Parenting these days is no sideline gig. It’s a full-on contact sport. Although previous generations of parents had their own challenges, today’s parents face an entirely unique ballgame with brand new rules. One that not only requires parenting with fresh skills and an iron will, but also a serious sense of identity. We no longer live in the era of free range parenting (yep it’s a thing… ask Google) where we can just open a diet Tab and send our kids outside until it’s dark. Someone may accuse us of neglectful parenting… GASP.
Hello smartphones and iPads and streaming and social media and the internet riding around in your back pocket. Welcome to the party, all of you technological advancements! Greetings Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all of your shaming and comparison and volatile opinions around every corner. Indeed, we’re all living in the world of unlimited access to the inter web, movies, video games, memes, snaps, chats, ads, and all of the things!
And the pressure! It’s as if our children are constantly competing as an American Ninja Warrior in dad-gum everything! Who decided that!? Who decided ALL of childhood (and by default… parenthood), is a competition to be the best? Obviously, they have killed the child in childhood and they need to march straightaway to see Willie Wonka and not return until they can play nice again.
Listen, I am all for a good healthy dose of competition (lest we forget that I was schooled in the raising of two boys who played sports as soon as they could hold a ball). I also desire for my children to strive towards their absolute best.
We can get purposeful
However, we have lost the entire plot if the purpose of childhood is to spend an abhorrent amount of time and money on these pursuits at the sacrifice of character and soul. This mama is still living in this tension myself so I am hereby writing a message to my own soul. Still, I want to have my eyes wide open. Not fooled into replacing the plot of parenting with a load of lies that lead down a destructive path.
The amount of anxiety, depression, and never measuring up that our children are bombarded by is utterly obnoxious. It is real. It is rapid. And we need to be ready. Ready to offer encouragement, help and support, and for goodness sakes… reorientation every now and then. Likewise, we need some plays in our playbook. I am not expecting life to be carefully orchestrated or planned. But we can be wise. We can be teachable. Additionally, we can have some sense of compass to help us remember what target we are aiming for in our parenting.
I want to help me. I want to help you. Let’s rally with our fellow mamas and papas and cheer each other along.
Our modern day advantage: we now live in a world of unlimited access to information and advice. Our modern day disadvantage: we now live in a world of unlimited access to information and advice. Therefore, as parents trying to drink from a fire hydrant of challenges and information, we need a sound sense of purpose, an intentional approach, and real life community.
I need perspective. Some resources. A call to community. And Lord have mercy… a prayer closet!!
Proverbs counsels us to…
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Sometimes… often times… the question is which way should he be going? Or how in the world do I get him there?
We can get wisdom
God desires to give us, HIS children, good things. This includes, hope and truth and direction in our parenting. He cares about leading us, above all of the cultural hype thrown our way a million times a day, to what really matters.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.James 1:5
Our loving and relational God handed us his very character on the pages of our Bible. He packed the entire book of Proverbs with wisdom and understanding.
Therefore, I want to challenge us to search for the wisdom we desire! To ask our loving God to give it to us, then learn to listen. Let’s start right here! Read a chapter of Proverbs each day for 30 days. It’s laid out for us brilliantly! There are 31 chapters of Proverbs in the Bible. On average, there are 31 days in a month. There you have it! Whatever day of the month it is, we are reading that chapter. It’s like The Lord knew in all of our desperation for wisdom, what we needed most was a simplified strategy to consume it!
We can get help
In addition to our daily sitting before the Creator of the universe to ask for His wisdom, guidance, and direction in the living out of our parenting lives (which is the ONLY place to put our confidence BTW), I want to provide some helpful supplements; tools and perspectives from those who have walked this journey and learned from the Lord along the way.
For starters, I’d like to introduce you to one of the best resources for navigating smartphone usage with our children. Whether you’re just beginning to enter this arena with your kids or you’ve been there a while, THIS SMARTPHONE COURSE IS CRITICAL!
Of course, there are so many GOOD and USEFUL resources available to us (via this internet we have a complicated relationship with)! This smartphone course is one of them. In fact, the creators are our life long friends and have an entire ministry dedicated to helping parents. Check out their invaluable resources and wisdom for imperfect normal families here.
So my fellow mama bears, let us equip ourselves and chart a better course for our family and that darling next generation we are growing! Let us not walk blindly into the future but instead become intentional on where we want to go and therefore where we desire to lead our people who are following us. These babies will eventually move from writing on the walls of our living room to writing their very own life stories.
AND I want to hear from you, mama! I want to know where you are struggling and also winning. Let’s help one another by bringing our wins and losses to the table.