Posts Tagged children

Children and the Internet: Parental Ethics – Robert Marsden Knight*

 

DRMONTYThis past Christmas my twin 6th grader step-grand-daughters got new i-phones. They weren’t the first among their friends to be entrusted with such a precarious resource. So they were especially excited, given the waiting involved, to have joined their peers in further engaging the ubiquitous computerized culture of these days.

The girls’ mom and dad are hardly “helicopter parents.”  They enjoy their children with a fair and firm hand, providing sufficient family structure, emotional warmth, clear parental boundaries and notable generosity.

I wasn’t, however, expecting a “code of ethics” to be included along with the new i-phones, reminding the girls that responsibility is meant always to be partner with privilege. Their dad said that he got the “contract” from a friend, another father, who got it from a local intermediate school guidance counselor. The girls were required to read and sign the “contract.”

I was so impressed with this particular parental intervention, I couldn’t imagine it not being something thoughtful and helpful to share with other parents of children relative to the age of my step-grand-daughters. Given that children’s access to the morally ambiguous internet in our time is surely a concern to any responsible parent or other supportive, engaged adult.

Cell Phone Agreement

I, ____________________, acknowledge the following:

First, modern technology allows me to electronically communicate with others;

Second, electronic communications can be monitored and recorded by anyone at any time;

Third, nothing can truly be erased in cyberspace;

Fourth, my parents are doing their best to raise me with good character, morals, and values;

Fifth, since my parents have provided me the use of a cell phone, I am to use it responsibly and respectfully;

I,____________________, do hereby agree to the following;

  1. I understand that the cell phone is the property of my parents and I am being allowed to use it with my parents’ permission and any mis-use of it will immediately result in loss of the privilege of using it.
  2. I understand that every text message I receive, or send, may be read by my parents, teachers, and law enforcement officers. If asked, I agree to give my phone to adults in charge without any question or hesitation.
  3. I’ll not send text or generate anything in cyberspace containing profanity of sexually suggestive messages. If crude/inappropriate pictures or messages are sent to me, I’ll let my parents know so we can discuss and take action, if necessary.
  4. I agree text messages/calls received or sent by me can be monitored by my parents. I’ll also not use my phone to communicate with strangers or people I have not met in person and know.
  5. I’ll not read/sent text messages or make/receive calls during the hours that I am at school, or doing any kind of job (homework, chores, babysitting, etc.)
  6. If my grades at school fall or my performance in other activities is affected by the use of the phone, I will agree to further restrictions of its use until the problem is resolved.
  7. I’ll not read/send texts or make/receive calls during a meal with others.
  8. While visiting with or riding in a car with adults, I’ll turn my cell phone off and put it away unless its use is necessary and polite.
  9. I’ll not read/send texts or make/receive calls after _______ on weeknights/school nights. On weekends, holidays and summer breaks, I’ll not do either, as referenced above, after an agree upon time as set by my parents.
  10. My phone will go to sleep each night, just as I do, in a place other than where I sleep.
  11. I’ll not read/send texts or make/receive calls while I am running, riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or (in the future) driving any vehicle.
  12. I’ll not use my phone to gossip, spread rumors, defame or tear down another person or people.
  13. I’ll pay for a new phone with my own money if my phone is lost, damaged or destroyed.
  14. I’ll not create any secret or second accounts on any apps including Facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat, periscope, or any other applications that allow communications with others by word or pictures.
  15. My parents shall have all passwords for any apps on my phone and will have access to it at any time.

By signing below, I agree to abide by the rules of this contract and further agree that a cell phone is a privilege and not a right and its use can be taken away if any of these rules are broken.

Agreed to and accepted this _____ day of _________, 2015

*Robert Marsden Knight is a pastoral counselor in Charleston, South Carolina.

www.drmontyknightcounseling.com

 

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Thanksgiving Day, 2060 – David Gushee – Baptist News Global

Thanksgiving Day, 2060

On marriage, covenant and Thanksgiving Day, 2060.

