I have decided to choose my kids over Facebook. In reality the choice isn't just about Facebook but the many trivial distractions that take my focus away from my children. Picture the scene for a moment – it might be familiar to you – I’m sitting in the playroom of our home, my soon-to-be three-year-old is playing with her kitchen set and my seven-month-old is chewing on some toy nearby. I’m physically present with them but my attention is given to the 12 inch computer screen in front of me.
My eldest daughter looks up and calls “mama.” Even though I answer her right away, my eyes remain on the screen and she knows that I’m not ready to hear her; so she continues to call, stringing one “mama” after another until the irritation makes it impossible for me to look away. So I fix my gaze and – perhaps with some frustration – insist on her request. I would love to say that this scene is a rare occurrence but it’s sadly not.
Let me give you a little context. I worked full-time in the church before giving birth to my eldest daughter. While I was – and continue to be – certain that my role gloried God and fulfilled His purpose, I was also sure that my primary position was caretaker of my baby. My husband and I sought the Lord in much prayer and were beyond thrilled when the church welcomed and supported a part-time, mostly telecommuting position.
I was blessed with the opportunity to be a mom who graciously nurtured her child throughout the course of the day. It wasn't long however until I saw myself on the couch with an opened laptop, a baby playing by herself and a toddler reciting the word “mama” like a nursery rhyme. Sadly the allure of social media, the internal pressure to complete a work assignment and even the well-intended desire to study God’s word competed with my children for my attention.
I understand from seasoned parents that these years are fleeting. It’s been said that in parenting, the days are long but the years are short. There is a day coming, not far from today, when my daughters will be taller than me. May the Lord help me to capture this time with them in a way that glorifies Him. I pray that I wouldn't squander these years in the misuse of time.
Here I think of 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. We learn there that God uses human instruments to build His church. We know that parents are called to be faithful construction workers, building up their children in the instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). The salvation of our children is the work of God alone. Yet, He might use our faithful parenting as the means toward that end.
There is a day coming when the quality of my parenting (regardless of the outcome) will be tested by the fire of God’s discerning judgment. The materials used in building up my children – whether they be gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw – will be revealed (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). My prayer is to hear “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)! I want to be found a steward who has tended well to her Master’s work. So I’m choosing my kids over Facebook.
Picture a different scene: Mama wakes up at 6:00 AM and has two hours to pray, read scripture and write. This time can also include checking social media and/or sites and blogs that I find useful. At 8:00 AM, when my family wakes up, the laptop is closed and I’m ready to give my full attention to them. The laptop reemerges around 2:00 PM (naptime!) and I dedicate the next three or so hours to my part-time work at the church.
I understand that there will be days when this scene is altered by one circumstance or another. The hope however is for grace, faithfulness and discipline – not the keeping of a tight legalistic schedule. So I’m fixing my eyes on eternity and on Him who is able to keep me from falling (Jude 1:24-25). I want to do well for the Lord and I know that He is able to help me. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in the weakness of a tech-age mother (2 Corinthians 12:9).