Tag Archives: parenthood

Living a Constructive Life in a Destructive World.

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Living a Constructive Life in a Destructive World.

A little over a week ago, my husband suggested we take away ALL screens – iPad, phones, computer, tv’s- from our kids. At first I wondered if he was attempting to punish ME {haha} But, I jumped on board and the kids have been screen free for NINE days. (Let me start by saying we have always encouraged their creative side and prior to the screen fast limited screen time BUT it was still too much for them) Our original goal was seven days but I had to keep going because the benefits and LIFE I was seeing happen before my eyes was mind-blowing. Not rocket science at all but just a “screen free world”, something we could ALL use more of.

 

I believe moderation is key and will be the ultimate goal but in a technology driven world we have forgotten to stop, look and LIVE. In this blog, I’m going to share some of the changes I saw in our hearts, in our minds and in our home.

 

First off, It’s not fair for me to start with the changes I noticed in my children when part of the REAL issue was ME! It’s a heart and mind issue. Mindsets have developed over the years to be “what’s in it for me” instead of “what’s in it for YOU” or “how can I serve you”. This is because our very society has gotten far away from God and Biblical standards. As a result we see many young families struggling to float and constantly sinking. We see more behavioral issues. We see children with knowledge of things in life that they have no business knowing. We see more sleep disturbances. We see a decrease in compassion. We see a decrease in “a servant’s heart”. We see a decrease in social interaction outside of the virtual world. We see a decrease in church attendance because “iPad church” has become acceptable. Am I saying God hates technology or that the Bible forbids it? No. But it has become a real distraction and a real pacifier.

 

Technology has enabled parents to have more “free time” than ever before! I have tears in my eyes as I even type this out because I too can say I have been guilty to handoff an iPad or phone to have “just one more moment of me time”…to have “just 5 more minutes in the shower”…to have “just 30 minutes of peace and quiet in the kitchen as I prepare dinner”, “just 20 minutes so I can fold and put away the laundry” or how about (because my intentions are to be real and transparent) – to have “just 30-45 more minutes on my OWN screen”  It’s a TRAP that keeps the clock ticking – minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, year after year and it MUST stop – for my household. I often realize I don’t have any fruit to be shown from the “just one more’s….” I end up feeling guilty. I end up feeling defeated. I end up feeling frustrated. These are NOT fruits of the Spirit.

 

Secondly, Technology has enabled our children to be monitored by a device that can be destructive versus a reality that is constructive. We have allowed a mindless device to become the wheels that churn our children’s thoughts. We have allowed the voice of the unknown to become their “reality”. We have allowed parental freedom to reign over parental control. Of course all YouTube Kids videos are age appropriate – right? Wrong! The day that I began to trust the voice deep inside of me versus the reviews of the world I quickly realized that many of these “harmless toy reviews” are shifting our children’s thinking on bigger topics. Things such a homosexuality, things such a violence, things such as sex, things such as religion. Many “children’s sites” have become the platform for “all” the voices to be heard. I know the ONE voice they should hear and the ONE who never fails us and the ONE in whom they can trust, so why am I ok with the world pushing off their agendas on my innocent children?

 

Thirdly, I’ve noticed that the HOME LIFE in families has become increasingly dysfunctional. Kid’s not sleeping well, kid’s not eating well, kid’s not listening, kid’s having behavioral issues, kid’s lacking in compassion, kid’s lacking in social skills, kid’s lacking in awareness. Is this all technology’s fault? No – but with no boundaries come many consequences. It’s basically an endless cycle. Your kid is acting out due to the very thing you are “pacifying” them with. Our children actually THRIVE off of boundaries. God has given us as His children boundaries and we thrive and flourish within them but take us out of the “fence” and we go crazy. I say “crazy” because I have actually seen my husband pull in from work and want to run out the door because my own kids have been just that for a day – crazy. We’ve all had those days right? And it’s because I gave them a “field” too large to roam in. One that their mind’s are not able to handle. One that stimulates them more than they can process. One that causes them to “shut down” once the device is taken away.

 

Since we have been on this screen fast my children are THINKING more clearly. They do not seem pre-occupied but they are alert, refreshed and engaging with reality more.They are being creative – painting, drawing, coloring, creating something out of nothing. I’ve found tents and hideouts being built-in corners of the rooms and I have found my son reading without me instructing him to do so. I have been “ok” with them getting bored because they are learning to “pacify” themselves with creative outlets versus staring at a screen and getting lost.

 

I have gotten full nights of sleep because my KIDS ARE SLEEPING ALL NIGHT. My husband was shocked the other night because my son climbed up onto his top bunk and said “Shhh I’m trying to go to bed” because his little brain was literally ready for rest – he had put in a FULL day of playing, learning, contributing and engaging in reality. He did not spend an hour or two on mindless idleness that leads to frequent wake up calls at night etc because I am CONVINCED that too much technology interrupts the sleep cycle. Before this “technology fast” my six-year-old son was waking up at least two times per night EVERY NIGHT – for unknown reasons. It’s like his mind was playing “catch up” from the information overload.

