As a child, summers were spent playing outside. We would leave the house after breakfast, play in the sprinkler, roller skate in the street, swing, running bare foot through the backyards of neighbors, drinking from the water hose, and getting an occasional treat from the ice cream truck. We would return home for dinner then escape outside again until the street lights came or we saw the first fireflies! If it rained we put together puzzles, made play-dough, and cut out paper dolls. Electronics were never an option, there weren't any.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NIV
I recently read a statement: "How you spend your time is more import than how you spend your money." Consider how you are spending your time with your children and grandchildren. What are you teaching them? The way you spend your time is demonstrating what is important to you. Is your phone or the TV a priority? or do you look for opportunities to spend time reading, painting and play cards? As the adult in your house, you are responsible for the younger members of your family. As guardians, we establish boundaries and limits for electronic use, language, and curfew or bedtime. We should also set boundaries for technology.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!" Matthew 6-7 NIV
Which prompts the question...What are we teaching our children? Are we giving them things that are causing them to stumble?
A girl at work was recounting a recent visit from her brother and his two daughters. The brother is actually an astrophysicist who never considered the importance of talking with his young girls. "What is the point? They're just children! They can't possibly understand." With his great intelligence, he was ignorant of the importance of dialogue, conversation, and play. Both daughters struggle in school with interpersonal relationships and fine motor skills and often grunt or scream to make themselves heard. They have grown up playing video games which has taught them to win at all costs. The oldest daughter had just returned from camp where she had not showered or brushed her hair for TEN DAYS! Her long, curly red hair was a matted mess that required a large amounts of detangler and patience to get her ponytail under control. My collegue, a nurse, was horrified at her niece's inability to handle simple hygiene and personal care at the age of ten years old.
Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. Job 34:2-4 NIV
A friend of mine teaches preschool and says that children are coming into her class not knowing how to hold a crayon or use scissors! It appears to be an increasingly harmful trend to allow young children to be so highly involved with technology and electronic devices that they are not learning essential skills that we probably take for granted. The Head Master of our school has encouraged the parents of her grammar school students to have a technology free summer. She has suggested putting away the iPads and turning off the TV. She has recommended reading, exploring the outdoors and prompting thoughtful conversations. May I also include cutting, drawing and painting to the list?
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV
There are a few weeks of summer remaining. I encourage you to turn off the TV, take your kids to the park, play on the swings, feed the ducks, them grab a snow cone on the way home. Talk to them about what interests them and things you want to ensure they know...and listen. Choose a project you can work on together: build a model airplane together or teach them to play crochet. Use your imagination, but turn off things with screens. You will enjoy your time together, build memories and who knows, you may be saving their eyesight at the same time.
Holy Abba Father God, we are sinful people who are often ignorant about what is right and true. As hard as we may try, we do not always make good decisions and often choose what is easy instead of what is best. We need You to transformed us by the renewing of our minds so we will be able to test and approve what is Your good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 2:12 NIV) Instruct us, O LORD, to do as what is best and teach our children to do the same for Your glory. Help us to spend our time in a way that honors You and benefits those around us. Amen