Does Growing up Sheltered Protect you from the World?

A lot of parents wish to protect their children from the harshness of the world and from the very confronting and mean behaviour that children especially encounter in high school. However, does sheltering your child truly protect them from what is going on in the world?

In my own experience I would answer this question with a clear No.

I had a very sheltered childhood. I was sent to an alternative schooling system and my mother created this big bubble around us, making sure we did not get into contact with rude people or get into any harsh situations, and that she was always there to protect us. Of course this bubble was not perfect and we could see through it. Behind those ‘beautiful’ bubble walls there was a different world out there, however, we did not belong to it – so we thought – feeling somehow removed, aloof and that we were not participating in it.

In this way we were raised in the feeling that we were special but also different from anyone else, which separated us from others and gave us a feeling of superiority, of not really belonging to the world.

When I left school I was very lost and in no way equipped to deal with life. In fact I was not really willing to participate in life – I had no sense of what profession or work I wanted to learn. The truth is my whole childhood world turned around on me. There was always my mother there to do it for me, which left me completely self-centred with no sense for other people’s needs and not even remotely feeling that I might contribute to making life more beautiful and worth living for everyone on this planet.

There was no gratitude for my mother either; I hated her efforts and had no appreciation for her willingness to go out of her way to be there for us.

The interesting part is that my sisters and I had nightmares all through our childhood.

We would spend half the night in our parents’ bed, and even later on when we were older we would creep into each other’s bed for support. I remember waking up lots of nights terrified and we all had the same sense of something evil being in our room: sometimes I was too scared to jump out of bed as I had to pass this evil ‘thing’ on my way out. Once I gathered enough courage I would run as fast as I could to the safety of my parents’ bed.

For someone living such a protected and sheltered life, it makes you wonder where these nightmares were coming from and where the feeling of someone evil out there to come and get you derived from. It really makes no sense and shows that I did not feel very safe and protected at all.

As the nightmares in my childhood show, I had no sense of being equipped to deal with threatening situations, however I had a clear sense that bad and threatening things existed and all I could do is be scared of it behind my bubble wall that obviously did not make me feel safe at all.

The bubble may have attempted to shield me from the harshness but it also had the effect of cutting me off from interacting with the world, from experiencing the abundant flavours and colours that make life so full and rich.

Interestingly I was not happy living behind these thick walls of protection, but I did not question it until one day I met Serge Benhayon, who reflected to me that there is a different way of being, a way that has now brought so much more joy into my life.

So very clearly, for me the sheltered life did not work out well. It took a lot of work on myself, cutting through the arrogance, the judgement and hardness that was like a shield around me, to recover the beautiful, loving and caring woman I am.

My life and my views are greatly inspired by Serge Benhayon. He changed my outlook on life and encouraged me to participate in the world in a playful and joyful way, inspiring me to come out of my self-created bubble that now, looking back, was like a very isolated prison cell – it felt somewhat safe but wasn’t true at all.

By J.A., Germany

Related Reading:
~ From Suffering from Withdrawals – to Healthy Relationships and True Intimacy
~ From Being a Lonely Rider to Opening up for People
~ “Expression is Everything” – How I Feel About Myself, the World and Other People

1,844 thoughts on “Does Growing up Sheltered Protect you from the World?

  1. As a whole we are simply not brought up to deal with life e.g. our school systems focus on arithmetic and grammar which have their place but these skills do not produce well adjusted young adults…on the contrary most young people leave school feeling completely stressed out due to the pressure to perform academically. Is this really the final product we want for young people? Given this is how we as a society prepare young people for real life, is it no wonder then that many abuse themselves with alcohol, drugs, sex etc. once they leave the confines of school?

  2. It’s a pretty incredible concept that think we can protect someone from the ills of the world by hiding them from seeing the truth of what’s truly happening. The greatest protection we can offer our kids is the truth of how the world works and our role in reading and seeing it for what it is. In this we offer the wisdom that we are far greater than the ills we have bowed down to in the past.

  3. Soon enough the illusion of isolation and separation is shattered, we see that the world keeps spinning and evolving no matter how much we try and put a stop to it.

  4. It crazy how we can get caught in the illusion of a bubble of protection, but in truth there is no real protection, its a shutting down, keeping people out. It is when we let go of this protection and let people in with openness, that’s when we are truly living.

  5. We may like to think that we can shut our eyes and close the doors on whatever we don’t want to have in our life and that is the be all and end all solution, but that is not how the world is cracked up to be. Being born a human, we have already signed up to be a part of the whole and there is no way we can be without it.

  6. When I look for protection I’m separating myself from life. There is something unreal in living in this way that doesn’t protect me in truth. Protection is just an illusion. It makes me feel somehow ‘safe’, but missing at the same time. In the end it ends being a choice: To live or not to live. … in full

  7. I totally agree, JA, that sheltering one’s children from the reality and truth of the world is false protection and actually does them a dis-service. The greatest form of protection is truth and supporting one to love, appreciate and honour oneself.

  8. Great blog J.A; very supportive of parents who do not want to shelter their children but instead present them with love, truth and ways of connecting to their own inner wisdom.
    .

  9. As a parent it can be very common to want to protect your child. Babies definitely need protection and so do children and here is where it gets blurry for parents. We want to protect our children but we don’t always know how and can often end up “over-protecting” or protecting in ways that really aren’t supportive.

