them to discern.
2/19/2013 4:17:03 PM
CC United States
Amen K.S.! We need more parents like you. As a parent I tried, but obviously not consistently enough. As a teacher in a Christian school, I encounter so many parents who do not parent, they "friend" and make excuses for their children. It is very sad and it is no wonder our culture is the way it is. truly Jesus is the only hope for our future.
2/19/2013 4:33:08 PM
Heather United States
Great post!

Yep, you better believe my kids are sheltered. Is my teen annoyed that I still screen her movies because what Hollywood considers appropriate for 13, I often do not? Sometimes. Does my son wish we had cable and he could channel surf all day on a Saturday? Probably. Are my kids afraid to live in this world because they absorb hours a day of "news" programming? Nope.

You are so right. In their season. My first child didn't know about 9/11 until years after it happened. At the age of 4, she would have been ill-prepared to understand (I still don't understand it, myself). Kids don't need to be exposed to everything out there in order to grow. It's our job to build that hedge of reasonable protection around them.
2/19/2013 4:44:33 PM
Alexandria United States
As a kid (I'm only 17, so I still fall in that category) who grew up relatively sheltered, I gotta say I agree with you Brant. What you suggest is largely what my mom did with me. Some movies she didn't consider appropriate for me until I got a bit older, and we had restrictions on our home computer for the longest time. And you know what happened? I now have a lot more independence, and make a lot more of my own decisions about what movies to watch and what books to read, I even have a restriction-free laptop of my own (I'm using it right now), and I still make choices akin to what my mother would want from me. But I don't do it for her anymore, I do it because I've realized that I, personally, don't want that junk in my head. And yet, I live squarely within the bounds of the real world, I just don't embrace everything in it. There is a lot of trust between my mom and I because of this. I trust her judgement, and I feel that she trusts me to make good choices even when she's not there. It works.
2/19/2013 4:53:21 PM
Leisha United States
As a fellow sheltering parent, thank you!!! Sometimes I have these grains of doubt that creep in. Like, is it okay that my almost 7 year old still likes the Wonder Pets when most of her classmates (at her private Christian school!!) like Barbie, Bratz and something called Monster High? Should my 10 year old Autistic daughter know who Justin Bieber and One Direction are because her classmates love them? I will continue to allow my 3 sweet little girls (ages 3, almost 7 and 10) to watch only the things we approve of on Netflix and DVD. We will continue to keep cable TV out of our house and our only computer in the living room. We won't bow to pressure and let our young girls learn about vampires and will continue to only buy clothes that cover them properly.
2/19/2013 4:55:21 PM
Krista United States
Awesome. I do have a bit of a twist on this. We shelter our kids from a lot, but not everything. I do tell them why I never let then play outside without me watching them, even though my son is 11. They aren't allowed to ride their bikes all over the neighborhood, like the other kids and they don't understand why...they can't leave our cull de sac, in fact. But I tell them about the things, the people that can hurt them. I tell them that not everyone has a relationship with Jesus and wants only the best for them. I tell them...that life is messy and sometimes so are people. My son is 11, and his friends have been telling him what they believe "sex" is since he was 9. I am a labor and delivery nurse and we have 12 year old patients sometimes. I'm certainly not advocating letting our children get their sex education from the TV...certainly not! They get it from me and they're getting it early. If that somehow means I'm a traitor and not sheltering my kids enough, then I guess that makes me a traitor. Above all, they know we love them, God loves them, and they are starting with a very solid God-honoring home. Both of them have accepted Christ as their Lord and savior, btw, praise God. That is a foundation that will hopefully, prayerfully, protect them from and guide them through the nastiness this world spews at them.
2/19/2013 5:31:09 PM
Jennifer United States
I was literally reading this like, last week on your old blog. (I also was listening to the dog seat belt song, lol) Thanks for reposting!
2/19/2013 5:35:30 PM
McKenzie Ann United States
McKenzie Ann

I'm another 17 year old and completely agree with Alexandria's post! Her story is quite close to my own.
2/19/2013 6:20:09 PM
Karen United States
This topic has broken my heart recently more than I want to admit and I have been accused of both over sheltering and being too precautionary in warning my kids about worldly issues beginning in late elementary school.  

In considering how God dealt with humanity (designed to be His children) before He gave us the gift of Jesus, I remember that scripture says in different passages how nothing is hidden from God, even things that we don't know are there.

