I remember watching The Jetson’s growing up. I appreciated it, but I loved SilverHawks (go ahead, make fun), Transformers and Star Wars. I am a big fan of TV shows and movies that dream about what the future will be like. One of my favorite ideas though is flying cars (I thought the Hoverboard was pretty cool, too. The one from Back to the Future, not those fake ones on Amazon that catch fire…) It’s exciting when I see companies like Uber investing in fururistic ideas that can and will make a difference. I’m serious about this, flying cars (though at least 10 years away) are something that could change things for the better, and I’m ready to see it happen.
I just watched a Today Show piece on limiting your technology intake, but it seemed extreme even to me. The person featured was taking a completely disconnected approach. She deleted her social media (Jenna Hoda deleted her social media too, but they had another lady on that took it further) from her phone and left her phone at home when she went out. In other words she reverted to the days when she had only a home phone. Here is the problem. That isn’t going to last. I am guilty too. I have talked in the past about staying away from new forms of connecting, but the problem is they aren’t going away.
You need Snapchat. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or Twitter. Or all of them if you are a real overachiever! Before you get your defenses up about how you’re too old for Snapchat or how you can’t stand the rants people post on Facebook or how you don’t understand the draw of Twitter, hear me out! If we want to know more about teenagers and their culture, we need to be where they are. And they are on social media all the time. According to Pew Study in 2015, 92% of teens say that they go online daily while 24% of those teenagers are online “almost constantly.”
Becoming a father has taught me so much about myself, mainly my weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is impatience. When dealing with discipline issues with my kiddos, I tend to default towards more pragmatic methods like raising my voice, sending kids to their rooms, and not giving my kids the chance to talk or explain themselves. Typically this is done in the name of “teaching respect” but often has the opposite effect. When I get into the mode of punitive discipline, I sense my kids withdrawing from me, and often just tuning me out. You see, I have smart kids. We all do. They have an intuition that goes way beyond our adult minds. While we are thinking about what needs to be done next and are always in a hurry, our kids are masters of what it means to be present in the “here and now”. Our kids don’t have to worry much about what is next (though they do ask about it some), so they are much more in tune with the feelings and actions of the adults in their lives.
Welcome to a new year! If your’s started anything like mine, it was not as planned. Just before midnight, my wife and I had the opportunity to clean up after a sick kid. But you know what – it didn’t ruin our evening, and I would contribute that in large part to her but also to some established guidelines we have in our home. These are a work in progress for us, and I hope they will be for you, too. Whether you apply this as a parent, youth minister, teacher or counselor, I believe this list can help you literally keep the peace.
I am going to geek out a little bit for this post. The new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, is coming out as you read this, and it seemed like a great time to reflect on past movies and the scenes that stick out. I will leave most of the reflection to you but join me in reminiscing, and then if you feel so inclined, read on about how this connects to working with teenagers below my list. In my mind, they are really all equally good scenes even if all of the movies are not equally good movies. Just a warning, there are spoilers ahead, so read with caution if you haven’t seen Star Wars!