By Jordan Davison |

I’m the typical Christian, homeschooled girl. 

I grew up in a strict and sheltered home environment with many rules and guidelines that I was expected to follow. I wasn’t allowed to watch Disney Channel or Nick, have sleepovers, go to public restrooms without a buddy, or keep electronics in my room overnight. My first PG-13 movie experience was in my senior year of high school and I never listened to music outside of Christian radio until my freshman year of college. 

Despite the fact that a lot of these rules didn’t make sense to me, my peers, and my siblings, all were enforced because my parents wanted to provide me with a safe space to grow and learn.

The older I get, the more appreciative I am of my parents’ efforts to protect me. Even though I often objected to them at the time, many of the boundaries that my mom and dad implemented during my childhood have taught me valuable life lessons that will stick with me for a long time.

For example, I did not always enjoy the fact that I couldn’t keep electronics in my room past 9 p.m.. As a teenager, this rule seemed like a penalty to keep me from talking with my friends or scrolling through social media. When I came to college, however, I realized that my parents were teaching me the value of spending time away from a little bright screen before I went to sleep. What I saw as an unnecessary rule to keep me from having fun, actually turned out to be an extremely healthy and helpful habit that I still try to practice today. 

Another rule that I have come to appreciate was not being able to date until college. Although I never truly encountered an instance when this rule was enforced, I love that my parents cared enough to take precautions against any potential early heartbreak. Instead of letting me go out with a silly, immature, high school boy, they often urged me to discuss why I felt a certain way about someone. They also encouraged me to prioritize what I thought I was looking for in a boyfriend. This allowed me the opportunity to think beyond my feelings, which has proven to be a useful skill that I can apply to any relationship.  

Growing up under a lot of my parents’ rules, there was a choice that I constantly faced: am I going to be grateful for this as something my parents are using to protect me or am I going to completely disregard it and do my own thing? Sometimes, I didn’t make the right decision. 

Fortunately, the best part about growing up in a strict Chrisitan household was that when I did make the wrong decision, my parents were very merciful and allowed me to learn from my mistakes in an environment where the consequences of a potentially harmful decision were minimized.

Despite the fact that I risked some serious “cool” points to obey and respect my parents’ wishes, I wouldn’t trade my childhood for the world. I did not grow up feeling limited by my parents’ guidelines. Instead, I chose to appreciate these rules and see how they have allowed me to grow into a caring, discerning, and (hopefully!) better person. I am eternally grateful that my parents cared enough about me to make difficult decisions and set rigid boundaries. It is extremely comforting to know that they were always looking out for me — even from the beginning.