Time and time again, I see so many people posting these amazing positive things. Funny thing, they usually only get a few likes. And to prove my case, over the past several months I have purposely posted something negative, an experience usually, just to see what kind of reaction it will get, then I take the post down. Out of everything I post, except for an occasional photo of the kids, the negative posts ‘do better’ as far as likes and comments. Now there are a ton of negative posts out there, way more than there should be. Between people typing actual bad encounters they’ve had to these ridiculous meme’s. But there is one that just get’s me all ruffled up every time I see it…here it is:
I have seen people ages 50+ post this, who I know are grandparents and I have seen people my age with children post this. What is it saying about you, your children or grandchildren? When this gets posted it’s judging parenting, it’s judging innocent children and it’s sending a negative mixed message to our youth, because I often see the opposite – adults on their phones or around a table and the kids ignored.
I try to encourage our kids daily, even if it’s not the hold their face in my hands and speak positive truths to them, there is some form of encouragement sandwiched into their day. Posts like this are not encouraging to them. Are we not the ones who bought those electronics for them? And if that truly is all they do, is that their fault or an adult’s fault? Now in my commitment to always be honest, yes, there are more days than I would like to admit that our children have spent countless hours playing on electronics with their friends. But I also know it is our job to encourage them to do something besides let their eyes bug out and give themselves carpel tunnel before they graduate from high school.
And when grandparents post this image it really crinkles me up because they are putting down their children and grandchildren. Maybe that never dawns on them? I know some people may use electronic devices as an entertaining strategy so they don’t have to be bothered with their kids. That is not right. I wholeheartedly wish to believe that number is small. We are called to be parents which means we actually need to parent them. And hey I hear you – sometimes it’s what we need to do to get through a day, but not every day. If we are allowing that behavior, then posting this, what message does that send? If we can’t recall the last time we had a conversation with our children or grandchildren, a real conversation, not just a line of questioning…an eye to eye or ear to ear conversation, then we shouldn’t dare post things like this.
With three teens and a little guy who thinks he’s a teen, we have plenty of devices in our house. And we have rules. And being as involved as I am in work and home stuff, sometimes the little buggers take advantage of the fact that I am not paying attention to what they are doing. Being this mom, to all these people, I know they need boundaries and rules with these things, because yes, even my little angels will try to take advantage of my being distracted. They need us to parent them and show them the ropes. Isn’t that what God calls us to do as parents and grandparents? Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it, Proverbs 22:6. Doesn’t this go beyond biblical principle training? Isn’t it our responsibility to train them up in community, healthy lifestyles and boundaries as well?
We live in this neighborhood, and I know nothing about neighborhoods because I didn’t grow up in one or really have neighbors. My kids have always been out in this neighborhood. Riding bikes, playing basketball, football, riding scooters, heading to the park. The parents have connected and when need be gather up to go find the child that has gone rogue, needs some direction or love…on more than one occasion, it’s been one of our children. We allow these kids to get drinks and snacks at our homes, to come inside, climb our trees and use our sports equipment. (and let me tell you this, it isn’t always convenient, but it’s how we teach them and allow them to build community). And most nights we have to call our kids home for dinner.
And then there are the times that they get hurt, like yesterday. Our youngest child was carried by another child through 4 yards to get him home while he was hurt and crying. He even came back later to see if he was alright. This is community at it’s finest, and it’s a 10 and 12 year old. How many times do we look the other way when a neighbor needs help? So yes, that picture of those kids on their phones, yeah my kids do that, but hey, look at all the other amazing things they do. Instead of jumping and hitting the ‘share’ button, why not spend an hour with a child? Why not slip an encouraging note in the mail or into their lunch? Maybe spend some time having a conversation about their favorite sports team, even if you don’t know a thing about it (I do this almost daily, really need to learn some football details). Maybe a little girl would love to show you what she learned in ballet this week. It is the adults that need to model to the young ones, not the other way around, right? This, I believe, is how we will raise up the next generation to do amazing things that they feel they have been called to, not by these lousy posts. And before you judge the kids of today, I challenge you to get to know them, their dreams and their hearts. I think you may be pleasantly surprised.