Abraham and Sarah were first called by God from their homeland in Ur of the Chaldeans, part of Babylonia known for issues described in Daniel 4:7, and though Father God was showing them mercy and grace before the 10 commandments were given, He also began mapping out for them in Gen. 15 how He was going to start sanctifying them, the Hebrews or "Cross Over" people.  Centuries later, when God took them to the pinnacle of worldly success under King Solomon's rule, and many strayed off into spiritual adultrey, God took them right back into Babylon and similar cultures to let themselves sift themselves out based on whether they really loved God and were trying to pursue Him.  Prophetic scriptures tell us that this will also be part of how time will conclude at the end of the current age.

When Father God gave us the gift of Jesus and His plan for salvation, humbling Himself and showing the epitome of self-controlled divine power in the process of paying our cosmic sin debt Himself, in front of heavenly and earthly beings, He stated that His Kingdom platform is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.  This, in the face of humanities' historical patterns of decline due to the same recurring issues listed in Ecclesiastes and 1 John 2:15-17.

If we look to Father God as our "Abba", and a higher form of parenting, what does that teach us?  When I read the Godly wisdom in Proverbs, I am overwhelmed that it is a book written primarily by King Solomon to His own children.  Father God used Him for this task, knowing full well what the outcome of King Solomon's reign would be.  The wisdom was at times graphic, either convicting one of righteousness or wickedness, for God and His Spirit of Truth or against God.  What a magnificent, loving God we serve that He would go to such lengths to bring us to Himself.

"He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters." Psalm 18:16

2/19/2013 6:25:03 PM
Maureen Ruano United States
Maureen Ruano
I read your blog often and follow you Facebook and very seldom if ever comment on your blog posts but as a mother of 2 children and I have to confess I am a full fledged traitor, completely and entirely. My children are 12 and 9 and, gasp, don't have their own social media accounts, email addresses and actually have settings on their electronic devices to sensor what they can view on the internet, what they watch on TV and what they read. The world is a scary place which they have to be weary of, it holds real dangers that do legitimately wants to destroy them and steal their innocence, sense of wonder and naivety and untimely the salvation Jesus sacrificed to provide them. So I will steer them into the world at a pace which I feel is safe for them and I will continue to be a traitor. Praying for wisdom and caring that God will and does provide. Thank you for being you. Smile
2/19/2013 7:44:42 PM
Italiagyrl United States
"You show your kids the real world --  in time, in season, and informed by wisdom.  Help them to understand, from the outset, that some things aren't appropriate for them yet, but will be in time. Take them out of the country to the third world.  Give them lots of great (usually not modern) books.  Gradually give them more and more latitude as they demonstrate their own wisdom, with the goal of producing a well-formed, free-thinking, independent adult by their very late teens".  I agree with this statement..  I believe in finding teachable moments and teach in those moements that are revelant to the situation to the moment and the age of the child.  Life is a life long learning experience.  Jesus teaches and reveals to us (His children) when we are ready to receive and at the proper moment.  He says that we will learn at the proper time and not to seek knowledge before it's time by other means.  I believe the same when teaching our own children.  
2/19/2013 8:05:51 PM
Italiagyrl United States
Jesus shelters us as His children.. We are unaware of most spiritual attacks and near misses in the Spiritual realm, because He has sheltered us with angels who protect and defend us.  The Bible says, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you" (Ps. 91:1-7).
2/20/2013 6:43:08 AM
Abigail United States
This was wonderful to read. So many thoughts come to mind. First, I know that our kids aren't really ours, they are God's. We have been tasked with guarding them, taking care of them. One thing that helps me, my husband taught me, is 'What if Christ..' scenarios. Here, it would be 'What if Jesus asked me to babysit this little one, would i feel embarrased or ashamed of what i let them see or do?" Second, 'being appropriate' is a very easy concept for little ones. When my husband and i first met, i didnt know if i could handle his daughter(6-7 at the times.) With the help of my now mother in law, 'is that appropriate?' and showing her God's love and mercy, she seemed to change and respond. as if that is what she needed and had no way of saying. as iron sharpens iron, God works through her with my husband and i. she will come into the room, and although appropriate for us to watch, she will say 'i want to watch tv with you guys, but this isn't appropriate for me, can we change the channel?' and we always do! she is 8 now, and still strives to be appropriate for her age, becuase when she grows up, she has said 'i want to be a godly woman'. Thank you for this post, thank you so much!
2/20/2013 1:37:59 PM
Just-Me United States
Thank-you, I needed to read this today.
2/20/2013 2:29:30 PM
David Dickerson United States
David Dickerson
An excerpt from The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom:

Oftentimes I would use the trip home to bring up things that were troubling me, since anything I asked at home was promptly answered by the aunts. Once—I must have been ten or eleven—I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described “a young man whose face was not shadowed by sexsin.” I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her.

