I recently heard George Barna speak on the impact of the Church, and the state of many of us as the “Body of Christ” in the US. He has interviewed over 15,000 people in regards to their faith, and has come up with some interesting results. This will be the first of a few posts, about his content and how it must impact our families.
It’s obvious that “core values” are changing. We don’t need the results of Barna’s extensive studies to show us that. But the numbers definitely reinforce the “feeling” we get by looking around at our world today. Things that used to matter, and could be assumed to be a “high priority”, are sliding down on the scale.
One of the ways this is seen, is in how we spend our time. The average adult spends about 11.7 hours a day consuming some sort of media. Our children are following close behind, at 10.8 hours a day. That speaks volumes already. Considering 24 hours in a day, and around 10 of those hours being used for sleep (for kids at least). That leaves 14 hours of awake. Take away the 10.8 hours an average child spends consuming media, and that leaves about 3 hours. 3 HOURS EACH DAY is all the average child spends not connected to some sort of media.
Sure, some of it’s great. It’s educational and devlopmental. I’m one of the first ones to recommend shows like Super Why, Sid the Science Kid, and imaginative greats like Yo Gabba Gabba. But it’s a bit like saying “Well shucks, Corn Syrup is just like sugar. It’s just as healthy.” True statement (I’m not a health expert, or wanting to debate that here.). But the problem lies in how often it occurs throughout our daily habits. Media is EVERYWHERE. Toddlers can operate iPads better than their grandparents, 8 year olds have cell phones, and the television…..does it have an off switch? That doesn’t even begin to address the internet or video games.
It’s easy to go from constructive commentary to venting on this one.
It’s a reminder that as a Christian, we and our families been transformed by God to exist in this world differently than those to travel through the wide gate. We are the voice that calls others to face to face conversation. We are the ones who value the discipline of silence. We are those with daily planners that contain “family-time” written IN INK, that doesn’t look like another movie night. (confession: we’ve done a lot of movie nights here.)
Indeed, “media” isn’t an evil itself. Quite a bit of good can be accomplished both in the experiences they offer, and discussion of them. But especially for those of us with younger children, we are setting patterns this week for the self-discipline our children will someday have. To help them in setting boundaries, in a world where it’s becoming exceedingly rare to do so….can be a great way to set our children up with space for God and others in their lives…
So turn the _____ off at some point when you otherwise wouldn’t today. Take a deep breath, and enjoy a new activity or conversation that almost never happened. It’s a rich experience, for sure…