Christian Parents: Your Children Need More Than a Bomb Shelter
Image: Dragon Images / Shutterstock

The image of the nuclear family has always been an ambiguous one for me. Of course it’s meant to convey a picture of a centered family, anchored by a mom and a dad, with children orbiting around them as satellites, together serving as one of the basic units of society—an “atomic unit,” if you will. But having been raised during the denouement of the cold war and shaped by movies like Red Dawn, for me the notion of a “nuclear” family also carried connotations of a bomb shelter or concrete bunker, a fortress to protect us from the threats of a menacing world.

The metaphor is stark but not entirely off base. We rightly have a sense of caution when it comes to the influence of the world on our families, especially on our children. Indeed, it’s a biblical admonition: we are both incubators and defenders of our children’s hearts and minds, stewards of their imaginations, responsible for their instruction. It’s only natural that we should be their defenders, on guard like sentinels watching in the distance for oncoming threats.

But what if we’re missing the real threats? What if we’re constructing defenses against the intellectual blasts of ideas and messages from the world but not insulating against the sort of toxic radiation that can seep through our intellectual defenses? Every parenting strategy assumes something about the nature of human beings. We tend to treat our children as intellectual receptacles, veritable brains-on-a-stick, and we parent and protect them accordingly. We try to foster their faith by providing them with biblical knowledge and then gradually equipping them to also discern the false teachings the world will throw at them.

But what does it ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueWhy Jesus’ Skin Color Matters
Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters Subscriber Access Only
That he was an ethnic minority shapes how we minister today.
RecommendedDo Children Go to Heaven When They Die?
Do Children Go to Heaven When They Die?Subscriber Access Only
God's love for children is clear in Scripture, but the 'age of accountability' is harder to find.
TrendingFinding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Editor's PickForgive Us Our Debts: How Christian College Grads Pay the Price
Forgive Us Our Debts: How Christian College Grads Pay the Price
Evangelical schools work to capture the real cost of student loans.
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
Brazos Press
2016-04-05
224 pp., $11.24
Buy You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit from Amazon
Christianity Today
Christian Parents: Your Children Need More Than a Bomb Shelter
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2016

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.