“Sex,” I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and “sin” made Tante Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?”

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.

“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions—for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.
2/20/2013 3:26:43 PM
JMOM United States
I am standing in my kitchen applauding!
2/20/2013 3:40:24 PM
jennifer peterson United States
jennifer peterson
You are awesome.  Thank you from an "overprotective" parent who gets put down constantly by the in-laws for being a "overprotective" parent.  I am so happy that someone else shares the same opinion that you have to actually BE A PARENT if you are going to have "normal" kids.
2/20/2013 4:43:29 PM
Abigail United States
I'm now 24 and pretty much completely out of my parents' shelter. just how life is. However, I am so thankful with how much they did shelter me when growing up. There's a lot of yuck in the world. When I finally discovered it (when I was 18-19 and older, and in gradual  increments), I think I was far more ready to handle it and be firm than even if I was 16 or 17.

HOWEVER, I've also seen some really "sheltered" kids immediately jump into the real world guns blazing once released. I think it is because 1) they weren't taught the why behind some of the rules, and 2) there was no gradual release. These parents who try to shelter their children will surround them with no no no no no no no. but no real why, or no helping the children discover the why. Although, yes, I think kids should be sheltered, parents also need to be careful not to too shelter them, because there is such a thing as that too.
2/21/2013 6:24:12 AM
Erin United States
Why do people automatically assume that a sheltered child is an ignorant one?
You'd better believe my kid is sheltered! Yes, I control her activities, friends, hobbies, etc...
She has very little privacy and I do make most of her decisions for her. She's 14, for goodness sake! How will she ever learn to make these decisions on her own if she has no example to follow? How can she NOT go into an adult life ignorant, if I don't teach her self control? God has given me this responsibility, to raise her to Him and to teach her His ways - I am a parent.
2/21/2013 8:03:18 AM
Ashley United States
We all should listen to every one what they have to eay to use. God is talking to you and me.
2/21/2013 10:24:11 AM
Rev.Wink. United States
OK--Krusty--I mean the Sage, of course, and not the Clown. Although, I have heard the Sage's alter-ego and Clown may be more appropriate than Sage--I'm just sayin.

When did "school" become the institution that we have to shelter our children "from"? I know that it can be, at times, a troubling environment. However, if as you say, we set aside the square footage of our homes, and the horsepower of our cars--for our kids, and spend the time that you discuss with them; then we might foster an open discussion that is based on trust and truth with our kids about what happens in their lives, and how I, POPS, can help them process what is happening in their lives. Then I become effective in their life as their Father, they become effective in their community as being believers in the FATHER -- if you take all of the SALT out of the recipe the bread is not good, man.

btw: I'm a bi-vocational pastor of Fill-my-Cup and I teach at a Title 1 school in Caldwell, Idaho.
2/21/2013 10:33:47 AM
Gigi Taylor United States
Gigi Taylor
Well said!! =]
2/21/2013 11:36:25 AM
Ashley United States
It' all about God
2/26/2013 8:53:05 PM
Tiffany United States
I love this. My mom sheltered me and now being 18, I do have independence and she trusts me to make the right decision. And there are still times I ask for her input on my decision making. She could not shelter me from everything, because of friends at school, but she always kept the line of communication open, so I knew I could come to her about anything.
3/3/2013 3:07:39 AM
Karen United States
"Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her."
King Solomon, Proverbs 4:8

"Wisdom To Be Thankful For"
3/29/2013 1:19:07 PM
Kay United States
I'm a teenager, and so thankful that my parents sheltered me!  I completely agree that we shouldn't have computers in our rooms.  Even if you trust your kid not to look at things they shouldn't, do you trust your kid's friends not to show them those things?
Comments are closed