Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Screen suggestions for students, well, perhaps more for the parents of students. All of us have noticed the exponential leap of digital devices creeping into our lives. I like the new devices. The digital things, screens of all sizes, and new tech can be terrific. But at some point, we can have too much of a good thing.
Paul was telling the believers at Philippi that moderation should clearly be part of their lives. We can go overboard – even with good things. Balance is needed in every area of the Christian life. If we are not careful the stuff we have will control us!
Here are some ideas to help moderate the tech stuff of life:
Ensure your child gets a full night of rest, have a media basket for all the cell phones and connected devices to rest at night. The temptation to communicate, surf, and feed possible addictions become less when a device is not accessible at night. Even if music or other things are used on a device to help a child go to sleep, it seems like a short-sighted fix. We should avoid being dependent on anything or anyone other than Jesus and His Word.
Increase your child’s GPA; get rid of the smart phone. With an increase of smart device use, the need for learning and knowing stuff for yourself tends to decrease. A study came out recently suggesting that students learn better from print on paper books. Even the talented people who create these devices and software do not allow their kids to have much screen time. They buy their kids printed books.
Work on social skills. When children are visiting your home, have a phone basket for the phones to go in. Have you noticed that with all the social media that people are actually less social in real life settings?
Teach your children the sacredness of worship by instructing them to not play on devices while at the church building. Turn them off. A print Bible has less possible distractions than a digital one.
Some have gone back to flip phones or what I call “dumb phones.” These phones revert back to the whole reason for a phone to begin with – calling and texting. It is good for children to know how to use devices without letting those devices control them.
We do allow our kids to have “tablet time” but it is limited with time increments and we do not only monitor, but we know all of the programs that we have installed on those devices. Parents cannot be too careful in guiding their children to enable and equip them for making right decisions.
Much of these principles can be applied to video games and screens of any size as well.
I hope these suggestions will help you find a healthy balance. Do you have several others? Post them here and they may be re-posted for others to see…
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
“The stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord as well as his steps.” —George Mueller
With summer break it is easy for parents to disengage, to go into autopilot and to lesson expectations for their children. Taking a break is not the same thing as being lazy. While taking a break is good, we should still have some basic Christian and family life expectations in our homes.
Here are some ideas for students this summer:
Take a break from school work, but keep reading the Bible.
Take a break from classes, but still attend Sunday School.
Take a break from Physical Education, but still exercise prayer and discernment.
Take a break from academic teachers, but never stop learning how to live from your parents.
Here are some ideas for parents this summer:
Keep structure in the home. While a little more relaxed there should still be a bedtime and wake up time and normal times for meals.
Communicate expectations concerning chores. Each child should have several jobs in the home that help you, that add value to them, and gives them a purpose and a role to fulfill in your home.
Have limits on media. Vegging out in front of a TV or a small media device for hours on end is unhealthy. Cultivate real people interaction. Give play time outside. Try a new sport. Take a hike or a bike ride. Have friends come over to do more than play video games. Get a ball and enjoy the weather.
Get several interesting books from the bookstore or the library and except your child to read 1 or 2 books during the summer months. Ensure the mind stays sharp!
My prayer is that you will have a safe, fun, and God-honoring summer break!
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Proverbs 10:5
Do you find the summer months to be extra busy? With school out of session, most people are out of routines. Some people get more accomplished, while others get less accomplished. Some get up earlier to work or play and others remain sleeping!
I see an increase in business for sure. With brighter sunshine mornings to extended daylight evenings, there seems to be more to do and a little more daylight to do it.
For our church, we see more opportunity to witness and take the Gospel to the households in our community. In the winter it is more difficult to share door to door with people avoiding opening their doors to talk as it lets the cold in. The winter is more slippery and I have fallen on ice several times out visiting.
That leaves us the warm weather sun kissed days of summer as the best time to plant the seed of the Word of God, water the fields with the Gospel and see the Lord add to the Harvest.
I encourage you to participate in giving out the Gospel this summer. Go door to door. Hand out some tracts. Bring someone to church with you.
While boating, fishing, camping, hiking, 4 wheeling and more are at their peak – it is also the peak time to do the work of the ministry in telling others about Jesus.
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…” Acts 20:7
It became an every week event. God’s people would gather in a designated area to hear preaching, pray together, sing to the Lord, and to enjoy encouraging fellowship. It was every Sunday.
