Thank you to all my faithful readers who have been patiently waiting for me to return from paternity leave. No better way to start than a self-confession: I use my smart phone quite a bit. It is how I call my wife & family, keep up with friends & even stay connected with my brother in London. It is my go to camera for the kid pics I saturate Facebook with. I use it for a Bible sometimes, a video/gaming device to quiet a 3 year old or maybe even a game or two for when I have a quiet moment. It is very useful and aids in my ministry daily but I witnessed something very troubling last week and I could not help but notice similarities to our ministry as youth leaders.
As leaders to young people we are probably surrounded by more tech involvement than most other people on a daily basis but along with that comes inherent dangers…and not even talking about the bad things one could find on the internet. While taking my boys to a playground last week I noticed something very disturbing: (1) 9 out of 11 parents spent more time looking down at their phones than they did after their children (2) when they did interact it normally consisted of walking over with said phone and asking their children to cheese for the camera. I’m obviously all for cute kid pictures but at that moment I was convicted to not take staged photo outside of family/school photos. If we are really concerned with the narcissism level of our young generation, then we have to teach them different. Right? More importantly:
Do not let your youth memorize the top of your head!
I do not mean to come off as a doomsayer but I believe we have a very good opportunity to combat this dissociative behavior & bring up a generation of holy disciples. I want our young kids to grow up and have people respect them for their ability to relate to others (something going by the wayside the more we disconnect with those right around us). Help EQUIP our young people to be seen as different so that others may ask of them ‘what is it about them?’. Break down the ability to create masks and don’t emphasize looking good for a picture to go on FB while doing what you want the rest of the time. Our young people are looking to us for examples of adult relationships. Our young people are looking to us for direction so make sure you’re giving them the right one. In the end; it’s the relationships that will make all the difference.