What distracted parents can learn from Jesus


Put the cell phone down and practice what you preach

By Kathryn Glanzer

Studies and articles are telling us about the effects of technology and social media on future generations. Beyond the instant gratification of finding answers to questions with ease on the nearest smart phone, youth can communicate with others through multiple venues. Of course, this is raising red flags for people across the globe.

Aside from the evident concern of developing an addiction to social media or identity narcissism, parents are trying to figure out how to teach their children to balance a seemingly impossible arena of information. However, teaching an applicable Christian view of technology and social media dips into uncharted waters. After all, our parents didn’t have to teach us how to protect our identities from online predators, let alone how to consider our Christian influence on Twitter.

Regrettably, we are the most distracted generation of parents so far. We are unnecessarily busy and unavailable throughout the day. From an early age, children are put on hold while parents answer the rings and beeps of their phones, inadvertently training young minds to believe they are second in importance.

A few weeks ago, I asked my daughter to put her phone in the living room before coming to the dinner table. When she came to the table, she pointed out that both her father and I had our phones on the table. I hadn’t even noticed. We were so distracted that we became hypocritical. Later during that same meal, my son asked a question and we reached for our phones to Google for an answer. My daughter “ahemmed” from her seat and lifted an eyebrow. Caught.

We can do better than this. Our children deserve better than this. Now, let me be clear; I am not suggesting that cell phones are designed by the devil as a tool to destroy my family. But I do believe that when the devil fails to make us evil, he prods us to be distracted and busy. As parents, we can do as much in training our children how to choose moments of focused time with one another as how to use social media appropriately. Most of all, as Christians who serve an overwhelmingly attentive God, we need to be examples of focused and attentive love with everyone in our lives. Have we lost the art of personally focused time with our family and friends? Not yet.

So, what is the solution? My daughter and I have been debating whether or not Jesus would have used social media if it had been available to him. Imagine Jesus tweeting, “Teaching @ the Mount today! Crazy Crowded! #loavesandfishes #comehungry.” His ministry would have expanded faster than a disciple could post a video of a blind man being healed. While hypothetical, this gets to the heart of modern Christian parents’ battles: Jesus didn’t use or teach about how to manage technology.

But he did teach us how to treat one another. In the end, we need to teach our children the same core lessons we were taught. When Jesus asked the little children to come to him in Matthew 19, he was focused on them. He didn’t Tweet it or Facebook it. He took his time to lay his hands on them and pray for them. He didn’t worry about being socially acceptable, about selfies or how his disciples would write about him later. He simply focused on and loved those around him in that moment. It is basic, and we don’t even have to Google this to know how to apply it.

Kathryn Glanzer and her family attend Ebenfeld MB Church of rural Hillsboro, Kan.  


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