by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
I am a big fan of living in this current age of technology and information. On a practical note, I enjoy the comforts and access to knowledge that is currently so accessible. Theologically, it is a beautiful reminder of the dominion mandate God gave Adam and Eve in the garden to rule over His creation and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). Ever since that charge, humankind has consistently used discoveries and mental applications in an attempt to make God’s creation as close as possible to what it was intended to be. From the minute amounts of minerals needed in a remote control, to the systemized software language used to operate it, God’s created world and His created man and woman have been at work fulfilling this command.
And boy have I been at work in my home! Growing up, it seemed like my dad focused his efforts on changing light bulbs, greasing squeaky doors, and kicking appliances to get them up and running. Today’s demands are much different (humor me for a moment). How many individual components are part of an automatic icemaker? How expensive does printer ink really need to be? And why do printers keep downloading new updates so that the knock-off cheap ink won’t work? Why does my Windows PC keep upgrading against my wishes? How come the file formats for my wife’s Apple laptop don’t want to function on any other device? Speaking of devices, how difficult can it be to simply add minutes to my daughter’s emergency flip phone? Why do phone chargers grow legs and hide themselves at the most inconvenient times? Why do my children’s Kindles always stop working in the middle of a football game I am watching?
I’m sure we all have our own struggles with new technology, but when the dust settles, I am grateful for the convenience of 21st century living. But just as culture has evolved, so must our parenting. Consider the phrase, “left to their own devices.” The meaning of this statement describes a situation where a person has no supervision and is in control of their own schemes. This is a helpful warning that can be applied to our parenting. How much time do we leave our children with their own devices? How much control do we relinquish and give to still maturing children as we look for a convenient way to keep the kids entertained?
Some studies indicate that children average as many as seven hours of screen time a day on their devices. As parents, we are charged to “train a child up in the way that he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). When we are unavailable to actively train our children, we should carefully select partners who will train them consistent with our desires. This is the foundation of the relationship between the home and school at Crosshill. What kind of training are the devices in our children’s hands providing them? While I will eagerly research online the best way to keep my smartphone from dialing 9-1-1 accidentally (help please), of even greater importance is fully researching the training my child is receiving from their devices. If that training does not agree with the discipleship training God’s word expects of my parenting, then I should step in and provide the appropriate boundaries. Pluggedin.com is an excellent website sponsored by Focus on the Family to give parents a headstart in parenting children of this generation. Now if only there was a website that would program my garage door opener!
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent