Children and Technology: What is Appropriate?

In our technological society today, we pick up a child from school and give them a phone or tablet and we don’t have to engage with them, talk about their day or even speak to them. I am so guilty of this also. It’s so easy to do this, but what happens is we allow our children to learn from the internet. Do we really want our 3-16 year olds watching YouTube videos of whatever in the car or in their rooms all alone? Do we really know what they are watching? Do we want to have to re-teach simple skills to our children because we were too busy or to lazy?

I find myself in this web (literally) every Sunday afternoon. It’s my quiet time, my me time, time to myself. But when my grandson is finished playing outside with friends, he goes into his room to play video games and watch YouTube. I’m not saying YouTube is bad, I’m saying we need to monitor what our children watch and listen to. They can learn a lot from what they see on the TV, internet and video games, but not in a good way.

Then they bring this knowledge to school, church, shopping, etc. And it is not appropriate. They can’t separate from what they see because they haven’t been taught the difference. Some children believe that what is happening on TV is real or what is being said they can say. But they can’t!

Children need to see us, hear us and listen to us. We need to see our children, hear our children and listen to our children. The worst scenario is at a restaurant where mom and dad are on the phone and the children are bored because they aren’t doing anything. So they are fighting with the silverware, sugar, ketchup or whatever they can find and get reprimanded because they are making a mess.

Talk to your children, find out what they are interested in and let them know what you’re interested in. Have a conversation! Make up a story! Sing songs, make up songs, read a book together or tell a joke and laughed so hard you want to pee on yourself. Be all there! I know, that’s me too! My grandson and I have the most fun doing this at bedtime.   And what really funny is we are not getting ourselves sleepy by doing this. We are actually keeping ourselves awake, but we are having fun.

Find some way to connect to your child and keep them away from things you know are too old for them and things they spend way too much time on. The internet is an interesting and helpful place, but only if used appropriately.


Teach your child at home!

I know this message will step on some toes as well as mine. But this needs to be addressed.

Children are born with no knowledge of how to do anything but cry, eat, sleep, poop and pee. Everything else is taught! Not by the teacher, but by the parent. Your child learns everything from you and the people they are around, good or bad! The Bible, written a long time ago said, “Start off children on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Before leaving home to attend school, with exception to special needs, children should know how to sit in a chair and at the table, respect adults, eat with a spoon, treat others nicely, listen to adults, use the bathroom by themselves, wash their hands, put on their clothes, say please and thank you, maybe “Yes, mam” and “No, mam” or (Sir), wait their turn, and clean up after themselves. This only names a few.

I teach and some kids can’t do these things. A teacher has more than just your child in their class. They have a lot of children who also cannot do these things. Our job is to enhance skills already taught by the parent. Not to teach skills that should be taught at home.

Think about the way you were taught! Someone, before you came to school, taught you how to do these things and more. No one comes to school not knowing how to walk unless there is a medical issue.   Teaching basic need skills are taught by parents from babies all the way to forever.   You will know what your child is learning by what you are teaching them. I know what the children in my class can and cannot do. I know what they need and don’t need. I’ve only had them for 6 months. You have your kids forever, do you know what they know or don’t know? Do you know what they need and don’t need?

A child does not know how to do anything unless they are taught, good things or bad things. What we teach them is what they give back. What someone else teaches them is what they give back. Words, phases, gestures, body language, etc. are taught to them. They see and they do, they hear and they say, we act and they react. If something we do or say or act is wrong or inappropriate, we have to let them know it’s wrong and why. We can’t just laugh it off or ignore it. It will continue until they are taught it’s wrong. We don’t want it to be too late.

Our kids will one day be adults who live on their own and have jobs. What will we see then? Young adults with manners, integrity, honor and respect or rude, jobless, live at home, rebellious children. I chose to believe that wrong can be made right, but it takes more than just the one teacher in a classroom full of children to set the record straight.

As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child (African Proverb) that means it takes everyone!

Separated by Choice

I’ve been thinking a lot today about a friend of mine. Her birthday is this month and I really wish I could tell her Happy Birthday, send her a card or talk to her.

We were best friends in high school. We did everything together. We had a little click of friends who hung out, shared secrets, wrote notes (no cell phones), laughed, cried and loved one another. We shared everything, except boyfriends of course.

