October 28, 2006

Cyber Families Part 1

Written By Cary Schmidt

Connected Families Losing Their Most Needed Connections!

A few weeks ago, my wife and I decided to stay up late to work on some projects. I chose to stay in my chair in the living room, while she chose to sit up in bed and work—both of us on our laptop computers. Before long, we were both thinking of things we needed to tell each other, and we found ourselves sending off little emails to each other. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but after about thirty minutes it occurred to both of us that we were only about 40 feet apart! My wife wrote me and said, “Why are we doing this?” That’s when it hit me… we’re so connected in 2006, we don’t even have to talk to each other anymore!

It’s 2006, and we’ve never been more “connected”—or less connected! The average home in America has multiple TVs, Dish Network, Pay-Per-View, wireless LAN, high-speed internet, multiple gaming systems, a few computers, internet cell-phones, game-boys, portable playstations, PDAs, and now video capable iPods! We’re the most technologically advanced culture on the planet, and we’re so infatuated with our toys that we’re paying a devastating price in our homes! Now, I must admit, I’m a bit of a techno-junky myself but before we get too carried away (or has that already happened?) let’s take a second look!

Unfortunately, with all the glitz and dazzle of our “connectedness,” there’s a very dark and dangerous side effect. We’ve become the most disconnected culture in human history. We’re losing our kids in record numbers (in Christian homes), and we’re living with total strangers! We’re giving precious time that can never be recovered to online chats, internet games, and the latest xbox release; and all the while our family relationships are dying on the vine.

We’ve become addicted to time-wasting, relationship-killing, side-lining activity that is absolutely empty and meaningless at the end of the day! An outside observer might guess that we’re intentionally trying to avoid each other. While one might argue that some of these toys are not inherently sinful, the pull of both the sin and the weights can be seemingly irresistible and ultimately devastating to the 21st century family. Fox News recently called Myspace.com “a parent’s worst nightmare and a predator’s dream come true!” Another tech review called it the cesspool of humanity! On and on the list could go as to the dangers and dark side of the information age.

Our families have lost the connectedness that God intends, and our kids are being destroyed by a ruthless and invisible enemy. And we’re to blame, because we’ve handed off our connection to their hearts—we’ve wired our kids directly to the world so we can work more, make more, and live more! It’s not supposed to be this way! This isn’t God’s design or intent for your family, and you must reclaim the true connection before it’s too late. Parent, it’s time to reconnect! Our kids don’t belong on myspace—they belong in your space! Where you are. With you. Talking, relating, laughing, enjoying, playing, praying—being loved, accepted, nurtured, trained up! They belong close to your heart and you close to theirs. It’s time to reclaim their hearts and minds. It’s time we stop giving them wholly over to the information age! It’s time we begin building relationships that perhaps we never had.

It’s time to start using the OFF button. Start turning some things off—start disconnecting and start reconnecting. Start now—today! Tonight! Do something extreme! Do something that will make your family look “freakish” in today’s society. Take a walk. Read a book. Have a conversation. Play a game. Laugh a little. Pray as a family. Be intentionally together and intentionally simple concerning the evils of our media-crazed culture. Be old-fashioned—family—fun!

A high-connection family is a lot more important than a high-speed connection. Be a high-connection parent. Keep your heart plugged in to your kids and keep theirs plugged in to you. Keep God first and foremost in your family life and defy the odds. Choose that yours will be a well-connected home—every heart connected to the other with high-speed access! You’ll discover something—you probably forgot how much you really love (and like) these people you live with. Now go turn something off, and start reconnecting.

Written by Cary Schmidt
Originally Printed in the February 2006 Baptist Voice