Recently I read a book by Sherry Turkle entitled Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. Dr. Turkle said several things that made me think about the beauties and perils of technology. One of my favorite quotes by her is “If you don’t teach your kids to alone they will only know how to be lonely.”
Turkle in expanding on the idea of loneliness she said something so profound about the difference between loneliness and solitude.
Paul Tillich has a beautiful formulation: “Language . . . has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Loneliness is painful, emotionally and even physically, born from a “want of intimacy” when we need it most, in early childhood. Solitude— the capacity to be contentedly and constructively alone— is built from successful human connection at just that time. But if we don’t have experience with solitude— and this is often the case today— we start to equate loneliness and solitude. This reflects the impoverishment of our experience. If we don’t know the satisfactions of solitude, we only know the panic of loneliness.
Indeed, research shows that adolescents experience solitude as downtime that can feel bad in the short run. But in the long run it facilitates healthy development. Without solitude, in days and nights of continual connection, we may experience those “moments of more” but lives of less.
There are few things more powerful and more profound a parent can do for their kids than pray for them.
“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1
“I will that men pray everywhere.” 1 Timothy 2:1
I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words, DO YOU PRAY? The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not, your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers or not your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God.
All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of the life of an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.
This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto him day and night.” Luke 18:1. The Holy Spirit who makes them new creatures, works in them a feeling of adoption, and makes the cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15. The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They cannot do other wise than they do. They must pray.
– JC Ryle
Prayer is not simply a good Idea for parents it’s absolutely essential. Bishop Ryle’s point is well taken.
If you make up answers your kids will find out because they can Google it with their nintendo DS. Crazy! The result of this onslaught of information is that we have to be pro active and not reactive with our parenting and with our information dissemination. It is sometimes tempting to lie to your kids but the problem is they will find out and more than likely sooner than later. If you lie to your kids or don’t satisfy their curiosity they will begin looking to other sources to find answers. You will lose a golden opportunity to build trust and establish much-needed lines of communication you will benefit from your entire life.
To give your kids direct answers to their questions you need do 4 things.
1. Know your kids –
If you have more than one kid you know that each kid is unique. It never ceases to amaze me that two kids growing up in the same house with the same parents eating the same food can turn out so differently. Pat answers frustrate kids because they know you are just trying to get out of a conversation that you are either to busy for our frustrated with. When you really take the time to know each of your kids their strengths their weaknesses you will know how to answer the questions they are asking.
Where did sin come from and why do I sin?
The biblical account of the fall is found in Genesis chapter 3. The understanding of the fall it’s causes and it’s far reaching effects are essential for parents and their children alike to full understand. It is understanding the nature and the cause of the fall that we are able to see the need for redemption and ultimately restoration. We do our kids a massive disservice when we minimize the nature of sin. It is only through a clear understanding of sin that we see ourselves as we truly are and are then able to see Christ as He is. John Newton the former slave ship captain later famous hymn writer who wrote Amazing Grace on his death bead said in such captivating forum “I don’t remember much but I do know that I am a great sinner but I have a great savior.”
I am not the biggest fan of post apocalyptic films none of them end well. Spoiler alert everyone dies nearly all the time. These movies always freak me out. They are too chaotic for me. There are no rules no sense of social norms. There is very little trust understanding and empathy. It’s Godless, faithless and Darwin on steroids. As I describe what a post apocalyptic movie sounds like many of you are agreeing many of you think I am overstating and simplifying the genre too much. What we all can agree is that if we close our eyes and think about what I just described the picture we are all drawn to is the High School we attended. The food post apocalyptic, the lack of trust and empathy all very real. Darwinism on steroids
While describing High School as post apocalyptic might be overstating things a bit. One thing that has never been true of our world and youth culture is a collective lack of an objective moral standard. The seeds of post modernity were sown years ago and we are just now beginning to reap the first fruits of this harvest.