This week is about creating spaces.
Is it sufficient to simply monitor and mind what our children see, hear and are exposed to? Should we manage this for ourselves?
What kind of environment is healthy for us to grow and mature? Our childrent?
What kind of environment did God give us to grow in? How is it different than one that is filled with Technology?
In the book, there’s some discussion about creating an environment for family that inspires courage, creativity and takes the focus off of technology.
Here are some ideas to get things started:
Also, here’s a podcast that may be helpful to listen to – Tech-Smart Parenting – by Dr. Jolene Erlacher.
We’ll also be discussing some of the apps that are available for us to monitor and manage our online experiences.
One of the companies that produce an app, Bark, also has setup some sting operations for predators online. They’ve released a video and blog of how one of their operations went and it was one of the things that pushed me to lead this group.
Be forewarned, this video contains graphic and sexually oriented content used to raise awareness to the issues of online predators. You can find the article about this and and links to the video here: https://medium.com/@sloane_ryan/im-a-37-year-old-mom-i-spent-seven-days-online-as-an-11-year-old-girl-here-s-what-i-learned-9825e81c8e7d
Here are Just a few thoughts I jotted down as we’ve been studying this topic:
One of the things I think about often and I’ve struggled with it for years with my own children is when should I shelter them from the world and when is it important to let them engage. This changed with each stage of their development and continues today as they are grown and working on families themselves.
When we first brought my son home I was worried about exposing him to things that could hurt him, but I also wanted him to know things like the stove is hot and you can drown in water. As he matured he touched hot things and he experimented with water, but when is too soon and what things are gasoline or rushing streams? The choices are not always black and white and we must build trust with our children.
The level of trust is different for every child, but they will all test the boundaries to some extent to see how far is too far. I’ve seen a lot of parents treat children like adults and some other parents have wondered about me because of the extent I trusted my children. What’s often not seen is that trust is something that’s built and it depends on a healthy relationship. If we’re spending all of our time working and ignore our children, it’s easy to develop a false sense of trust in them and they will use the time without you to explore. Our level of trust in a child should be built on the volume of quality time we spend with them.
At the same time we build trust in the technology and how effective the tools we’re using are to control exposure to the “hot” things that can hurt ourselves and our children. With the rate of change, this can be difficult if not impossible to keep up with for most busy families. Technology is not necessarily the answer to technology.
Building an environment for our children that encourages them to think and engage with things other than technology is far more healthy and ultimately, reduces their need to depend on something that can easily lead them down a path that can do permanent or lasting damage to them.
God’s word tells us to fill our hearts with good things, not sinful things. As we raise children the temptation is to never let them experience sin. The problem I personally have with this is that it is sin that shows us we need a savior. It’s the fact that we can’t keep the law of God that shows us how much we need him. I’m not advocating for sending our children into places that cause them to sin, but it’s crucially important that we teach them what’s right and wrong. This is best done by sharing live together and showing them the solutions to the mistakes we’ve made rather than throwing them to the wolves and letting them fend for themselves. At some point though, they will be free to make their own choices and the more tools we’ve given them to make good choices and learn from their mistakes the better they will fair. They have to be able to acknowledge mistakes when they are made so giving them age appropriate hard things to do is a good thing.
Technology is meant to take the hardness in tasks away and inevitably leaves us void of the learning that gives us fulfilment and a sense of accomplishment. Instead if gives us quick, empty feelings of success that increase our dependence on it.
Here are some things to read and think about:
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ro 8:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Living in the Light
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Living by the Spirit’s Power
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eph 5:1–20). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Php 3:1–4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Php 4:8–9). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.