“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9.
WOW – what a mission for parents!! As a parent, we are given great responsibility in how we are to use our time with our children. Now the question comes, “Well, how are you doing with the time you spend with your kids?” We live in a distracted society, with so many demands on our time, but can anything be more important than helping our children to develop a deep love for the Lord and also a map and compass for their life?
“Screen time is consuming more and more of children’s lives. According to a Common Sense Media 2015 study of 2,600 young people, “American teens average about nine hours of entertainment media use and tweens (8-12-year-olds) use an average of about six hours worth of entertainment media daily.” Most estimates show that many relatively average young American males have played more than 14,000 hours of video games by the time they are 21 or 1.6 years!” (The Vanishing American Adult. Sasse, Ben. p.39)
So, as a parent, what are some of your goals for your children? Do you want them to become proficient in the latest and greatest video game or is there a GREATER purpose for our kids? And, if we truly want “better” for our kids, what are some practical steps for us to take, in order to help achieve some of these goals? May I suggest several:
- Read to your elementary children – everyday!
- Have your children make their beds before they leave for school – every day!
- Eat family dinner together as much as possible. I’d encourage each family to have a “technology basket”, so when it’s time for dinner – everyone’s phones go in the basket and you are free to enjoy some purposeful conversations. I’d encourage the use of the basket before your child goes to bed as well.
- Embrace “digital detox” opportunities as a family.
- Develop a list of books that you would like your children to read before the “graduate” elementary school, middle school, and high school.
- Find a shared exercise that you can participate as a family.
- Lead them in talking about “future tense” and who they are going to become.
- Model gratitude.
Our theme for this year is “GREATER” and I want to challenge each of us to embrace the opportunities to parent with a long term goal in view. Parent for the future. Parent for eternity! Continue to seek ways to build life changing experiences into your sons and daughters. Resist ease and push towards effectiveness. Your son and/or daughter will thank you when they are ready for their next leg of life!