  10. We cannot live in a bubble, we cannot pretend these things are not happening in the world because if we do we allow things to happen purely because we have abdicated our responsibility to pay attention. I see it over and over again both in my life and others. The moment we step into knowing we can make a difference in our own and other people’s lives is the moment we start taking more responsibility.

  11. I have come to learn that protecting children from the world makes them more anxious and wanting to live from protection, yet when we allow ourselves to stand back and let children learn from their choices, we can step in to support them to let them know that it is ok, and from there children learn to be more themselves and also take more responsibility for the choices they make.

  12. Its clear one can only ever support some one to be prepared for this world you cannot protect them from what is there. A simple example would be a person who is blind who cannot see this world.

  13. The reality of the world around us is the direct result from all of our accumulative choices – and that does not change no matter how much protection we layer on top of ourselves or others.

  14. I learnt from an early age that we have to find our own way in the world, as much as it would be nice to be protected sometimes, we learn to make different choices from the things life teaches us on the way, and if we are protected from an early age we lose the confidence to deal with things when we need to.

  15. When we live in a bubble – any type of bubbles – we put a protective wall around us. When I read this line – “not even remotely feeling that I might contribute to making life more beautiful and worth living for everyone on this planet.” I saw so clearly that the bubble stops you from bringing you to the world, and life is more beautiful when we are all part of it.

  16. True J.A., when we protect ourselves or are being protected from harshness and what is truly going on in the world we miss out on the beauty and abundance that life can be. And there is such a joy in seeing all that is there in the light of who we truly are and that’s all the protection we need.

  17. “The bubble may have attempted to shield me from the harshness but it also had the effect of cutting me off from interacting with the world, from experiencing the abundant flavours and colours that make life so full and rich.” Separating ourselves from humanity doesn’t serve anyone. It just produces arrogant behaviours and thinking we ‘know best’ As one who was sent to a boarding school I can relate to much of what you say here. It was going into nursing after school that opened my eyes as to how many people lived their lives.

  18. Your story J.A. reminds me how I was trying to protect my daughter from the hard world. I even was putting her in a special school. There it looked all nice, sweet and protected. The opposite was true I learned later. The evil of niceness is much bigger than the very clear rudeness we can see in other school systems. It was a very sophisticated way to lock the children’s freedom in expression.

  19. We do a lot in the name of protecting our children but, as you describe here, we often do them more harm than good.

  20. It is a truth that the world is full of harsh things, and harsh experiences which hurt us especially as a young child who is so intrinsically connected with their sensitivity – and there is also a great power in seeing these experiences and understanding them for what they are, for someone who understands their hurts and why the world is the way it is is a sorely needed reflection and is tangibly seen in physical life, because they make choices to move and speak differently.

  21. Yeah, it’s interersting to read this because we’re forever trying to protect ourselves and others from the harsh world. But in doing that, we’re actually just contributing to it by reacting to it rather than learning how to be with it and in that reflect another way. Living sheltered from real life is a pointless exercise, as we’re part of it, period.

  22. ” Does Growing up Sheltered Protect you from the World? ” A simple example of this is the story of the Buddha . Growing up sheltered just creates another world within a world . When the Buddha found out that he was living a sheltered life, he knew it was not the way to live and joined ” the real world ” but then he learned lots of people were living sheltered lives in different guises, like the beggars, living a life with no responsibility. ( life of maya consciousness ) . The Buddha then met people like your mother who had a comfortable job and could provide comfortably for their family (the sheltered Glamour consciousness life ) . The Buddha then met the educated religious people who were living by made up rules and regulations that man came up with to be closer to God (the sheltered life of illusion consciousness) . The Buddha sat with himself and re-connected to the essence of where he is sourced from and learned that we all come from the one source, and living from this source fulfils the purpose of being in this world so as to return to the source we are truly from that we abandoned lives ago.

    1. Thank you John for illustrating the different ways we can withdraw or hide from the world. By being open to consider the many different ways of living that look quite normal, we are able to unpeel layers of protection that could actually be holding us back from feeling all there is to feel. Without feeling the all, we are at the mercy of the all that is always there and ill-equipped to respond. Equally, by connecting to the all we are given all we need to not just live, but to return to the all we are originally from.

  23. I can see now that I had a protective up bringing, but this would have come from me in the first place, with my reactions to home and school life. If a child is very sensitive, we do them no favours by wrapping them up in cotton wool.

  24. We need to know and understand the world, and not flinch at what it throws at us. Our strength is in our sensitivity and our ability to surrender and accept – living without pictures and with great love.

  25. Teaching our kids to be equipped to both deal with what is ahead of them AND know that they are capable of dealing with what is ahead of them is a massive part of parenting. Life can be tough and there are challenges we have to face, it doesn’t serve our kids to shelter them from life particularly when the challenges we face give us such a big opportunity for growth.

  26. We do not need bars to imprison us as we can be imprisoned by ideals and beliefs as well as behaviours that do not support us.

  27. Reading your title, I had this drop in. Does growing up ignorant stop you from feeling energy? We can live in a way that ignores all that we are, but we can never stop being all that we are.

  28. “I had no sense of being equipped to deal with threatening situations, however I had a clear sense that bad and threatening things existed and all I could do is be scared of it behind my bubble wall” This is such a draining way to live, ill-equipped to deal with all life is presenting to us.

  29. The problem with trying to protect our children from the evils and the badness that exists in the world means that you are trying to shelter them from reality. I feel that it is important to be real with kids, speak to them as adults when they are still children, don’t shield or hide what is going on in the world from them, that is not protecting them, that is not setting them up to be in the world.

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