 

Thankfully my children don’t lack in the socialization department. They are quiet outspoken and don’t meet strangers BUT since the technology fast they have become INTENTIONAL with conversations. Meaningful conversation and asking more in-depth questions about what we are studying or just deeper questions about life in general. At times, these questions can be challenging (and annoying) if honest for parents and I think society has allowed us to clam up and just hand a device when our children become “too vocal” but LET THEM BE HEARD. If they don’t feel like you are listening now with the small things, how can we expect them to come to us later when it’s the BIG things. In the past, I have been guilty of giving my phone to my child in the buggy so they are “seen not heard” Once again, a pacifier to make my life easier. A way for me to escape mom duties for just a few more minutes. They aren’t fully grown adults and they are going to say funny things or even super embarrassing things at times but let them be teachable moments instead of silencing them with a screen.

 

During this fast, I reflected on my very own childhood. I grew up in a home FULL of intentional conversation, a LOT of outdoor playtime, plenty of crafts, chores and cooking with mom in the kitchen. My parents were ok with me being bored and would encourage me to fix that problem…on my own. What has happened from then to now? What has changed? Why do we as parents find it acceptable to create a “numb” environment for our children. Why are behavioral issues on the rise? Why is childhood anxiety/depression on a high? Why do we see parents staying up LATE “waiting” for their children to fall asleep?

 

After thinking about these things, I once again, feel it is because society has totally become *focused on self* instead of focused on others. In order for our children to thrive and develop they need REAL LIFE encounters and interactions. They need discipline and boundaries. They need to be free to express emotions and yes even have the occasional meltdown run it’s  course without silencing them with a device. I’ve found that when my kids have too much energy stored up (due it idleness) it reflects in poor behavior. Think about adults who deal with “cabin fever” during winter – just needing to get OUT. Same principle for littles – Let them run a few laps outside around the house and I bet it will quickly be resolved. Teach them life skills by allowing them in the kitchen. Have them complete chores. Of course it will be a little messy but it’s hard to learn a skill without practicing – and practice is messy! Baseball players head to the field with white pants and come home with brown and green stains all over them. Parenting is full of messy moments and it is OK.

 

Earlier, I mentioned moderation was our ultimate goal. Is technology bad? NO. We love it in our home but learned that it needed to be scaled back…a lot! For myself, my husband and my children. Technology offers many benefits and is what we will be using it for from here on out. Educational apps that correlate with our homeschool lessons, tv shows that my children can learn from but enjoy, a way for my husband and I to stay connected to beautiful friends and family all over, a way to share our faith with others but ALL within moderation. Like thirty minutes a day for the kids. I cannot expect something from my children that I myself cannot demonstrate. OUCH. That thought hit me hard. That’s when I realized it was more than a technology issue…it’s a heart issue. I can’t expect gentleness, patience, kindness, obedience ______ etc unless I too display it. It’s very hypocritical and something that “our millennial generation” doesn’t do well with but yet …. here we are.

 

In conclusion, I’m SO thankful that we went through this journey and I encourage each and every parent to do so. Maybe technology doesn’t “seem” to be the root issue in your home. I too at one point didn’t believe gluten, dairy and grains were a root issue with my health but once I totally removed them I quickly began to see a difference. I too believe you will see a difference with doing a “technology fast” with your children and then reintroducing it with new boundaries. **Warning **You will be tired sweet mama and daddy. You will answer MANY, MANY questions. You will play more with your children 🙂 and experience more JOY and LAUGHTER in your home. You will get full nights of rest or at least better rest time. You will notice behavior changes – good and bad. Anytime we detox something from our minds, bodies or spirits there is a “withdrawal” stage but it too shall pass. God has chosen YOU to be your child’s parent and He is calling us to a deeper level of commitment and relationship with them.

 

Father,

Thank You for allowing us to go through this eye-opening journey. Thank You for awakening me as a parent to see my own selfishness in this process. Thank You Father for helping me see through a new lens (Your lens) and not simply a smart phone camera. Keep me from falling into the selfish trap that the world has set up in every room. Help me be ok with the “messy moments” and help me to be focused on their development versus my freedom. Help me to put ON the mind of Christ and help me to be intentional in raising my children…YOUR children. Give me the strength to overcome the temptation of pacifying my child with a screen. Let me hear their questions and answer them with a grateful heart. Help me direct them to You to find ultimate fulfilment.

Amen!

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Dear Christian Millennials,

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Dear Christian Millennials,

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Dear Christian Millennials,

 

I’m one of you. I’m an organic eating, green cleaning, coffee addict who is an iPhone photographer. My social media pages are full of all things ; children, recipes and selfies captioned with an inspirational quote (because of course we wouldn’t want to come across vain for having a good hair day 😜)

Our world has labeled us as “tree hugging, self absorbent, spoiled adults” OUCH!

I want to speak to you from my heart – how I see our generation. Like or dislike – I’m sharing my opinion on the world and age group I live in.

