Generation Cedar

gadgetsWe all know that families are falling apart at an alarming rate. And it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is.

But the opposite of an “apart family” is a “together family”. So the simple answer to “why families fall apart” has a lot to do with the fact that they are not nurturing unity–togetherness.

And boy is there a pile of things that discourage unity among families! I wonder if we would be wise to be more careful and guard our family’s unity against seemingly harmless activities?

Technological advances have got to be one of the biggest enemies of family unity. Isn’t it ironic? Advancement is supposed to be better. But how often does the advancement require a sacrifice?

Yes, it’s nice every member of the family has his or her own cell phone. But now with the advanced gadgets beyond basic convenience when you’re broken down on the side of the road (isn’t that why we have them?), cell phones alone can rob us of so much time. Besides that, I’ve witnessed teenagers live an alter life at home through their cell phones alone.

(Funny story: I did break down on the side of the road a few weeks ago, and we only have one cell, of which my husband usually carries for work. So I had to stop at a church to call him. I kept thinking they looked at me oddly when I asked to use the phone…then it dawned on me and I said, “Oh…yes…I am one of the few Americans left who doesn’t actually have a cell phone–*sheepish smile*)

And then there are the hand-held games–go ahead and chuckle, because I don’t know the names.  The last one I remember is “Game Boy”…I know, so five years ago.  (For the record:  none of our children have any of these.  I’m imagining that if 7 children each had a private game/gadget, there would be NO relationship.  But, they don’t know they’re missing anything and they love playing together.)  Not that it’s wrong to have such games, just that for us, it’s an area I feel must be carefully guarded and is just easier to exclude them.

And let’s not forget our favorite gadgets–the television, the computer and the telephone.  All of us can be guilty of indulging too long in these conveniences that so easily shut out the rest of our family.

What’s the saying?  “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.”  Guard your family’s unity with your life!   Satan hardly has to work to tear them apart anymore.

Bottom line:  families need tremendous amounts of time TOGETHER.  Talking, laughing, telling  jokes and stories, good old fashion walking, sharing ideas, dreams and plans, looking at each other’s faces–those little things that are so easily taken for granted are the stuff of life that holds us together.

Go out and have a picnic!

15 Responses

  1. I am asked at least once a week by my two oldest (12 and 10) why they can’t have a cell phone or an ipod or some other hand held thing (oh, or a Facebook page). They have friends who have them and while I think all of those things are nice and can be a fun thing I really don’t see the need for them in our home. They already have the computer to which they are limited to about 25 minutes a day. They also have some plug-n-play PacMan thingy that they got for Christmas. I don’t encourage that one so much but they also have a “Wheel of Fortune” plug-n-play that three of them can play together, they usually play it in teams. So that one there is a real winner. I can’t see the day when I would want them to have an ipod or gameboy-thing of their own. I want them to use their imaginations, play together, learn together. So far it’s working.

  2. My first comment isn’t posting – sorry if I end up w/ duplicate entries.

    I mentioned Behemoth- have you ever thought of selling your Scripture CD through them?

  3. Posting for KIM M. who has been unable to leave a comment on this post for some reason ???

    I totally agree. We have one Tracphone that my husband takes with him to work. I just don’t do much running around and it’s usually done after he gets home from work so then I can take the cell phone.

    I do not allow my children to have those types of games either. I mentioned my son’s experience of getting in trouble at the Christian school he used to attend for turning around during class because the kid behind him was done with his work and was playing a game boy. Of course he shouldn’t have been turning around in class. But I was really surprised that the teacher allowed such distractions in a learning environment.

    I believe that not only those types of gadgets can hurt family unity, but they can also rob children of imagination. And like you said I am not calling anyone a heathen for allowing them, but I have had lots of mothers tell me they wish they had never started. It almost becomes an addiction. Children seem to NEED the next game and they think about it constantly.

