Being born and raised in the Bible Belt, I grew up a little differently than some of the people I’ve met while attending college. Though I went to public school from grades K-12 and have had friends from loads of different backgrounds, I did not fully realize that other people had different viewpoints and opinions on most matters until I was a freshman in high school. So, today I’ve compiled a list of Sheltered Kid-isms that will explain why I turned out the way I have:
And why I want to raise my future kids the same way…
I did not know what the word “gay” meant until middle school.
I have a distinct memory of playing a word game in second grade with a group of my classmates and our teacher’s assistant. We were coming up with words that rhyme with “day”, or something of the sort, and after everyone had a turn, the assistant wrote down the word “gay”. This caused a round of giggles to emerge from my classmates, while I sat there absolutely out-of-the-loop on why the word was so funny. However, the assistant explained that she was using the word in the context of meaning happy, as the word’s original definition states.
Fast-forward to middle school, where just about every controversial subject ends up getting around to all ears, no matter how they were raised. Somewhere in the mix of information, I figured out what the word means by today’s terms.
I did not know about the “other b-word” or the f-word until middle school.
Turns out, one of my younger cousins knew more cuss words than I did when I was in the seventh grade, because he had to explain to me what the “other b-word” meant after he saw it in a book he was reading. Also coming from a Christian family, he hadn’t known it was a foul word until he asked his parents what it meant. Around the same time, I heard the f-word used for the first time at my class’s lunch table in the seventh grade. Not knowing what it meant, though knowing it did not sound nice in the context my classmate was using it, I asked my momma what, without saying the actual word, “the f-word” meant. I can still remember how the look of complete astonishment covered her face as she asked me where I had heard it, and explained as innocently as she could what it meant. After that, more kids at school started using the word as if it were a comma, along with other expletives. For the first time, I began worrying about my generation. I even went as far as taking a tally sheet of how many cuss words I heard during one school day (reaching an astounding amount of 40+), and brought it to my teacher’s attention that afternoon. My teacher that year, however, did not seem to be phased at all; she didn’t even address the class on the issue.
I did not know what the word “homophobic” meant until my freshman year of high school.
Similar to my experience with the word “gay”, I did not know what the word “homophobic” meant until I was talking with a couple of friends of mine one day. At the time, I made a negative comment about homosexuality, thinking that everyone felt that way. Keep in mind, I only said this because the Bible states that homosexuality, along with sexual immorality of all kinds, is a sin (see Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 7:2) One of my friends then asked me if I was homophobic. Not knowing what it meant, I asked them to define it. When they told me that the word was defined as being afraid of homosexuals, I said yes. Looking back on that day after nearly seven years have gone by, I regret saying that I was homophobic. I still agree with what the Bible says about homosexuality being a sin, because I believe everything the Bible has to say, though I’m not afraid of homosexuals. I have a few friends who have professed they are homosexual or bisexual, but I don’t avoid them or slap them with the Bible because of it. It is their choice to choose how to live their life. All we as Christians are asked to do is present them with the truth of God’s word. If they refuse to accept God’s word, then it’s not our problem to “fix” them; only they can begin or mend their relationship with God. However, as a friend, we can still be the light of God to them. In the book of Matthew, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). So now I’m not afraid of being nice to someone with that type of lifestyle. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll see the light of God and change their ways if they have a Christian influence in their lives.
As you can see, the list goes on and on.
There are probably at least a dozen more Sheltered Kid-isms I could mention, but I don’t want to turn this blog post into a novel. Instead, I want to explain why I want my kids to be raised the same way my parents raised me, and it all points to one little word:
From watching my younger sister’s experience in high school, I can conclude that it has changed drastically since I was there, even though we are only four years apart. If high schools (even in the Bible Belt) are growing farther and farther away from the teachings of God, I don’t want to imagine how vile the middle schools, and even elementary schools are becoming. Growing up in the late 90’s right on in to the 2000’s, though the world wasn’t completely innocent, my parents made sure that I grew up without my mind being clogged with aspects of sin. I’ve heard people say that they’ve been gay since birth, whereas I didn’t know there was even such a mindset. I didn’t use foul words as a kid, because my parents did not say them around me (okay, so occasionally they would let some slip, but no one is perfect). What I’m saying is that as kids, children shouldn’t be thinking about things that require an adult choice, or adult consequences. If a parent gives a kid the option of being gay or transgender, they are robbing the child of their innocence by putting the thoughts into their young minds. Meaning that if a child is worried about their sexual orientation or gender from such a young age, they will be focused on things like dating and sex throughout their childhood, therefore missing out on the pure innocence of discovering the world on their own and making their own choices later in life.
Even though I was out-of-the-loop on a lot of things during my childhood, I had an awesome one. I watched Nicktoons and Disney movies like any other kid. I also went to VBS and made the decision to follow God on my own when I was eight. My parents never forced that upon me, nor anything else for that matter. They just protected me from things that they knew were against God’s teachings, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Have a great day y’all, and God bless! 😀