From spectating a sport to attending a performance, more and more parents are depending on technology to entertain their children instead of having them watch what is on the stage or on the court.
Not only has the influence affected the sports and fine arts arenas, the digital tools have trickled into the church.
What message are we sending our children when God’s word is being preached from the pulpit while they are playing games to pass the time?
I realize kids may not understand what all is being said, but the non-verbal message being transmitted is this, “When a person is speaking, you don’t need to listen. Instead, continue doing what you are doing because they are not important.”
Although the distraction may be viable for the moment, are we not teaching our children, in the long run, to be a disrespectful spectator?
Are we not encouraging our kids to become impatient when we place in their hands a tool for instant gratification?
What happened to kids learning to entertain themselves instead of expecting something to do it for them?
I understand the need to keep younger children occupied. That is a job in itself. However, I am referring to those who are old enough to sit still for short periods of time even if they don’t like it.
As a kid, I remember my mom packing pieces of “entertainment” including crayons, notepads, books, and maybe a small quiet toy. So, how are these items not the same as technology? The tools I had did not offer an instant reward. The prize I earned, if any, was from inside myself.
Are we as parents, setting our expectations too low when we give our whiny kids a technological pacifier to appease their complaints? Is it not important for them to be engaged in what is around them instead of what is happening inside a 2”x3” screen?
So I ask, are we raising up a generation of impatient children? I see the result in my high school classroom as kids are unable to recognize the social norms of being patient. Instead, they are constantly blurting out without a filter for what they are saying. They are talking or asking questions at the same time others are speaking without regard to the other person. Also, they are expecting their needs to be instantly met and become upset if they are not.
What happened to contentment and self-control. Take a quick look at the life of Paul. He was an elite and privileged man whose life was dramatically transformed by God. At times he was exposed to the best of the best while the remainder of his life he was imprisoned. He understood the importance of being patient…”for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need…” (Proverbs 4:11-13)
Shouldn’t our job as parents be to teach our kids to be content in all situations no matter how long or short they may have to wait?