The 2008 Summer Olympics are ready to kick off in Beijing, China. The opening ceremonies are this Friday, and will kick off competitions in dozens of different events. The bill for the opening ceremonies is said to be in excess of $100 million dollars! What an amazing amount of money. That’s a huge sum to spend, even for a permanent structure. As I recall, LP Field in Nashville, where the Tennessee Titans play was built for somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million. That is certainly more money, but when you consider that it is a permanent structure that can hold 70,000 people for a variety of other events in addition to football games, that looks like a bargain compared to the money that will be spent on one, single EVENT. Wow. That’s a lot of fireworks and special effects.
Today, I’m asking you the question, “how do you spend your resources?”. Specifically, how do you spend your parenting resources? What are my parenting resources you ask? I’m no expert, but I think one very important resource is your brain. You know that blob that floats in your skull, that great central processing unit for your existence? Our brains are an amazing part of the overall system of our bodies, and experts tell us that we’ve only tapped into a small percentage of the brain’s full capabilities.
Since your brain is so important for all of life, it makes sense then to me that our brain is one of the easiest and most important parenting tool we have at our disposal. To begin implementing this resource in our parenting we have to shift our thinking to be intentional about using this resource in a most efficient way. If we don’t make an intentional and determined choice to do this, we’ll fail. It takes more than words or thoughts, it may take serious change. This may seem simplistic, but how many times have we repeated the same mistakes personally or as a parent, knowing full well, what the result will be. We have to change our wiring mentally to start using our brain adequately as a parent. One big change to make in our wiring is to start paying attention to our kids. I know you love them, and protect them from sharks and rabid possums and such, but we need to pay attention to the things that they do, watch and say. It’s not enough to just bring your kids to church.
If we allow their brains to be filled with several hours of media per day, how much of a chance can we possibly believe the one-two hours of church each WEEK can have any kind of lasting impact? That’s not enough time. It would be like planting a beautiful new bush in your yard and watering it one time, one day a week. The plant will die in the summer heat, and the teaching that your kids receive at church will die if not watered and fertilized by you as their parent. We need to stay tuned in to their lives to be able to pick up on subtle developmental changes that occur as they grow. What causes those subtle changes? Is it the job you do as a parent, or something else that they take in? We also need to use our brains in helping kids make wise choices about the media they take in. If we let them, kids will watch tv, play video games and surf the internet until their eyes, ears and hands are worn out and they fall asleep, but this isn’t good for them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some media myself, and we have television, internet and video games in our home. Therefore, I’m not suggesting some “quaker-like” cocoon surrounding our kids, keeping them from experiencing the culture we live in. I’m simply urging you to use the first parental resource, your brain, to set boundaries with your kids. Set a time limit on their media intake, follow-up daily about the things they are learning at church, or the things you are learning at church or in your quiet time.
It takes a lot of resources to consistently involve your children in what goes on at church and it can be expensive in more ways than just financial. Think about the example about the spending on the Olympic opening ceremonies and the cost of a permanent structure like LP Field that is available for use year after year from thousands of people again. At the end of your parenting career, that is when your kids are grown, don’t you want to be able to look back and know you spent your resources wisely? Don’t be guilty of spending them all in one very small portion of their lives. Spend those resources in ways that will make a lasting difference, and you will be the kind of parent God desires for us to be as written in Deuteronomy 6.