Evaluating our parenting efforts is important. In fact, it should be done on a very regular basis. The new year just seems like a great time for setting goals and then we can measure progress regularly.
My oldest daughter is 18. When she was a sweet, tiny baby in diapers, I knew there would be a lot of decisions that my husband and I would have to make. I am so thankful for having the Lord to rely on and seek wisdom from. I seriously never even imagined this technical, digital world that we would all be immersed in – that my kids would grow up thinking as completely normal.
While I consider myself somewhat technically savvy, it’s still something that I’m learning. For the teens and younger, it seems to be something they are breathing. I’m sure some of you know what I mean.
The need for the Word of God
As we all know, there is no manual written for parenting, although some have done a fairly good job of trying and being helpful. Even though times have changed , the Word of God is still the best place to go for wisdom in making decisions for raising our children.
There’s no mention of cell phones and social media in the Bible you say? Well no. But there are certainly important truths and guidelines about how we spend our time and resources. There is much focus on what we should fill our minds with, who we should set our affections on, what kind of treasures we should be seeking.
Tools for God’s glory
The good news is that the answer is not necessarily to ban all things digital in order to pursue the ways of the Lord (although it may be necessary for some who have specific struggles). We can use these tools for the glory of the Lord and we can teach our children how to do this as well.
Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use in edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Here it is in the NLT:
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
No matter what translation you look it up in, the meaning is clear. Could it be that people think typing posts into Facebook or other social media are an exception? This got me thinking about my own children. In the past I have been involved in co-hosting a Facebook and the Family Webinar.
It made me take a closer look at my own family and what my conversations have been with my kids about the use of Facebook. It made me realize a few things:
1. I need to specifically teach them that typing out words on a computer or cell phone is in essence the exact same thing as saying the words out loud. When the KJV says “proceed out of your mouth” it could mean “flow through your fingertips” too! It is a reflection of what is in your heart. Matthew 12:34b says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
2. I need to encourage my family to be proactive in posting things that are encouraging to other believers. While I want my kids to be themselves, which sometimes includes silliness, the Bible does instruct us to “ be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
3. I should encourage my family to memorize Scripture. When I see the bad language on the internet, that verse immediately comes to my mind. The Holy Spirit uses it as a reminder to me of what is not appropriate content online. I am convicted that even though I can give my children all kinds of rules, the Word of God is powerful in our lives and hiding it in our hearts is a necessary tool to dealing with temptation or decision-making online.
I hope my experience can encourage others to open up the lines of communications with their families so that we can use Facebook, Instagram, and the internet in a way that would please the Lord.