Train up a child…

Let’s Get Real.

I am seriously thinking about deleting all the game apps from my phone and iPad.

My sister and I were recently discussing all the things we could accomplish and all the things we could learn, if we just put down our phones. We have very different lives as I have a husband and son and she is currently single and scratching the itch to travel. So, while I have been working on teaching myself to crochet better, she is learning a 2nd language in her spare time. Putting down the phones and partaking in these worthwhile hobbies is something that we both can benefit from. These are hobbies that will still hold some value tomorrow.

These games that are time wasters hold no value at any time (except for the game developer if you purchase the in-game currency…500 magic beans anyone?). While I think of these games as something I do when I’m relaxing and just “veggin out”, what they are actually doing is stealing my joy.

While they are sucking the time in my life away, I am missing out on something much more fulfilling. Even watching TV with my husband would be a step up. That sounds pretty sad, but it’s true.

How Much is a Picture Worth?

Let me paint a picture. After the baby has gone to sleep and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is put my feet up and relax. I don’t want to think about anything. I don’t want to use my brain. I want to shut down for a bit. I know I should do the dishes or write an article, but I plop down on the couch, pull the handle to prop up my feet, and reach for the iPad. It takes my eyes and both hands to play a silly game, and sometimes even a little concentration. My husband sits one seat away on the couch. We aren’t touching. I don’t talk much, listen well, or respond as I should. This picture is embarrassing…but it has been me many an evening.

Now let me paint a slightly different picture. It’s not the most ideal, but it’s much better, in my opinion.

After our son is in bed, my husband and I sit down on the couch and flip on the television. We get comfortable, leaning into each other or holding hands, or rubbing each other’s feet. We have some light conversation, share some laughter in the show we are watching.

That’s better right? Ok, so we didn’t clean the house from top to bottom… Ok, so we didn’t have an intellectual discussion about the Bible… And definitely we need to do these things as well, however, just one step in the right direction paints an entirely different picture, doesn’t it?

I need to put down the game. Period.

Now imagine we turn the television off and play a game, or read, or pray together. Now that’s quality time!

Didn’t Have or Didn’t Make

I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “I just didn’t have time for…(fill in the blank).” But if I am honest with myself, I don’t have to dig that deep to realize the reality is, I didn’t make time.

Good time management overcomes the problem of “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. Oftentimes, I get to the end of the day and haven’t spent my time doing the things I should have been. I think, “What did I do all day?” Now during the day, I’m not sitting down and playing app games all day, but I do find that I don’t push myself to accomplish simple tasks. I let the combination of all the items on my To Do list overwhelm me.

However, my concern goes beyond washing laundry and doing dishes…especially now that I am a mother. The questions that plague me at the end of the day are Did I spend enough quality time with my son? Did I play with him enough? Sing to him enough? Read to him enough? And when I can answer immediately no, I really didn’t, I am very saddened. Sure, I have a million-and-one excuses that nobody would question, but I know in my heart that I can do better.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go…

I have a unique opportunity in our western culture to be a stay-at-home mother. That means I have the privilege as well as the responsibility to “teach my son in the way he should go…” I am realizing every day, that teaching began the moment he was born.

…And He Will Not Depart from It

My son is watching my every move and although he may not remember what I did or didn’t do today, what I do and say and how I do and say it (joyfully or with a bad attitude) will still impress upon him in the days to come. He can still learn from what happens today, even if he has no memory of it 5 years from now… Or 50 years from now…

That’s a humbling thought, isn’t it? How many of us see a child acting wild in public and think “The parents should do something. Where are they?” Anyone’s hands raised? Now how many of us blame the parents when we see a grown person doing something they shouldn’t? Obviously, as adults we are responsible for our own actions, but there is much to be said for helping children to form good routines and healthy habits early on. If I can get it together now, while he is young, I can be setting up my son for success later in life.

No pointless screen time today is worth not helping my son achieve his goals in the future.

Turn Away My Eyes from Worthless Things…

Another verse that convicted me this week about my screen addiction:

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.”

Psalm 119:37

I need to allow God to work in my heart and in my life. I need to allow Him to revive me in HIS way. How do we allow God to do this? Well, we follow the commands in His Word. We seek His truth and wisdom written there. If we aren’t reading, we aren’t seeking.

The Bible speaks of being disciplined. Disciple is important for a functional life and God knows this. He did create us after all.

I need to do better, but I don’t have to do it alone because God is my helper and He provides peace and joy and love when we obey Him and rest in His lovingkindness.

What about you?

What’s keeping you from accomplishing the things on your list? Is there anything in your life you’re allowing to steal your joy or keep you from obeying God’s will?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

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