I recently taught a parenting class on Technology called Taming the Technology Monster. And, oh, what a monster it is…in many ways. But there are also ways we can use it to our advantage in the lives of our families. David talks a bit about that in Parenting In The Virtual Age. But, this week, I want to talk about one of the disadvantages…and one that we want to safeguard our children against.
Study after study in my research for the class talked about the importance—the necessity of thinking time. You know…the time we spend on a walk, in the shower, or in the car…those times when we have the proverbial “a-ha” moments. What the research says is that kids are so glued to their screens they are no longer having a-ha moments. They have lost the art of down-time, of time to be still and think. Instead, they’re shooting monsters, walking around as virtual penguins and watching Netflix in every spare moment of their schedule.
Years ago, I had the honor of taking a writing class from one of my heroes, Madeleine L’Engle. I remember her saying that the time waking up and falling asleep is time she considers “holy.” She said it was time when our conscious minds couldn’t silence God’s voice with the noise of our other chaotic thoughts. Our minds and hearts are stilled…and we can hear Him. My experience has sure proven this true. So many of my more creative ideas come in those times…when I have no distractions, aka no screens in front of me.
Let’s give children the same opportunity. Give your kids time to slow down, to think without being plugged into a power outlet. Carve out an hour a day or even a week where all screens in your home are off. Call it your “Creative Time” or something more catchy. (See, I’m in front of a screen). Children need the opportunity to stretch their legs as they play outside, but also opportunities to stretch their brains, to use their imaginations and to grow the wondrous gifts God has given them in their creative little minds. Maybe we do, as well.