Truth, Time & Technology
In my previous blog, I shared our desire for our ministry to help everyone in the family pursue God and move towards each other. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could help parents to model a healthy relationship with God and healthy marriages, and we could help kids to pursue their siblings and parents? I call this the “engaged life.”
Unfortunately, most families don’t live in the reality of everyone in the family engaging with God and each other (including my own). Are there days that happens? Thankfully, there are! But on the days when it doesn’t happen, what gets in the way? As my 13-year-old daughter, Megan, likes to say…the answer for why something has gone wrong is “sin.” While that’s a theologically correct answer, it’s not quite specific enough to be helpful.
I think there are at least three obstacles to families living an engaged life together. As we launch our ministry, I want to briefly identify and explain these three obstacles. In my future blogs, I’ll explain how our new ministry can help your family with each of these obstacles.
Obstacle # 1: An absence of Biblical Truth understood and lived out at home.
Obstacle # 2: A shortage of quality time together as a family.
Obstacle # 3: An abuse and misuse of technology.
Obstacle # 1: Truth
In most families, the Bible isn’t something that is talked about much at home. I believe there is an absence of Biblical truth lived out in most homes, even in Christian homes. As the family understands and lives out truth at home, the family changes. In my years as a Youth Pastor, I challenged students to apply what I was teaching at home before other places. Why? At home, we know which buttons to push to drive our parents or siblings crazy, so practicing self-control or patience or forgiveness, will be more difficult at home. It will also yield the greatest results when those Biblical truths and godly characteristics are applied to our closest relationships. If we can help families to read, discuss, and apply the Bible to their choices and relationships as a family, we are setting them up to succeed.
Obstacle # 2: Time
A mentor of mine once said “I think quality time is a myth. Quality time is an accident that happens in the midst of quantity time.” I think he’s right! Quality time happens when we spend time together. There’s just something magical when you’re on a vacation at dinner, and one child says something so off the wall that mom shoots spaghetti out of her nose! Those moments are cemented in our brains, for better or worse. It’s the fleeting moments in our time together when authentic conversations happen more easily, walls come down and we slow down enough to pay attention to each other. They are beautiful times, and we all want them to happen more often. So how do we do that?
It starts by spending intentional time together. We can’t manufacture more hours in the day, but we can prioritize the hours we have. We can put time on the calendar to do things together, to go places together, to simply be with each other. Your favorite TV show may be “on demand”, but healthy relationships are not. They take time, love, nurturing, and intentionality.
Obstacle # 3: Technology
I have never met a parent who felt they had it figured out when it comes to their kids and technology. As a parent myself, I don’t have it totally nailed. I’m always learning. Our culture promotes incredibly unhealthy and harmful ways to use technology, and everyone in the family is suffering from it. Whether it’s screen addiction, depression from the comparison game that is social media, pornography addiction, etc…everyone in your family is constantly tempted to misuse and abuse technology. However, the answer isn’t to move to the country and become Amish. We must be intentional about addressing this topic with our kids, being constant learners, and modeling healthy boundaries as parents. I have encountered parents on both ends of the spectrum on this topic, and unfortunately, I’ve found that most parents have good intentions, but fail to take action. Our hope is to equip parents with the knowledge and tools to make their home a safe for their kids in this area, and to help parents teach their kids how to engage with technology in a way that is full of integrity and honors the Lord.