Depending on the church, there would be a pastor such as James preaching. Sometimes it was Paul as he traveled through. Others rose up as pastors, missionaries and evangelists to declare God’s Word to those who gathered as the “Church.”
Church attendance is something that should be on each Christians weekly agenda. For Sunday worship to be truly a “day given to the Lord” then a plan of action would help. Sunday church should be greatly anticipated in our households with pleurae and expectations for God to work in our lives.
The following are methods that I use to prepare and get ready for attending Sunday church services. They are not “rocket science” but proper preparation does require personal and family discipline.
I do not start major home improvement projects Saturday if they have no definitive stopping point. If in planning it looks like a project will take a lot more time than I hoped or if it would leave the house in conditions that would distract or even prevent the family from being able to easily go to church I will save that part of the project for another day. If it can be started and finished, or even “paused” by around 2:00 PM then it is a project I may try to tackle. Projects may take more time, but our children will be less likely to misunderstand our priorities.
I leave a “margin” for time and distance when traveling so that we would arrive home in time on Saturday to set everything back in its place so that Sunday morning preparation is a breeze. Late Saturday night arrives home from long or short trips are avoided.
I check the “weather” ahead of time. Forecasts are educated guesses, but I like an idea as to how I will need to dress. Hot or cold, rainy or snowy? It makes a difference in how you prepare for a day. Check Saturday night if you can. This helps with planning what to wear. Selecting the cloths you plan to wear the night before can also be a help. Some people will set them “out” to be easy to find.
I go to sleep early on Saturday night. 9:00 PM is a good time for me. Perhaps because I am the one preaching. A low energy guy like me needs good rest to preach. You and I have both noticed Sunday School teachers that could use more energy Sunday morning. Even those not preaching or teaching would do well to be well rested so they can be more engaged with the events of the church services. Our children go to sleep earlier than I do.
I like to eat a breakfast with protein, get some “prayer” walking (about a mile) in, and read a chapter or two out of the Bible in addition to a few moments of prayer. Message preparation is at a different time for me. These are things I do if I am preaching or not preaching in the church services.
I know where my Bible is. Have your Bible ready to go. Your Bible and the Bibles of each family member should have a regular place it is set when not in use. For me it is on the corner of a kitchen counter top. Every time.
I leave the TV off. Some of our senior saints enjoy some of the Bible teachers on TV, and that can be good. I would encourage you to avoid watching cartoons, turning on a movie, or being absorbed by the “news.” I glance at the major headlines online to ensure I know of any major attacks, events, or trouble that people may ask me about – but Sunday morning is not the time to study the problems of the world on the TV. There are many online radio stations that offer encouraging, conservative, and worshipful music that may help. Please see the page of this site about “Christian Radio.”
I do not play video games on Sunday morning. Many teenagers today are “glued” to their phones playing video games. I encourage each parent to take the phones away or have them turned off. Some teens play during the ride to church, all during Sunday School, and even the church service. Sometimes when greeting teens in the pre-service, it is difficult to get their attention to say “hi” because they are so focused on their game. That is not a good way to be “prepared for meeting with God.” Parents and adults are just as prone to “zone out” on Facebook. A distracted heart is not as inclined to “hear” God’s message or as engaged in the church service.
I avoid the rush. That rushed feeling can be avoided if you leave the house at a reasonable time. If it takes you 20 minutes to drive to church, then leave 30 minutes before. Even if you live close to the church like I do, add time or “margin” so that you are not rushed. Kids who are “rushed” to Sunday School and church and still show up late do not receive as much from the lessons because their hearts are racing, they have probably been yelled at by a parent to “move faster” and their mind is not as engaged as it would be if they got there early. “On time” is really 15 minutes before the service or class begins. Try that for a while and see how it calms your spirit.
I enjoy a nap Sunday afternoon following our family meal. Sometimes we go out to eat. We avoid major projects, yard work, and big outdoor activities that could cause a person to not be ready for the Sunday Evening Church services. We have found it best not to get on a boat or take a hike Sunday afternoon. Choirs, fellowships and the church services come fast. Being involved is terrific but it does take effort.
There are so many distractions from giving a day of worship to the Lord. With a little discipline, we can be ready with hearts prepared to worship Jesus. With better planning than you do for school and work, you can plan and prepare for making it to church services on time and ready to learn, worship, connect to others and grow. I hope these ideas that have helped me and my family are a blessing to you as you get ready for church this Sunday.