I stumbled across this post from Author Charles Martin (called An Open Letter to my Boys), it’s a letter to his boys about technology. Specifically, it’s a contract, detailing a list of house rules in regards to technology, and it’s well worth the read (a.k.a. please click on it and read it…and by the way – it gets better as it goes on!). It’s a good check for us all, whether we have children, or just need it for our own sake.
I saw there was a lot of debate in the comments, a lot of people who disagree with his particular rules, and with his delivery. In his defense, it was written by a father to his boys, (not by a mother or to his girls,) which lends itself to a particular style of communication. It’s also very possible that even though he wrote it seriously, there was also a bit of tongue-in-cheek sternness for dramatic effect. I think if you read it all that you will see the fierceness of his tone is more than equally matched by the fierceness of his love for his boys and his great concern for their maturation in this life.
The thing I loved about this was the heart behind the letter. I don’t know what your family is like. I don’t think every family needs to implement these exact rules. In fact, I dare say it would be detrimental in some circumstances to go about things in the way that Charles Martin has, just as it would likely be detrimental for his family if he didn’t do things that way. Not to mention, timing is a key factor. It’s hard to change things and implement new policies when your kids are older. It’s much easier to begin things this way, if you choose. So, as always, please read everything with a discerning mind, asking God to show you how YOU should respond in a way that works for you and your family dynamics and your walk with Jesus.
No matter what “rules” your family (or you, yourself) may have for managing technology in your lives, I think this article does a good job of reminding us how important it is to actually think through some things. It does a good job of reminding us of some of the deeper, underlying principles that we need to be thoughtful of. He also does a great job of using technology to remind of the Garden of Eden, the freedom that we were meant to experience, and the temptations we face. He uses technology to remind us of the greater issues about our human nature that are at stake.
I love one of his final points:
The purpose for all these Don’t Do’s is NOT so that I can control your life and hold you under my thumb. I’m fighting for your freedom. Not your imprisonment. Trust me, we’d love to trust you with this thing. So, before you get puffy, remember, the Don’t Do’s allow the Get To’s. Realize that and this will sting less. It’s like football — the game is played in that green space between the sidelines. And once you agree to abide by the rules and stop arguing with the guys in the striped shirts, you get to play all out and use the gifts you’ve been given. Which are many.
That applies to SO many things; it’s so much bigger than kids and technology. This is about God and us. He is the Father telling us that there are things which are off limits to us now (or maybe forever), because they aren’t in our best interest, because He doesn’t want us to be hindered or distracted from playing the game – the real game. He wants us to get the MOST out of life, not the least. The “rules” God has given us aren’t to be rules, aren’t to rob us of our joy, aren’t to hold us back – they are to propel us forward, to increase our joy, to increase our freedom and maximize our potential in this life. They are His gifts to us, to help us and not to harm us.
We need to see that. We need to see that in our own walk with Jesus. We need our children to see that in their relationship with us (whether it’s our sons and daughters, or the children we teach, or the youth group we lead, or the neighbors and people we interact with). If we really, truly grasp that truth for ourselves, it will be so much easier to communicate it others.
Let me leave you with this final quote from his article – and I do so hope you’ll take the time to read it in full – read this as if God is speaking it to you:
Here’s the deal, you’re not a weekend hobby or a passing fancy. Not something I tend to in my spare time. You are magnificent. Without measure. Not for sale. And…you are standing at the threshold of manhood. With that in mind…I’m your biggest fan, and I want you to make it through the doorway — intact. I’m also your dad. God made me that. (It’s one of my greatest honors.) Therefore, I will not sell my parental rights at the altar of pop culture, or at the altar of what everyone else is doing, or the altar of indifference — which is the curse of this age. Trust me, … I’m anything but indifferent when it comes to you.
Here’s the link again: http://charlesmartinbooks.com/blog/entry/an_open_letter_to_my_boys