The internet has been around the entirety of raising three boys in our family, but I can’t imagine raising young kids in today’s environment. It’s entirely possible, of course! But the challenges!
It is incredibly difficult to “train up a child” as a family, and then add in all the other sources of input flying at a kid every day. It’s overwhelming as an adult, and then try to teach kids how to filter out what is useful and what needs to be ignored…
And then add in the temptation for the mind to go to dark places, whether through our reading books, graphic novels, or the internet, and it gets creepy and scary and, well, criminal. The news this week is about two middle school girls luring their friend into the woods to try and murder her to fulfill a plotline for an internet story site.
Parenting in this day is incredibly challenging.
We can’t shelter our kids from all harm. We can’t shelter our kids from ultimately making wrong choices. We can guide them in right paths.
The biggest way is our own example. Are WE loving God? Are WE loving each other as parents? Are we living out those examples?
Demonstrating the importance of prayer, reading the Word, and being in church was important for us as parents. Having those sources of life was important to hearing the voice of the Spirit more clearly.
Working hard to have meals together… what a challenge! But in some way getting the family together regularly and talk statistically shows a much more healthy child. A child that can learn to think, to listen, to respect others.
My life growing up was around church and family functions. We had meals together. We had political discussions over dinner a lot. Holiday meals were spent with the larger family and so many of my memories were the hours spent around the table long after the meal was put away talking about families, the world events, telling jokes, and so much more.
I watch younger families in my church navigate the onslaught of input rather well for their kids. They have to deal with tablets, smart phones, constant videos, etc. But they navigate that course by adding in times when the games need to be with cards or out in the yard. I watched two young brothers tear around the church property yesterday making games up as they went.
There are no 100 percent guarantee methods. There are only ways we can stay in contact with our kids, offering our examples, and helping them learn what is GOOD to put INTO their minds and what might not need to be pursued so fully.
As parents we are the best opportunity for good filters in our kids’ lives. It’s hard work, but the work can indeed pay off.
Read with your kids.
Pray with your kids.
Have conversations around the dinner table.
Show them godly practices. Train them up. Home is the best place for this to form the earliest.