When my best friend started dating this one dude, she spent all her time with him. I hardly saw her. It was very frustrating and it made me mad. First of all, I didn’t like him. He didn’t treat her the way I thought she should be treated. Then after I went off the college or maybe the summer before (I can’t remember), she decided to marry him. Ugghhh!!!   I just knew this was bad news! She had her whole life ahead of her. I just knew she was making a mistake! I would show her!

I was invited to the wedding, but I didn’t go. I didn’t go!!! I didn’t show up!!! I was a no-show to my best friend’s wedding! My friend for years, the one who held my secrets, the one who knew me best!

What was I thinking! Maybe being 18 years of age doesn’t make me smartest person, obviously, so making the best life choices wasn’t in the cards for me. It was a choice I made, which caused me to lose my best friend. A bad choice!

Years passed and I got a card from her. She was getting remarried. I went to that one. I shared it with her, hugged her and loved on her. But it wasn’t the same. I had made a choice to miss so much from before that sharing this one with her, though it was great and glad that she thought of me, I couldn’t help but feel guilty, and unforgiven!  I believe she had forgiven me and still loved me, but I had not forgiven myself. Not until today!

The enemy will bring things to the forefront of our minds, especially things from the past. Things we didn’t know we needed to forgive ourselves for. I have been carrying this guilt for so many years, guilt that was forgiven by my best friend and nailed to the cross of my Savior. Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Today, I would like to have a relationship with her. I know we can’t go back to the past, but we could aim for the future. If I could talk with her, I would tell her, “I’m so sorry, I should have been there for you no matter what my feelings were. I have loved you from the beginning of our friendship years ago. I don’t know what I can do to retrieve our friendship, but I would do it! I miss you!” LYLAS (DHC)

I have learned from this mistake to:

  1. Always forgive yourself
  2. Always make amends.
  3. Always believe that things can change.

At the end of the day, I know that I have changed and I’m forgiven! Even if we never have share a friendship again, I know that I was blessed to have known her and have her in my life!

It’s My Pleasure to Serve You!

I work at Chick-fil-a in Belmont, NC. I have only been working there a few months. I really enjoy serving the people who come into our restaurant. But what I enjoy the most is standing side-by-side with awesome young people who enjoy serving with me.

These young people serve with their whole heart. They lead with integrity and truth. They work beside you and with you, but never over you. They are willing to step into a leadership role as well as a non-leadership role. They are not afraid of hard work. They have goals and dreams. They prove that when given a chance anyone can do anything. They are true leaders.

I get the opportunity to serve alongside these fine young people every weekend. I am amazed when I find out that they are just high school and college students. It warms my heart to know that a company respects and acknowledges young people and lets them prove themselves to be the leaders they are. I am respected as a person, but treated as a team player and friend. I am never treated as just a worker, I am respected and honored!

This gives me hope for future generations because I am also a Pre-K Teacher. I see what “littles” can become and do with their lives. I see where dedication and perseverance can lead. I “get to” help mold respect and integrity into their lives to become one of those young people Chick-fil-a would be proud to have on their team. I get to give hope through faith that God has a hand in this company and in the lives of everyone that works there and comes in contact with our team.

Just know that when you come into our Chick-fil-a in Belmont, NC, you will be loved, cared for, shown compassion and respect because we give the best customer service there is. We go above and beyond because that’s what God does. He takes care of his people! Come by soon, it will be my pleasure to serve you!

Lola Brooks, Author of You Are Wonderfully and Beautifully Made

It’s not me, it’s you!

Valentine’s Day can be thrilling and scary! Thrilling if you have someone to share it with and scary if you don’t. But I’m here to tell you that your Valentine’s Day can be thrilling whether you have someone to share it with or not.

Valentine’s Day isn’t you getting something from someone; it’s you giving to someone. St. Valentine’s didn’t get something from the people came in contact with, he gave them something. Love isn’t about what can I get, it’s about what I can give. When you don’t have someone to share this day with you feel lonely, insecure, unloved, ugly and unwanted; I know I’ve been there. I’ve been single for 16 years and felt like it, most of my married life. I have felt this way for many years. But this year, I realized it’s not about me. It’s not about my feelings and insecurities. I don’t have to feel this way. The devil made me do it! He makes me feel this way, not love!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Love will not fail you if you use it well. You don’t love to get something, you love to give something. You are wonderfully and beautifully made. God made you out of love; his love for you! He knew you would be this exciting, creative, beautiful, prosperous, loving, fruitful, caring person. He knew because he created you!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

