It seems I just can’t drift away from this topic. Once again I find myself engrossed by the influence of technology in our youth. My last Blog was to highlight the need for parents to sit up and take notice of the dangerous conditions that exist in our culture. The potential for our children to slip into a digital swamp of useless and potentially dangerous ground is real. As parents who want to follow the biblical mandate to raise our children in the way they should go, we must be vigilant at all times.
Parenting is an upstream battle. You must paddle constantly. If you slow down or stop paddling you will go backwards, and your children will be left without the necessary mature oversight. Their whims and desires will be deferred to the current amoral culture. Effective use of our time is the biggest weapon to combat these influences. We must actively be a part of our children’s daily lives, guiding and directing them on how to handle their use of technology. This may seem difficult to do. It would be so much easier to depend on giving them screen time to keep them busy so we can get some alone time at the end of our day.
Last week, numerous PCS parents attended the digital seminar hosted by C4 Church, presented by Paul Robertson from Youth Unlimited (Toronto).
The seminar gave some practical steps to manage the electronic footprint in our homes. I was able to obtain a copy of the practical response to this issue. Below, I have outlined just a few of them that you might be able to use in your home;
1) Pray constantly for your child because only the Holy Spirit can change their heart.
2) Don’t overly protect your child from pain and failure - it builds character.
3) Use and set digital boundaries with software programs such as Kidswifi and Digital Covenant.
4) Create digital free zones in your home, especially the dinner table.
5) Use hard copies of the Bible at church and home instead of your device.
6) Model the tech habits you expect from your child.
7) Keep them off phones and data packages as long as possible. It won’t harm them.
8) If they want social media sign them up from your computer. But do they really need it?
9) No one sleeps with a screen of any type in their room. Chargers are in the parents bedroom.
10) Encourage relationships. Kids with better social skills do better in life.
11) Have your child sign a digital contract and emphasize the need to keep their word.
12) Teach them that technology is a tool not a toy.
13) Boredom is your friend. They will figure out how to live without screens by engaging in other activities.
14) Go screenless when out with the family. Life will not collapse for a few hours.
15) Encourage time in nature and outdoor play.
16) Don’t believe the lie that if your child isn’t tech savvy they won’t survive the world. Teach the skills they will need for a high-tech future - decision making, time management, hard work and relational skills.
So do any of these resonate with you? Are there some you need to implement right now. I pray that you will have the strength to practice them right away and chart a new direction for your family. Never forget that YOU are the parent and God is holding YOU responsible for these decisions. Whining and complaining by your child is not the issue. Rather, what is God calling you to do in your family?
If you missed the seminar, you can still access a video of the evening here (Pro Tip: The main session starts at the 22 minute mark).
Be in the Word.
On September 11, 2007, I heard the words that would change the rest of my life. The doctor at the hospital announced, “Mr. Ogborne, you have had a heart attack”. I can still remember the room. I can still remember that there were three people in there, and it became very cold.
It goes without saying, that when you hear your heart has a defect, there is an uncertainty that starts to pierce your very being. I thank God for the comfort he gave me through friends and colleagues. However, as I lay in the hospital, the comfort that gave me the most peace was God’s Word. I started to search all the verses that talked about the heart. I finally settled on a verse that was my rock during this time, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Deut. 6:5).
It was the comfort I needed, because it is from the heart that our obedience flows. It is from the heart that a desire to do God’s will starts, and it is from the heart that we follow His commands for a successful life.
So where am I going with this, you might ask? I believe our children are facing a heart attack every day.
The world around them is trying to weaken their heart, so that it will not respond to the ability to do good deeds which bring glory to their heavenly Father. As parents and educators, we try to instill in these young lives a desire to do good. We help them to obey the rules, so that their heart will respond to the ultimate authority of God’s Word.
As the technology of this world saturates their lives, younger and younger children are having to make heart decisions about their life. There are not enough guidelines and rules that can be imposed to guarantee that your child will not indulge in inappropriate behaviour. As a school, we filter the internet at three different levels. Yet we still see the heart decisions of students that violate the very covenant that they have signed with us, as to online behaviour. It is true. Good students are making poor choices. They have a defect in their hearts called “sin”.
As parents, you need to be more than diligent. You need to be actively thwarting the culture of social media and entitlement to the possession of electronics, by upgrading your technological knowledge and building a plan to address its use in your home. To accurately assess and guide your child’s journey, you need to know the direction and terrain that they will encounter. Last year, PCS attempted to bring in a speaker to talk about this very topic. Unfortunately, times and dates did not gel. As we planned to do it this year, we were made aware of a similar seminar being offered through Carruthers Creek Community Church (C4).