By David Gushee

Follow David: @dpgushee

My wife Jeanie displays a famous Norman Rockwell painting every year around this time. It depicts the patriarch and matriarch of a large clan gathered around the Thanksgiving table preparing to tuck into a freshly cooked turkey.

Except from the turkey’s perspective, it’s a happy scene. And it’s a scene Jeanie and I often talk about when doing marriage preparation work with young couples. We say something like this:

Look closely at this scene. See the aged grandparents surrounded by their children and grandchildren at the Thanksgiving table. Everything you are doing right now to get ready for marriage is, in a sense, preparation for that day. Right now, Thanksgiving Day 2060 is the furthest thing from your mind. You are thinking about your wedding, your honeymoon, and … well, many things other than what will happen in 2060. And nothing in our culture leads you to think about 45 years down the road.

But marriage is never just about the couple. If you are blessed with children they will become your greatest responsibility. And one aspect of your responsibility to them will be to exert every effort to keep your marriage covenant healthy and whole through your entire lives and thus much of their lives. Your marriage is the scaffolding on which they will construct their wedding,lives. Your practice of marriage will become their default understanding of marriage. Having you happy and together and devoted to each other over their childhood and much of their lifetime will provide for them an indispensable model and an equally indispensable sense of security and order. If your marriage shatters, their sense of security and order will also shatter. You are playing for keeps here.

The dirty little secret of the wedding day is that while it may seem to be about your impossibly youthful and beautiful selves it is actually at least as much about the even more impossibly youthful and beautiful creatures you will bring into the world and raise to adulthood. If all goes well, they too will marry and start their families and then you will be grandparents like this couple in the picture here.

This is one reason why marriages take place in public. Indeed, it is the main reason why the state cares about marriage at all. Because marriage has social and intergenerational significance, not just personal significance. Marriage is not just an extended dating relationship with an oddly expensive celebration day. Marriage is a link in the chain crossing all generations. It is a baton being handed from one set of adults to other young adults who will bring forth into the world the next generation that will one day be adults. You have your own responsibilities that commence right now and that you cannot avoid.

This is one major reason why Christian faith teaches that marriage is a sacred covenant. People date as long as it is fun for both. People in a secular culture marry when, and for as long as, it suits them. But Christians make sacred covenant oaths to God, each other, and the church community. It is perfectly natural for God-created, relational-sexual adults to want to find a suitable partner (Gen. 2:15) to love and make love with. But human beings are also sinners. Our sinfulness affects all our relationships, including (perhaps especially) our most intimate ones. You are blissfully happy today, perhaps. But one day you won’t be. One day you’ll be very frustrated with this or that thing about your spouse. One day you might find another person enter your field of vision in a way that entices you. One day you will grow bored. One day you will grow weary of conflict. One day you will wish that your character, both its good and bad parts, was not so clearly known by your partner. One day you might just feel like blowing up your life and starting over. And all this will one day be true of your spouse as well.

But if you have exchanged genuine sacred oaths before God and with each other, and if you are people of the character who mean what they say and do what they vow, you both will realize that on the day you married you made promises that you cannot now break. You said: I will be with you for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live. You promised to love, honor, and cherish each other. You promised fidelity and exclusivity, not just when you feel like it, but when you don’t. And so, when a hard day or hard season comes along, you will remind yourselves of the covenant you made. Your covenant — and the God of covenant love — will secure and hold you. Within the shelter of that covenant you will ride out the hard times. You will return to each other again and again.

And then, before you know it, you will look up and it will be 2060. It will be Thanksgiving Day and you will have gray hair. You will by God’s grace have children and grandchildren gathered around a table groaning with food and filled with laughter. You will look at each other and think: we did it. Our covenant held. And many generations will call you blessed.

In honor of my late father-in-law, Dr. W. Vance Grant, Jr., 1924-2014, and my late mother, Janice Elizabeth Gushee, 1933-2014.

David P. Gushee is senior columnist for faith, politics and culture for Baptist News Global. He is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University.