First off, kudos to us for “waking up the farmer”. 💚 We have seen the effects of poor eating habits and environmental factors that have played a role in health issues with the ones we love. I’m glad we are “getting back to the basics” and simplifying our food choices. It thrills me to take my kids to the farmers market (with our reusable bags of course) and purchase fresh produce grown with love. Makes me feel good to sew into that farmer so they can in return provide healthy foods for my family.

I’m glad sunshine has become our medicine and fresh air our relaxer. Our generation has been known to have hobbies such as hiking, kayaking, fishing etc I’m glad we find comfort from natural elements – ones GOD created for us to enjoy and thrive in. ☀️🍂🍃🌻🌿🌾

It’s amazing to see young couples make the decision for the mother to stay home with their children and some even homeschool. (NOT saying any less of a working mother or school attending student as I have been in both scenarios myself) I’m just stating that homeschooling and stay home mothers are on the rise within the group. Millennial moms have also been labeled “traditional”

Men within this group of course are known for their beards and “man-buns” I personally think men have become more fashionable – that can be a plus right? My husband totally rocks the “beard look” They work hard – some more than one job. Millennial dads are known to be more involved with their children by coaching sports, playground days, helping out in the kitchen and of course those “giving mom a break” Saturday mornings.

Ok so there are many more positives I could name about our age group but I want to share some concerns of mine:

•We seek authority. See our parents were servants. I grew up a pastor’s daughter and saw time and time again my parents giving of themselves when they were just plain exhausted. They worked HARD (still do) and didn’t expect anything in return. They believed in sewing and planting seeds. They believed in investing in others without a paycheck.

Us? Not so much. We want promotion and we want it now. We don’t see the need to be faithful and committed but will do what it takes to get to the top – and fast. Many of us live the lifestyle our parents live NOW when they have worked 20 plus years to be where they are. We believe we deserve this and that we are “owed” and very much so entitled. These questions rush through our minds…What’s in it for me? If I give this of myself what will be given in return? We are living in the fast lane with no plan. We do what feels good and what gets quick results – this is what happened to our food industry and we have noticed how poisioness that was…why can’t we see how poisioness our pride is?

•We allow our children to behave much more freely than we were allowed. We are afraid that discipline will “corrupt” them when actually corruption is the result from lack of discipline

•We are apology seeking. Everyone else is always wrong…right? We don’t like to take ownership for our words OR actions but we are quick to be offended and expect a fluffy apology.

•On the contrary we are silent. Crazy huh? Boisterous and silent? This generation is all about human rights and equality to the point it clashes with our beliefs but we are silent. My son was born at 36 weeks and I was in tears to hear that certain individuals want to allow partial birth abortions! My son was breathing, eating and eliminating just fine and could much earlier than that! We are quick to make a stance but slow to provide the solution (preaching to myself there)

•We are a people that want unity and oneness in our world but yet afraid for our kids to use public restrooms. We talk about how disheartening it is that our children don’t salute the flag or start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance but don’t go the extra mile – afterall we can measure our concerns with the amount of “likes” we get on Facebook. WHY don’t we share our concerns? WHY don’t we make a stand? I believe it’s because we are numb to society. We have “allowed” things to happen and have misunderstood acceptance with chaos. We have been sold the lie that we are the generation of peace, acceptance and unity – we are puppets to those who are selling the lie.

•Our churches have become “fan clubs” seeking numbers, approval and Facebook blurbs versus hearts, disciples and followers. We speak what’s wanted and pleasing to the ear but shun what God says and where He stands with controversial situations. I read a wonderful book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman and I was amazed to see I fell within the “fan club” category more than the follower description. Eye opening!

God created boundaries within this world but we have ran away from them thus the result of chaos. We are “getting back to the basics” with so many other areas – why can’t we with our beliefs? Other religions are proudly making a stand but yet we can’t.

Our parents will be and some have already retired…we are the next leaders. We must stop caving into the thought that we can sit around a campfire and sing “kumbyah” God created man AND woman. He created us with strengths and weaknesses – on purpose. He created us with drive and ambition BUT to be used to chase after Him – and in return HE will direct and convict us on what to do – that’s not a maybe but a PROMISE. God will remember and fulfill His promises (not on our watch but His) because He IS faithful.

How long will we be silent? How long will we continue to be the media’s puppets? How long will we allow selfish ambitions to be our drive? How long will we allow our children and ourselves to be a “social experiment”? How long will we allow the church to dismiss controversies?

I do believe another •GOOD• point about “us” is that we tend to speak with love and are more conscious of others. We don’t need to mistake that with fear of taking a stand and voicing our beliefs, fears or concerns. Make a stand today. Live and love on purpose with GOD’s purpose. Millennials, our today is our children’s tomorrow – make it count!

I want to close with this quote by George Barna,

“We lack an active, clear belief system based on solid scriptural principals. Now more than ever, we need a way of life that brings us clarity in the chaos, peace in the problems and boldness in the bad times. We need a new way of seeing – A Biblical perspective that guides our every thought and action. So what is that Biblical perspective? It’s a way of dealing with the world so that we act like Jesus, 24/7 because we think like Jesus. We need to think like Jesus”

Love,
An awakened millennialIMG_0821.PNG(pictures from google images – no source notated)