IN THIS MONTH'S cover feature, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann wrestles with one of the central dilemmas of parenting: the tension between protecting our children and empowering them for action. That tension is made more pointed, and the stakes elevated, by the crises we face—including, perhaps most urgently, climate change. Though I imagine that balance has been one of the more challenging aspects of raising children since the invention of parenthood.
Wylie-Kellermann reflects on the dragon in the New Testament book of Revelation, a frightening beast menacing a woman in labor, ready “to devour her child the moment she gave birth.” As I read the essay, another biblical metaphor came to mind, one that is central to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a program of religious formation used with young children, especially in Montessori education. At the heart of the catechesis is the story of the Good Shepherd, who in John’s gospel “lays down his life for the sheep.” The story doesn’t start with the wolf, but with the steadfast love of the Shepherd. From that firm foundation, the wolf—and the dragons that beset us—can be faced and, with God’s grace, vanquished. May it be so.