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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Do you know where your child is?

Posted by Gary on March 15, 2008

1 Peter 1:13   "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. "

Sitting at the dinner table tonight and listening to my children talk the realization hits me that they spend much of their day in a world that is not real. Movies and video games take our children into a form of existence that is not real and it effects them profoundly. I am not speaking about imagination which can be a wonderful thing, I am talking about the inability to see and live in life as it is because of endless hours of entertainment and escape.

Later I am in another room and I can hear them talking with their grandfather who is here visiting about the military and war. I hear their statements based on video games and then hear their grandfather warning them that war is not like video games. After they go to bed I hear his comment of concern about the detachment from reality.

This generation is guilty of many things not the least of which is allowing and even encouraging our children to spend hours each day in false worlds filled with silliness, mindlessness, false portrayals of life and Godless philosophy. The truth is that this happens in the main because we are too lazy to be what parents are supposed to be, Godly and involved.

We are often asked if we know where our children are to remind us of their physical safety. Do we know where they are in terms of reality? Are we fostering a Godly mind in our children? Have we forgotten the Bible’s command to be sober minded? Have you taken a look around you lately at those 30 and under? If you pay attention, the scene is frightening.

How we need God’s help to be parents.

Comments

4 Responses to “Do you know where your child is?”
  1. Matthew French says:

    Dear Gary,

    This was a great post, especially the last paragraph. I get concerned and sometimes worried when I can’t find my daughter after church for five minutes but I feel like she’s safe when she watches Clifford.

    I should have far more faith in God to protect her and far less faith in the ability of images supplied by PBS to keep her out of trouble.

  2. Gary says:

    Dear Matt,

    How good to hear from you brother. We are humbled under our calling as parents aren’t we? “Who is sufficient for these things?”

    Our trust is that God’s grace goes before and comes behind our faulty parenting and we pray that He will raise us up to greater Godlines as parents to help us be what we should be as fathers and mothers.

    In the end we know we fall short but we thank God that underneath our children and us are the everlasting arms right?

  3. Alisha says:

    Hello Gary,

    I happened upon your blog about two weeks ago and have found it very interesting indeed. Sometimes I find myself encouraged, sometimes challenged, and inevitably I come away with something to really mull over.

    The truth of your statement that “[Children] spend much of their day in a world that is not real,” struck me, though not for the first time.

    I remember talking with a dear friend once, and her little girl had a new “toy:” some kind of hand-held computer-like “educational” game. Her daughter being older than mine by a couple years, and her opinion being one I respected, I asked if she placed any limitations on her daughter’s “screen time,” as we call it; essentially how much time is spent looking at a machine instead of living life. To my surprise, she was confused at what I meant.

    I tried to clarify by explaining how we try to limit our daughter’s screen time because we believe that visual (or virtual) “experience” isn’t really, and it certainly cannot compare with real experience. So rather than watching TV (we have no channels anyway) or spending time on the computer we play real games with each other, and go exploring and hiking on a regular basis, we make up stories and act them out, we read together, and we play – you know, with toys, not with a machine.

    Her response was pretty much a dismissing wave of her arm as she said, “Well, it’s an interactive game, you know.”

    In my naïveté, I thought she meant that the games on the machine were meant to be played by two people, probably parent and child or child and child. But when another friend’s child had the same game, and my daughter became interested in getting her own, I asked if I could borrow it to take a closer look.

    Evidently the word “interact” has changed meaning. No longer does it refer to two or more people or things, etc. that act and react to one another, or that have some effect on each other! I now know that interaction is not something that takes place between family members at a reunion, rather it is when a person uses a computer program that has been designed to respond to the user!

    So, even our “interaction” nowadays is not really real! By the time my daughter has grown up, my use of “interaction” may be completely obsolete, if it isn’t already.

    The scary part is, we’ve conditioned our children to be this way!

    You said, “This generation is guilty of many things not the least of which is allowing and even encouraging our children to spend hours each day in false worlds filled with silliness, mindlessness, false portrayals of life and Godless philosophy. The truth is that this happens in the main because we are too lazy to be what parents are supposed to be, Godly and involved.”

    Babies are born with a God-established “interaction interface” if you will… Babies don’t want machines or entertainment, they want their parents. They want attention and love and adventures and freedom to explore and rules to keep them from exploring things too dangerous for them! They want a variety of people at a variety of ages so they can observe and interact with them, learning by seeing and doing, finding out what it is to be human by being with humans.

    And we’ve stolen this away from them. We give them videos, movies, computer games, because if we can convince them early enough that it is these machines that they should be interacting with, we will be free from having to interact with our children when we would much prefer some time off. And it has worked marvelously! We see a generation coming into adulthood that would far more prefer to text message or e-mail than to lift up a phone and actually talk, or go over for a visit, or – woe betide! – actually write a letter… with paper… and a pen… (Can you remember what they are?)

    Honestly, I seached high and low last Christmas to find some pretty Christmas writing paper, preferably lined as I write crooked without, and do you know what I discovered? 8.5 x 11, beautifully decorated, computer paper! I went to Hallmark, that bastion of lovely stationary, and they had NONE! They had lots of Christmas computer papers, rows full of Christmas cards, but not one letter-writing pad!

    Hmm… I seem to have geared off-course a bit here. My ramblings often do that, heedless of time or space.

    At any rate, thank you for the marvelous blog, and thank you for writing about our responsibility as parents to provide a real life for our children, not a virtual one!

    ~Alisha

  4. Gary says:

    Dear Alisha,

    Thanks for your encouraging comments. All I can say is that as I read what I wrote I know it to be true but also understand that it is only by God’s grace that we can be the parents we should be.

    I checked out your Blog and saw the commitment you have to teaching your child, good for you.

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