You are not mistake; you were made on purpose for a purpose. You are not unloved; God loves you and will give the desires of you heart.   You are not ugly; you are wonderfully and beautifully made. You are not unwanted, God wants and loves you! Be free, my friend, of the scariness of Valentine’s Day! Get a box of Valentine cards or candy and share it with your neighborhood or take it to a Nursing home/Retirement home. Invite a neighbor or someone from work/church to have dinner with you. Spend time loving on your kids and take them out all dressed up! Give back, pay it forward. The love you’re looking for doesn’t come from someone else; it comes from you and what God has placed inside of you! Share that love with others and you will forget all about the scariness of Valentine’s Day.

Remember, It not about me, it’s about you!

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Genesis 2:18-25

During a sermon at church Sunday, my pastor, Richard Myers, preached this message, Blood, Sweat and Tears. It is a sermon series about relationships. Sunday’s message was about marriage, but not being married, I saw it a different way. But for your benefit, you can insert the word marriage where I inserted children/parents.

Being a parent is hard work. You can’t have a kid and expect it to be easy peasy because it is not. It will be fun and interesting, but never easy! So while I was listening to this message I realized that after all these years, I haven’t done such a bad job! They are not dead and I’m not dead. We survived! I mean, it’s not like they come with an instruction book! But there were things I could’ve done different or even should’ve. With this new found knowledge based on the bible, I had a second chance to teach my young adult children and my grandson what I had missed.

  1. I won’t act like I am single or have no children. We have to shift our perspective from “Me” to “We”. There’s no room for “Me” when you have children. Ask yourself, how will this impact my children? That’s a tough question. I know I should do this when I watch TV. (Hawaii five-0 and Bones) I know my grandson shouldn’t see shooting and sometimes hear a curse word or see bloody bodies, etc. Maybe I could watch them when he goes to sleep and watch TV or play video games with him. “Just because we are in the same house doesn’t mean we are spending time together”, my daughter use to say; a very wise girl.
  2. I need to show action not just intention. Work on your relationship with your children. Your relationship with your children is a work in progress. Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! Let me repeat that! Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! This means things that are good and bad for them. We can’t expect our children to know what we mean when we say, “Pick up your toys”, when we haven’t shown them how to do it. They need your help with everything! I mean EVERYTHING! Don’t wait until they get to school and say,” Let the Teacher teach them!” Their first teacher is you and should be YOU! Remember, whatever they learn, they learn from YOU first! So be careful, they repeat words, actions, patterns and attitudes. When we ask them, “Where did you learn that from?” We immediately want to blame someone, but when they say,”You, mom or dad” we have to forgive ourselves, let our children know we make mistakes and try to do better.
  3. Every good relationship deserves encouraging words. Try this: If you think of something good about your children; say it out loud and to them, even to others while in front of them. As a Teacher, I correct kids all day, every day. I also need to remember to encourage my students by looking for ways to praise them; as well as my own kids and grandson at home. It’s really hard to see the positive and praise it, when you can’t look past the negative. I need to do better at this. When I pray, I want God to change my children and students, but God wants to change me. I can’t change them, but I can change me! I should be the best I can be, do the best I can and let God do the rest!
  4. Forgiveness is not fault-finding. Stop keeping a record of what your children do wrong and start keeping a record of what they are doing right. Don’t bring up past things. Keep the past in the past. We don’t like it when our children bring up what we promised to do and didn’t do, again. Our children don’t like to be reminded of their wrongs either. We all have feelings, the same feelings. What hurts us hurts them. When God forgives us of our sin, it’s gone, never to be known again. He doesn’t bring it back up every time we ask for his forgiveness for the same thing or a different thing. It doesn’t exist! We should follow our Heavenly Father’s example. Forgive and Forget. A new day, a new start! A do-over! Things change when you’re a parent, as they should.  Healthy parenting consistently lives with an attitude of forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:32)

Being a parent has been the most scary, rewarding, hard, loving, maddening, meaningful journey of my life. Having a healthy and satisfying relationship with my children has been an on-going battle, but one I’m willing to fight! Keep pushing, keep pounding, keep loving and learning. Do your very best and let God do the rest! You are a GREAT PARENT!