Mom I’m Bored…..

What Boredom Teaches Us

Andy Crouch

One of the things I am grateful for in our world today is the attention given to the loving nurture and care of children. We see more and more products being made, articles being written, and churches being built, with children in mind. We see mom’s and dad’s more intention than ever about the physical and social wellbeing of their children. These are all good things. When our kids have a need we not only try to meet it we anticipate it and try to meet that need before they ask. So when our kids say they are bored it is not a warning sign in them it is a perceived deficiency in us. We didn’t anticipate the downtime they would experience and bring the devices or tools to occupy their minds to keep them from being bored. This wasn’t always the case I grew up in the Jurassic period before cell phones, cable and video game systems. We got bored… a lot.

Andy Crouch has written an excellent new book that discusses the joy of boredom in the world of anti-boredom devices. His new book The Tech-Wise Family is a must buy for every family that struggles with screen time and bored children (so basically everyone). Andy says that:

The technology that promises to release us from boredom is actually making it worse— making us more prone to seek empty distractions than we have ever been. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that the more you entertain children, the more bored they will get.

This rubs against the very grain of what we have been taught and indoctrinated within the past 20 years, yet rings strangely true for those us old enough to remember what it was like in the “Old Days”. We have an unspoken rule of thumb in our family. If our kids don’t say “I’m Bored” often something is wrong. We start assessing our schedules, we evaluate screen time. Boredom is a warning sign and is actually the beginning to doing something meaningful rather than achieving the next level in a game that doesn’t matter.

Boredom is actually a crucial warning sign— as important in its own way as physical pain. It’s a sign that our capacity for wonder and delight, contemplation and attention, real play and fruitful work, has been dangerously depleted…. We now have the technology to be perpetually distracted from boredom, and thus we never realize how bored we really are.

Andy Crouch

How Do I Help My Kids Engage Culture

A Parents Guide to Social Action

When I was growing up our world was a very different place and the influence of evangelicalism was very different as well. I remember the primary posture of the church toward culture was condemning culture. I remember well the frequent calls for boycotts. For some reason, a late 80’s call to boycott Procter and Gamble due to a symbol on its packaging has never left me. The next change in culture was the copying of culture in the mid 90’s (anyone remember “if you like Slayer then listen to “One Bad Pig”). The posture the church seems to be in presently is one of consuming culture. We seem to believe that the other two postures have failed so this is the must be the best way forward to consume culture in an ever elusive quest for relevance. The posture that seems most lacking in the evangelical world today is the ability to critique culture.
Andy Crouch in his bestselling book Culture Making goes into depth on how we are called to be cultivators of culture and how we interact with culture should not be one dimensional but multifaceted in addressing how we react towards culture he says the following:
The problem is not with any of these gestures— condemning, critiquing, consuming, copying. All of them can be appropriate responses to particular cultural goods. Indeed, each of them may be the only appropriate response to a particular cultural good. But the problem comes when these gestures become too familiar, become the only way we know how to respond to culture, become etched into our unconscious stance toward the world and become postures.
Andy Crouch
Here is the challenge for us as individuals in general and parents in particular. We have to be sure that we respond appropriately to culture, maintaining a dynamic response to our culture based on the situation and the circumstance without letting our responses become fixed postures. We will never be cultivators of culture or teach our kids to survive and thrive in the complexity of being exiles in a culture that will destroy them if they only learn how to respond with a singular fixed posture.

Why I Won’t Take a Chance on the Rapper With My Kids.

I’ll start by admitting that my hip factor is decreasing the older I get. I do what I can. My kids and I really enjoy Christian rap artists like Lecrae, Trip Lee and Jackie Hill Perry. My personal feelings on music is that there is not Christian and Non-Christian music but rather good music and bad music. The challenge comes with rap as many rappers who I would agree are very talented have lyrics that I don’t think are helpful to anyone’s ears especially young ears.

I was watching the Grammy’s this year as is my custom (Primarily to live tweet and to read the tweets of others). This years Grammy’s were particularly awful. The technical errors and poorly executed tributes to fallen artists made the Grammy’s difficult to watch. There were a few exceptions one was by an artist new to me Chance the Rapper. He opened with Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God.” Something you don’t usually hear at the Grammy’s.

How to get Video to Multi-site Locations Fast, Cheap and Easy.

How Roku and Dropbox change everything.

In 2014 it was estimated that there are over 8,000 multi-site churches in America. In the past 2 years, I am certain that number has grown. The reality is Multi-site churches are not going away anytime soon.  There are many challenges to doing Family ministry in a multi-campus setting, from staffing to leadership development to volunteer management. One of the greatest challenges I’ve found is in logistics. How do you make things work at campuses in different locations, of different sizes with different needs.

One of those challenges we have always struggled with is how do we show videos at various locations? Most curriculums now offer video teaching or video elements to their curriculum. Distribution to the various locations is difficult. We’ve done most everything from burning DVD to sending custom made jump drives. Those all took lots of time and had lots of room for error. This lead us to our current system.

Protecting Kids Online with Circle

As a gateway for the internet Circle is tops

When it comes to protecting your kids, monitoring where your kids go online, blocking them from places you don’t want them to go as well as limiting their time online Circle is the way to go. I have been using it at our home for several months now, it is dead simple to use. Circle has the ability to set up user profiles for each member of your home and each device giving you total control over what you block from whom. What I have also found amazing is that kids who come over to play and log on to your wifi are automatically assigned the “house rules” profile with you even lifting a finger.

I love the bed time features that shuts off the internet to devices so kids can really sleep. It also keeps track of how long they have been online and turns them off when they have reached their limit this works for the whole device or just one app. You want your daughter to only be on Instagram for 30 min a day and your son to play clash of clans for only an hour, you just enter the time limit on each profile for each app. So simple.

A couple of important updates they have made is adding the android platform to circle as well as Circle Go for iOS. Circle Go allow you to you can extend Circle’s settings anywhere. All your favorite Circle features are now on 4G and any other network they join. The Circle device is a one time fee of 99.00 online or Best Buy. Circle Go functionality is 9.95 for up to ten devices.

Want to keep your kids safe and limit time online. There really is nothing better than Circle. Head over to their website and check it out for yourself.