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International Kindness Day – November 13, 2014

International Kindness Day

How will you celebrate International Kindness Day on November 13th? If you are like most other people, you will simply ignore it.

It is not really that hard to celebrate it. Just take an extra minute to be polite. Say something encouraging to a counter person.  Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. Give an older person your place in line. Open a door for someone. Say something affirming to your children or someone else’s children. Leave a bigger tip than usual. Call an old friend. Visit someone who doesn’t get many visitors. Write a thank you note. You will feel good at the end of the day.

Dr. Arthur Caliando, retired pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York, said it well. “Be kinder than you think it is necessary to be because the other person needs it more than you know.”

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Reduced to Tears – Bishop Stacy Sauls

Reduced to Tears Used by permission of Bishop Sauls

Posted: 07/14/2014 2:39 pm EDT Updated: 07/14/2014 2:59 pm EDT

 

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” (Rom. 8:15)

At the moment hundreds of children from Central America are risking a long, dangerous trip without adults to come to the United States to escape oppressive poverty, violence, and exploitation. They are receiving a mixed welcome, sometimes with compassion and sometimes with hostility. St. Paul’s words seem relevant to me.

The spirit of adoption is something I know a little bit about. Here’s how I learned.

Thirty-one years ago my wife Ginger and I were in the process of completing the home study process for the adoption of our first child. We had had all the interviews. The social worker had come to visit our house. (It was, by the way, one of only three times in my adult life that I’ve cleaned the oven. I don’t know why I thought our case worker would be checking to see if our oven was clean, but that is what the words “home study” conjured up in my mind anyway.)

The final interviews had come. These were to be with Ginger and me separately. I assume the reason for that is that if one of us had not really wanted to go through with the adoption we could bring a halt to the process without having to reveal the complete truth to our spouse. In our case, we were both as committed, and anxious in every sense, as ever.

I was to have my interview first, and I promised to stop at a pay phone (before the days of cell phones) to call Ginger and tell her what the social worker had asked on my way back to the office. I did. Ginger, in turn, was to call me when her interview, scheduled late in the afternoon, was complete.

The time of Ginger’s interview came and went. There was no call. I waited and waited. No word. I began to get concerned. My anxieties ran rampant. I feared that the social worker had completed Ginger’s interview and said something like Ginger would make a wonderful parent but that I was a complete Bozo who had tried to trick her into thinking we had a clean oven. I imagined Ginger crying because of the disappointment and too upset to call me.

Finally at about 5:30 Ginger arrived at my office door. She had red, puffy eyes. She had clearly been crying. I thought my worst fears were confirmed. Instead, however, she stepped in and said, “You have a son.” And she pulled out a picture of a Korean baby boy. We know him as Andrew. At that point I started to cry. It was all I could do. People from the office came in to see if I was alright. It was very embarrassing.

It turns out that the social worker’s last question to Ginger, as it had been to me, was, “So, are you ready for a baby?” When Ginger responded, “Yes,” the social worker had said, “Good, because I have a referral for you,” at which point she pulled out a file and a picture. Ginger had, of course, met this news with tears of joy, and in all the excitement she couldn’t remember exactly how to get to my office. She had been driving around a long time hoping to recognize something and be able to find the way.

Now, here’s the rest of the story. Ginger is the emotional one in our family. She could cry at the drop of hat. Happy or sad made no difference. Tears were appropriate for any occasion. Not so for me. Up until that point in our lives together, I had never cried. Not once. I didn’t think I had it in me. But when the news of Andrew came, the floodgates broke open. I started to cry, and try as I might, I couldn’t stop. I would think I had myself under control, and we would try to call someone to tell them the news. I would be prepared to speak, but when someone answered the phone, I would start again. I would have to hand the phone back to Ginger. I was reduced to nothing but tears.

People come to the United States from faraway places for many reasons. Some come to escape persecution. Others come in search of freedom. Many come in search of a better life. Some are oppressed. Some are displaced by war. Our son Andrew, and later his brother Matthew, came to complete a family.

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