  4. This is so true. It’s something my husband and I talk about a lot because, as far as technology goes, we’re not a typical family. My husband works for a *major* software firm here in the Pacific Northwest 😉 So, we always have several cell phones that he is “building” at work, not to mention he is head of an area of graphics, so it’s important that he stay current with the video gaming graphics on the market, and he has an xBox that he schedules time a few days a week to play, so he can keep up on the technology. It’s kind of hard to tell the kiddos they can’t play the xBox when Daddy plays it for work 😛 Besides which, my husband and I each have a cell phone, because all of our family and many of our friends are long-distance and it costs us significantly less to have cells than a landline. All that combined, and we’re going to have to be very cautious as our kids get older. I think nixing the handheld gaming systems will be a good start. They can all play “Viva Pinata” together on the xBox, but they can’t play Game Boy together, y’know? That, and we’re going to have to figure out what to do about a phone, because I am NOT giving my preteens cell phones. Just on principle. I didn’t have one until I went away for college and they cancelled our campus long distance plan, so I HAD to have a cell phone to call home. Personally, I’m not very fond of them.
    ~Bethany

  5. Wow, another odd gal with no cell phone! I just love it:) In our home we don’t have tv (but we do have a vcr for movie watching) We have no video games or anything like that… except for a small game that I can program with my son’s spelling words and math facts. He thinks that is a *very* big deal, and I haven’t told him otherwise, lol. My oldest daughter(age 22) has recently obtained a blackberry and it is so intrusive that we have had to set some limits. My 18yo dd is completely at the other end of the spectrum- she has no desire for a cell phone. SHe feels that, for many young folks, they have become an idol… and i do see her point.

    Great thought provoking post:)

  6. I don’t have a cell phone either.
    I figure that since EVERYONE else has one, if I have an emergency, I’ll use theirs.

  7. We aren’t the only ones who don’t have hand held games?! Yeah! We don’t have TV either (vcr,dvd for movie watching only). My sister-in-law has all those gadgets for her 3 boys, guess what? She had to put their oldest on a “diet” because he is starting to get pudgy around the middle. I said she should get rid of all their games and make them go outside to play, then he wouldn’t need a diet.

    Family togetherness is really important. We try to do everything together from grocery shopping to regular errand running. Sure it would be quicker and easier to do things alone, but we would rather be together. When my husband and I were dating, his friends used to tease him for always bringing me along to everything. He always said he saw no need not to since he just wanted to be with me. Yep, he is still that way. We want our children to be that way with each other too.

  8. I’ll be the odd one out and say that the handheld game by Leapster has saved my sanity on many occasions!!! LOL! We mostly only keep them (we have two) for long car trips, and they rarely get played with in the house. I think that saving it for only special times is what makes it so great for us- it’s a treat for the kids to get to play them. With an HOUR drive to church and another HOUR back each Sunday, it distracts them from being hungry or tired.

    I also have another friend who adores her iPhone because she has downloaded audio books and other apps that have saved her when getting stuck in a long line (with 5 little people under 5), having to stop for emergency tire repair, etc.

    Overall though- I totally agree. Overuse of these items is really more dangerous than anyone gives thought to!

  9. We do have the electronics…Wii, PS2, ipod, computer. However, we find that they aren’t used much by any of our children. Sometimes they will get in a “Groove” and play more than normal…but not the norm. I must say that the ipod only has music on it approved by mom and dad, mostly Christian with a few fun 80’s type songs. The DVD player in the van is only used for long trips and not for running errands in town.

    I find we are extremely blessed to have children that could do with or without the electronics, for I have seen many families that have some serious problems because of them.

    Thanks Kelly for all your great posts!

  10. I was resistant to get a cell phone for a long time but about three years ago, I was in a minor accident. A big-rig misjudged the distance in a traffic jam and rear ended me. No one was hurt, and the damage was minimal, but I was pretty shaken up. The driver of the big-rig drove off without even stopping. My car was still ok to drive, so I drove home and called the police to report the accident. The response? The police didn’t believe me. They said if it had *really* happened, I would have called from the highway. When I said I didn’t have a cell phone, they laughed at me and said that I needed to join the 21st century. They also made it pretty clear that they were not going to help me. An officer never even came by to write an accident report. My husband’s response was to get me a cell phone immediately. My point is, while we don’t need to be glued to technology, when it can make our lives safer, I think it’s a good investment.

  11. I just found this link and noticed my comment from about a year ago. Funny that a year ago my kids had 25 min. each day on the computer…now it’s more like 10-15! LOL!

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