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.


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!