One of the most important things I’ve ever read about parents came to me through the book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Teenagers. After conducting the most extensive study on the religious beliefs of American teenagers, Christian Smith and his team concluded, “We’ll get what we are.”
By and large, when it comes to parenting, we will get what we are. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes that’s a really good thing, sometimes it’s not.
If this is true (and I believe it is, though I’m not interested right now in defending it), then as parents we all need to take a look at how we are living and ask, “If my kids become me, will I be happy with who they’ve turned into?”
My wife and I were talking last night about our concerns that our son has been watching too much television and that he likes playing on his Kindle Fire too much. Meanwhile, he has bins of toys and shelves of books which aren’t getting the attention we’d love them to receive.
And yet, I consistently have my iPhone with me as I walk throughout the house and we almost always have a television on in the house.
So… we need to ask ourselves what example we’re setting. We need to become the change we want to see.
One of my friends and mentors, Walt Muller, coincidentally wrote the following blog post which is perfectly timed. My family will be taking the challenge issued in Walt’s post, I encourage you to consider it too.
So. . . I’ve decided to lay out some rules. Initially, I thought they’d be great rules to pass on to parents, teachers, and teenagers themselves. Reality is, I can’t pass them on unless I’m already gripping them tightly in my own hands. Here are the rules I’m going to enlist in my own life. I want to invite you to try them out as well. . . for a week maybe. . . and then let me know if you’ve seen any benefits.
1. Don’t engage with your smartphone as long as you are present with and/or in conversation with real flesh and blood human beings. They deserve your full attention.
2. Don’t bring your smartphone or screen of any kind to the table. Converse with others over the meal. . . using your eyes, your voice, your ears, and your full attention.
(there’s more good stuff in this post, click the link to read the rest)