In order to train your child, you must also be trained. I would encourage all parents to attend. Will having this knowledge solve their heart issue? No, but it will help you guide your child away from the moral pitfalls that could create habits that will damage their heart even more. If your first thought is that you should go, don’t hesitate. RSVP and make it happen. It’s too important to leave it for another time.
Ultimately, all the rules in the world will not solve this. It’s a matter of the heart. As my mom used to say to me over and over, “a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”. We need to be fervently praying for the Lord to grab their heart and give it the desire to follow Him.
Be blessed and strengthened on your journey.
I saw an outdoor sign this past week that flashed; “Dear New Years resolutions; it was fun while it lasted!” This was posted January 5th. It seems there is a never ending litany of jokes around these type of resolutions. Good intentions but no will power.
But if we could set aside the humour aspect for a moment, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to set a reasonable goal for your household that would become imbedded into the very fabric or DNA of your home. Does everyone know what it means to be a part of your home and what priorities are important?
I would like to quote from an instagram account that I follow (www.instagram.com/mycanadianhome) regarding your home;
“Have you ever taken the time to think about how you want your family to feel in your home? What do you want your home to be filled with? I’m talking about setting a home philosophy.”
The intentionality of these two questions should make us stop and ponder the essence of our homes. Is our home filled with a safety, love, acceptance, encouragement, discipline and spiritual direction? Does it inspire and build up young lives to excell and devote themselves to being children of godly character? Do parents role model these actions to each other and to their children? What choices need to be made to secure these vital aspects of our home life?
This is no small feat. The world is steadily eroding the family role of raising young adults. I read a quote that basically said when you are at home, be with those who are at home. In other words, interact, talk, play and otherwise engage your family members. Too many times it can be family members all separated into their own rooms doing their own thing. Everyone is home but not being a family.
A challenging but easy reading book is “Raising Men Not Boys” by Mike Fabarez. The back cover has the statement “How to raise a godly man not a full grown boy.” The principles in this book can easily be extrapolated for young women as well.
Along those lines of a family philosophy, have you considered the potential for goal setting as a family? Is everyone aware of each others goals? Can we create some shared goals as a family that show respect and care for each other’s ideas or desires? A good friend of ours, Brett Ullman, wrote a blog post on one idea that could help make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Have you ever considered holding an Annual Family Meeting? Businesses run them to help set the course of the company and inform everyone of what they hope to accomplish. Brett’s blog introduces the concept and explains the basics of how to hold one. https://www.brettullman.com/how-to-have-a-yearly-family-meeting/
Day by day, as the year progresses, I pray that your home will be a respite from the pressures of the world and a true godly environment where children can be nurtured “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)
This has been an unusually busy season for me as I have gone back to teaching part time. Some of my extra office activities have been set aside to make this happen. One such item is my bi-weekly blog. For the "thousands" that read it and enjoy it, all I can say is "I'll be Back" (Terminator movie voice over)
Meanwhile, I'll search the internet for timely and poignant videos and articles that accentuate what we are doing here at PCS. These posts will be for your enjoyment and education. I've already lined up a video series through Right Now Media. If your not a member, please email me and I can put you on the school's account.
To start this new series off, I've given you a link to a video called Failure or Failing . This continues the genra of parents who are overbearing and don't allow their children to fail.
Blessings to you and your family this most special time of the year. Jesus came to be a ransom for our sins! That is the greatest gift of all.
By A.J. Juliani
My daughter lowered her eyes, looked at me, and said, "I can't do it."
I looked back and asked her again to put one foot on the board, push off with her other foot, and then put that foot on the board when she was moving.
She was being a typical six-year-old who was trying to learn how to ride a skateboard.
"No", she said. "I'm not doing this anymore. Can you push me?"
It would have been easy for me to help her get both feet on the board and give her a push to get her started. But I had already done that, and now after guiding her through the process (and almost falling myself while demonstrating) it was time for her to keep trying if she wanted to make any progress.
I told her "no" and asked for her to try again, this time focusing on getting a good push so she could be moving when she put her foot back on the board.
She was visibly upset. She knew that I could help her out. I knew that I could help her out. But in her mind, she didn't see the bigger picture. She didn't realize that only by trying (and failing) herself, would she ever be able to ride a skateboard without my help.
I wrote about this scene about my house a few years ago on the blog, and still see it happening everyday with my own kids and our students (and adults) at school.
In this video (yep, I made another one...still scary, but I'm going to keep trying it!) I share the big difference between "Fail-URE and Fail-ING". We look at how skateboarding can be the perfect example of what growth mindset should look like in and out of the classroom.
Thanks for your support on the first video, it made me want to make another one!