Philipp Dettmer has an amazing YouTube video about the immune system, one of the most complex systems in the human body. The key to how this vast network of specialized cells survives infections is found in the antibodies: the proteins this system creates after the body has been attacked.
In other words, immunity comes through challenge. That’s why it’s important that our immune systems get stronger, which involves being exposed to a wide range of attacks.
The lesson for Christian parents is similar. We can’t protect kids from false ideas by eliminating their exposure to them. Age-appropriate protection is important, but children who are never exposed to bad ideas develop a worldview without the antibodies they need to confront these infectious ideas in real life.
They are like, as the Apostle Paul put it, “infants, tossed back and forth by the waves.” Knowing when to introduce bad ideas to our kids is important, but they must develop the discernment to recognize bad ideas and the wisdom to confront them. The goal is not isolation but inoculation.
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