October 28, 2006

Cyber Families Part 2

Written By Cary Schmidt

Reconnecting a Disconnected Family!

In the last post, we talked about the fact that we are the most technically “connected” generation in human history, yet we’re also the most relationally “disconnected” as the same time! More than ever teens and children are left to themselves while Mom and Dad have to work harder and longer than ever to pay for our modern lifestyle. As never before, the hearts of fathers are turned away from their children and the hearts of children are turned away from their fathers.

The most tragic result of this pattern is that we are losing our kids (from Christian homes) at an alarming rate. As our Christian teens are graduating from high school, we’re seeing more and more of them toss God in the back seat and launch out into a “have it my way” future of self-centered, hedonistic living. They haven’t simply lost their connection
to “us.”

They’ve lost their connection to God.

As parents, it’s time for us to revolt! Culture, technology, work, entertainment, materialism, and over-time are terrible altars upon which to sacrifice our children! If you are courageous and serious enough to confront this massive cultural current that is rapidly pulling your family apart, then here are some practical things you can do to reverse the trend. But be prepared for resistance. Spiritual forces don’t let go of their strong-holds quietly. Your clients, your culture, and even your kids will probably at first resist the major priority shift that needs to happen to bring your family back to God’s pattern. Yet, the struggle is worth it!

You may turn down overtime, put a new career on hold, say goodbye to a needed promotion, or miss your favorite TV show from now until its cancellation—but these are small prices to pay to recover the heart of your child and set his feet upon the solid rock of God’s purpose for his future. You can win this battle, but here’s what you must do. There are seven powerful tools—God’s “atomic bombs” for nurturing and leading your family spiritually. They are powerful and they work, when applied faithfully. Here are the first three, and we’ll see the other four next month.

Pray Together Consistently. Easy you say? Try it. I dare you to make a a covenant with God and with your spouse to pray every night, one on one, with each child in your family as they tuck into bed. The devil will fight you hard on this, yet it’s such a simple thing. Use this time to truly pray, visit, and reconnect with your child. Few things can touch their heart like your prayers, especially as they fall asleep with that lingering moment on their minds.

Play Together Abundantly. This takes time, time, and more time! Can you possibly spend too much time together as a family? Probably, but I don’t see that there is much danger of that happening in today’s culture. Let me ask you this question. When is the last time you planned an entire day as a family just to play? The older your kids are and the busier your family is, the harder this is. But can I say loudly—this is VERY important! It’s more important than sports practice, school, or cheerleading. The secret here is not cost, it’s consistency. Your kids don’t need a $1,000 two-day get-away once a year. They need three hours every Saturday shooting hoops or half a day each week spending time together, or a family game night once a week. Consistency is the key, and it’s the free stuff that they will appreciate the most, because it’s truly from your heart. Even teens know that you can’t buy true love!

Resolve Conflict Immediately. Unresolved conflict is like a festering cancer that’s left untreated—it doesn’t “just go away.” It’s time we parents grow up. It’s ridiculous that parents and teens give each other the silent treatment for days on end. Go to your teen and work it out. You’ll know it’s worked out when you can pray together, hug each other, and laugh together when it’s all over. Refuse to let arguments or offences go unresolved.

We’re just getting started, but focus on applying these three principles this month and see how God will bless. It may take some time, but gradually you will see the hearts of your children drawn back to you and to the Lord. Are you courageous enough to reclaim your children from the snares of Satan? May God give you great grace and strength to stay in the battle!

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