Our culture is full of technological distractions. Recently, every news outlet and social media venue was plastered with reports and opinions of professional athletic teams not being present for the national anthem. Maybe you followed along. I confess I did. Did you also know there was a church shooting in Tennessee the same day? Yet it wasn’t a top story showing up in my news feed.
We live in an age where anyone can carry a personal computer in their back pocket. Society has become more about technology and social media, and less about family values and relationships. And why wouldn’t it. It’s what everyone is doing.
News happens everyday. Viral stories, or those pushed by news outlets, take over social media. An account politically charged, or spurred by heartache garner the most time and attention. Only to be forgotten when something fresh comes along. Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are still trying to recover, but I don’t see much about them in my social media feed. Do we care more about sports and the actions of professional athletes over our country and people?
Too easily we succumb to social conformity. This is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. Don’t believe me? Check out this video by Brain Games. I know it looks like an extreme example, but it makes a point.
It’s time to stop following what everyone else is doing, and that starts with our families. As parents, we have to guard for social conformity. In ourselves as well as our children.
Children are sent off to school for academics and dropped off at church for lessons in morality. Oh parents select the best school they can find. Private if affordable, or reside in the best rated public school district. A good church is one where the music is enjoyable and the kids have fun in their classes. Do you know what your children are being taught?
Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Parents, we have a great responsibility to teach and train our children. We cannot leave it to schools or to the church. We must lead their education and their spiritual growth.
If you are called to homeschool, answer that call. If not, find other ways to take the lead in your children’s education.
Teach your children to love God. Parents, God charges us with our children’s spiritual knowledge and understanding. The church is designed to come alongside and support us.
In our society of technology it’s hard not to give in to social conformity. Daily we are flooded with information and distractions. We cannot allow our relationships and our parenting to suffer.
What if we all turned off our smart phones? At least designate a place in our homes to put them, and turn off all notifications except one main phone for emergency calls. I know it sounds a little 1980’s, but stay with me.
Instead of scrolling social media, crushing candy, texting a friend, or reading an e-book, talk to your family. Bring back family dinners, board games, and movie nights with popcorn. If you think I’m crazy, consider how many times your kids came into a room and you were staring at your phone. Maybe you were reading an e-book or typing out a text to a friend. Did you put your phone down and give them your full attention? Did you make eye contact?
I know you had a hard day, you’re tired and you feel you deserve to sit down and relax. But, you must be a parent first. Staring at a screen is not restful. It is addictive. Do not set an example for your kids that they are less important than the screen in your hand.
Resist social conformity and challenge your family with an experiment. Agree to put phones on the shelf and invest in each other. Try it for a month. You may initially feel challenged, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised in the end. Come on, give it a go. If you’ll do it, I will too!
Oh, and if you totally dominate at family game night, I do not want to see any pictures or posts about it on Facebook!!