Parents, how many of you are frustrated with technology and how much time your kids spend on it? Did everyone raise their hand? As a father, I am constantly trying to monitor my kids’ use of technology and this includes not only what they are watching/doing but also how much time is spent on technology. It seems much of my parenting is consumed with this. Am I the only one who struggles in this area?
Several months ago during one of these frustrating moments, I had an idea. What if instead of fighting against technology, I chose to fight for my kids with technology? Now, before I share how this occurs, I am not advocating unlimited use of technology nor being naïve to the dangers of technology. However, I am choosing to redeem technology rather than hate it. I have done this in the following ways through texting or messaging:
- Pointing them to the Bible
Several times a week first thing in the morning, I will text my wife and all my kids a Scripture to read. Currently, we are reading through Mark. Here is what I say: Good morning! Love you all. Today, read Mark 8:27-30 and ask what does it teach us about God. Then later at the dinner table or during car rides to ballgames, I will ask their thoughts about the passage and what they learned about God.
- Pointing them to their true identity
If you know me, you know how important I believe our identity in Christ is to how we live and especially for our kids during their formative years. So, I will a couple of times each week send a text to everyone with a verse about their identity. They include a picture like this followed by these words: Good morning! Love you all. Today, live from your identity in Christ not for it. Remember what Jesus has DONE for us!
- Pointing them to Christ alone
Our kids live in a very different world than we did. They have tons of pressures in relationships, school, sports, church, and more. They are often stressed and worried and when they are like this, it is hard to get them to talk to us. So, when my kids won’t let me in, I use a short text to remind them that I love them no matter what. I tell them that I am praying for a specific need they have. Finally, I point them to Christ the One who died for their sins and offers forgiveness, the One who defeated death and Satan, the One who has power to answer their prayers about challenging situations, the One who obeyed perfectly because they can’t, the One who is with them always, the One who never leaves or forsakes them, the One who is for them not against them, and the One who cares about them, loves AND likes them and even delights in them.
Parenting in 2017 is hard! Can I get an Amen? Rather than focus on all that is wrong with technology, I have chosen to focus on how I can use technology to “build up” my kids. I hope this encourages you and I look forward to hearing your ideas as well.
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany
Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church