We recently received a letter asking this very question.
Are there parents who believe in isolating their children? Yes. Are there
parents who believe in sheltering their children? Yes. What is the
difference between “isolating” and “sheltering”?
In some families around the country, parents are raising their children
under the belief that the very best thing for them is to “isolate” them
from the world. What does this actually mean? Well, to “isolate” means: 1.
An aisle or and island. 2. To place in a detached situation. 3. To place
by itself. 4. To insulate.
Many isolationists truly believe that they are following the Lord. We have
read many letters from people who have raised their children with the idea
that any type of outside influence, besides that of the parent, should be
avoided at all costs. They believed that children were not able to handle
the dangers that surround them in this world and so they pulled them from
the world and kept them separate from it. They used the Scriptures which
say to “come out and be separate”.
An isolationist’s children are kept from the company of other children,
unless the parent is there at all times interacting, also, and keeping an
eye on the children. The family usually stays together at all times and
only interacts with one another or other families who believe exactly the
same way. The reason they do this is because they believe there is so much
sin in people and in the world around them, that they must keep their children away
from it, lest they learn it from others. A bit like a virus that you can
We have three families who wrote us requesting our thoughts on the
subject. All said approximately the same thing, that they isolated their
children as they were growing up but when their older
children reached a certain age, they left their homes in rebellion. Each
young adult couldn’t get away from their parents quick enough and soon
after they left either started picking up bad habits of smoking and
drinking, or worse, became involved with drugs.
They now question whether “isolating” their children was a Biblical
solution to child training as the end result did not build a Godly
The next form of child training is where the parents have an attitude of
“sheltering” their children.
Let’s look up what SHELTERING means:
1. To cover from violence, injury, annoyance or attack. 2. To defend; to
protect from danger; to secure or render safe; to harbor. 3. To take to
cover or a safe place.
If you are any type of a God-fearing parent at all, you are going to want
to shelter your children from harm. Whether that harm comes in the form of
physical, mental or spiritual, you will want to protect them! This is from
God. God has given our small children into our keeping to care for them
and to train them in His ways so they will be able to serve Him when they
First, God shelters us! It is in His very being to protect us from danger.
This is the reason why He gave us the commandments to obey. Through our
obedience we would be safe from harm. He also shelters us when we seek Him
Psalms 61 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the
earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the
rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a
strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever; I
will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. (Vs. 1-4)
What is the difference between isolating and sheltering? There are many
While isolating a child keeps him from others, a parent who shelters will
give opportunity for their children to learn and grow from others. They
will place them in an environment where other people will come into their
lives and they will be exposed to different attitudes, actions, and
beliefs. When they are exposed to something that the parent sees is
against their Biblical standards, they train and teach their children what
is wrong versus what God would have them do or think. This is to prepare
them for later on in life when mother and father will no longer be around
to shelter them from danger. They will have to be aware and awake without
the help of their parents to keep an eye out for what is “dangerous”.
Herein is a huge difference, the sheltering mentality teaches children
what “dangers” in life to look for. The isolationists keeps their child
insolated so they never see danger and will never know what to look for
when they are released into the real world of adulthood. In a way they are
thought to be kept in a clean, virus-free, sin-free, bubble at home, never
to be tainted by sin carried in by others.
One very big problem with the isolationist’s theory… sin isn’t something
you catch. Sin is inborn in each of us and only the blood of Jesus Christ
can cleanse us from this disease of death.
So what should we do as parents who want our children to make right
choices as they live in this world?
Christian parents are to shelter and protect their children from harm and
at the same time train them to be “inoculated” against the world.
This inoculation takes place as we daily point out to them what the world
is saying is true and then showing them what God’s Word says. It is a
constant time of teaching them and training them in Biblical values vs.
secular humanism that bombards them from every media surrounding them.
It is imperative that parents teach their children the “dangers” that they
will face. Just as God has placed in animals in the jungle the instinct to
sniff and smell out danger, so has God placed parents to train their
children to watch out for “sin” dangers. We cannot place our heads in the
sands like ostriches and walk in fear of the world. We are only to fear
God, not man.
One of the main goals for our children to strive for, is to be a person
that can be in the world and see the hurt and the pain and suffering of
the lost, and to be able to lead them to Christ, without any spiritual harm coming
to them. This is possible by being inoculated through the blood of Jesus
Christ living in them. They must have a saving knowledge ALL THEIR OWN,
not just their parent’s, of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Christ, through the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit, will then
lead these children through the hidden minefields of life. He alone will
be the one to keep them safe when they leave the safety of the home. It is
our job, while we have them, to shelter them, yes, but to also prepare
them to leave in the arms and safety of the Lord, the moment they are
born. They are not ours. They are God’s. It is our duty to not have their
world only be their parents. This is total selfishness on the parent’s
part. We are to get them ready to help souls that are lost and who are to
find their way to Christ. This is why our children are alive. Not to serve
us as parents, but to serve our Heavenly Father.
Here is what Jesus calls us to train our children to do:
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them
one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me
drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an
hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave
me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not:
sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an
hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and
did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye
did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous
into life eternal.
If we are afraid of the world, how can we do what He has called us to do?
We CAN do it because of HIS blood. His blood causes that death virus of
sin to die and then we can live in Him! We can then do His will, not our
own! This is what our children are to be taught so that they can go into
all the world and preach the gospel…. And maybe sometimes even speak.
A. B. Leaver