As Christians and homeschoolers we are often accused of living “in the bubble” or “holy huddle.” For me, this stirs reactions on both sides of the coin.
As homeschoolers, we obviously don’t have the public school community. We do have a homeschool co-op, a Bible study, a community homeschool group, a field trip group, and a church. Only one of those is not designated as a Christian group. Two of the groups officially became Christian after we joined. So a bubble we are in.
Is that a bad thing? I have 3 young, impressionable children. I want to train my kids up in the way they should go before they have to go out and face the world. If they are surrounded by like-minded adults and families who are intentionally living for Jesus, the chance of my children being successfully trained is stronger. But to truly train for something, you have to get out into the trenches and see how it really works.
After all, Jesus prayed for us while He was still alive…
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:14-18
Jesus sends us out into the world. He also emphasized that we spend time in the word, and teach our kids the word, so that we are ready. So out into the world we go…
When we regularly pass the homeless on the street corners selling newspapers, my children are the ones who often call out, “Do we have any money?” (In our city, the homeless can get licensed to sell papers as part of a program to help them get off the streets.) Though it may freak people out, we actually roll down our kids’ windows and let them be the ones to hand them the money and receive the paper. We occasionally put together lunches or goody bags to give them as well. This brightens the kids days, as well as helps out the homeless.
When the church down the street is bagging green beans for food banks, we show up, especially since it’s something the kids can participate in–not just observe. When we hear something questionable on the news or see something disturbing at the mall, we discuss it. As parents we often hope that our kids didn’t notice or hear something, when in reality their minds are steel traps and they don’t miss a thing! We have to seize opportunities that present themselves to train our children about the world so that one day they will be prepared to enter it as world-changers.
Sometimes I question if what we are doing is quite enough. The flip side of introducing them to too much world too soon, is that the negative starts rubbing off on them. They haven’t yet determined which lines not to cross. Each parent must prayerfully decide how much exposure is too much.
The other negative is what the world thinks of us. I don’t think I really understood this until earlier this year. Some friends and I met at a church with a great indoor playground. For reasons too gross to discuss on this blog post, the kids had to leave the playground after just 15 minutes and wait for it to be cleaned.
While we were waiting (not knowing it would be over 2 hours), our kids were turning circles in swivel chairs.. Now I’m an adult and have been for a while…but I still like a good swivel chair now in then. Doesn’t the child in all of us?
We noticed some older women looking back and forth between us and our children. One of them marched over to our table and said, “Are THOSE your children? They shouldn’t be playing here. We just made a multi-million dollar addition!”
Please don’t hear me wrong. It is NOT okay to let your children run wild or misbehave in public. But children will be children. We can’t expect them to be 100% perfect. But turning in a swivel chair? Hardly a crime. This place was so massive, most of the noise they were making was swallowed right up. And let us not forget that this was church that was supposed to have a playground ministry to the community (which we greatly appreciate!), but that ministry wasn’t important enough to clean up nasty body excretions within 2 hours. Apparently we weren’t welcome elsewhere in the church either.
I felt truly unwelcome. And my sweet babies weren’t welcome there either. For the first time, I totally understood why some people dislike church and dislike Christians. If Christians spend millions of dollars on buildings only to ostracize those who may enter them, I would want no part of Christianity either. I sincerely apologize to those who, in the name of Christianity, have been treated that way.
This was a great reminder to make sure that we don’t act that way and that we make sure everyone feels welcome when they visit our little “bubbles.” We should be welcoming, someone people want to be around. Jesus was probably fun to be around. His first miracle was at a wedding that He was invited to. We should extend invitations to those outside of our bubbles and be a blessing, not a curse to them.
How do you teach your children to be “in the world, but not of the world”?