Session 3- Daily Life
Tech Around the Clock
On average, how much time do your children spend on an electric device on a typical weekday? How much time do you spend on an electric device?
Do you check your phone within the first hour of being awake?
What is the last thing you do before bed?
Do you sleep with your phone next to you?
4. Waking & Sleeping
We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.
“[Sleep] is the way our bodies deal with the immense complexity and demands of growth of all kinds—intellectual, physical, emotion, and even spiritual. Heart, mind, soul, and strength all are nurtured while we sleep.” pg 112
“Screens also interrupt our sleep by bringing before us the constant stream of entertainment, titillation, communication, and demands of our daytime lives.”
· How has technology impacted your own sleep patterns or quality of sleep?
5. Learning & Working
We aim for “no screens before double digits” at school and at home.
“The best and richest experiences of learning, it turns out, are embodied ones. They require and build on physical experience and activity. This begins with the most basic things typical children learn in their first years of life.” pg 124
· What is the impact of technology on this statement?
6. The Good News About Boredom
We us screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.
“The problem isn’t with our devices themselves—it’s with the way we use them. We simply have to turn off the easy fixes and make media something we use on purpose and rarely rather than aimlessly and frequently.” pg 148
· How does your family approach the idea of boredom in your homes?
7. The Deep End of the (Car) Pool
Car time is conversation time.
“We miss out on cultivating the virtue of patience, the kind of patience that can help us survive or even enjoy a long car ride.” pg 159
· What is one way you can create space for caring conversations in the car?
8. Naked and Unashamed
Spouses have one another's passwords and total access to children's devices.
“We rob the easy-everywhere world of its power to seduce us not so much by the rules we put in place as by the dependence on one another we cultivate—depending on one another to help us be our best selves, growing in wisdom and courage and serving one another in a world that wants to make us into shallow slaves of the self." pg 179
Session 2- Three Key Decisions
The Value of Family
Have you written out a family mission statement or purpose?
How much would you say your family plays in your own identity?
How often do you talk about the topics on page 45?
1. Choosing Character
Developing Wisdom and Courage together as a family.
“Family is about the forming of persons. Being a person is a gift, like life itself—we are born as human beings made in the image of God.” pg 52
· Would you agree with this statement?
· What ways do we form persons in our families?
“Wisdom is not just knowledge—mastering information about particular aspects of the world. Wisdom is understanding. It’s the kind of understanding, specifically, that guides action.” pg 53
· How would you define wisdom?
“In the most intimate setting of the household, where the deepest human work of our lives is meant to take place, technology distracts and displaces us far too often, undermining the real work of becoming persons of wisdom and courage.” pg 66
· Where do you see this in your own home?
2. Shaping Space
We want to create more than we consume. So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.
“Fill the center of your life together—the literal center, the heart of your home, the place where you spend the most time together— with the things that reward creativity, relationship, and engagement.” pg 71
- What is in the center of your home? Do they reward creativity, relationship, and engagement?
- What are some steps to create a space where these things happen?
3. Structuring Time
We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play and rest together.
“Once we have made the choice to give our devices a rest—once we have gotten over the crucial, core discomfort of declaring that we will not attend to them for extended periods, every single day, week, and year—we are far more likely to live with them in restful ways the rest of the time.” pg 102
- What is the reality of this work and rest rhythm from technology in your family? What do you see as the roadblocks?
Session 1: Intro
Technology is in its proper place when…
· It helps us bond with real people we have been given to love.
· It starts great conversations.
· It helps us take care of the fragile bodies we inhabit.
· It helps us acquire a skill and mastery of domains that are the glory of human culture.
· It helps us cultivate awe for the created world we are part of and responsible for stewarding.
“The proper place for technology won’t be exactly the same for every family, and it is not the same at every season of life.” pg 19
“So figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula.” pg 19
· When has a device made your life easier?
· When have you become aware of the control your device has over you or your family?
“Parents know we need help.
We love the way devices make our lives easier amid the stress and busyness that fills our days. We love the way screens can, almost magically, absorb our children’s attention and give us a few moments of quiet in the car or before dinner.” pg 25
“Parents feel out of control, hopelessly overmatched by the deluge of devices.” pg 26
“The kids know we need help too.
They see how addicted their own parents are to devices.” pg 26
“[Kids] have been competing with their parents’ screens for attention their whole lives. They see their parents tethered to their laptops, trying to stay ahead of work that has spilled out of the office into evenings and weekends.” Pg 27
Technology and Parenting
Imagine how your parents may have answered this question.
Do you feel the same stress in parenting with technology?
Why or why not?
“Our homes aren’t meant to be just refueling stations, places where we and our devices rest briefly, top up our charge, and then go back to frantic activity. They are meant to be places where the very best of life happens.” Pg 29
“Nudges: small changes in the environment around us that make it easier for us to make the choices we want to make or want others to make. Nudges don’t generally make us do anything, but they make certain choices easier and more likely” Pg 33
1. Choose Character– cultivate wisdom and courage.
2. Shape Space– put development of character and creativity at the hear of our home.
3. Structure Time– build rhythms that make it possible to get to know one another, God and the world in a deeper way.
The Tech-Wise Commitments
1. We develop wisdom and courage together as a family.
2. We want to create more than we consume.
3. We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest.
4. We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.
5. We aim for “no screens before double digits” at school and at home.
6. We use screens for a purpose and we use them together.
7. Car time is conversation time.
8. Spouses have one another’s passwords and total access to children’s devices.
9. We learn to sing together.
10. We show up in person for the big events of life.
Faith Tool Focus
Your family is searching for transformation, though they might not phrase it like that. They might say, "I wish we did more things together" or they might ask, "Why don't we ever pray together?" When our kids ask those kinds of questions, they're looking for us to create moments of transformation, opportunities to connect family together, and grow closer to God.
As our children get older, our conversations with them change. We use different language with younger children, and we discuss more abstract concepts with our older teens. Connecting with our kids is essential, but it's not always easy.
Writing letters to our children is an effective way to share deep ideas with them in a way that isn't awkward. Look for moments when you see God working in your child, and then write them a letter about what you're seeing. Birthdays, baptismal birthday, and events like heading off to camp or a mission trip are all good opportunities to write a letter.
As you write your child a letter, consider these guiding ideas.
Faith Tool Focus
"Testifying" doesn't have to be about standing at a microphone and giving your testimony. You don't have to walk up to a stranger and start an evangelism conversation to testify, either. Testifying is simply taking the opportunity to share the goodness of God in your life. When we engage in "testifying moments" with our students, we're helping them see the power of remembering God's actions in our lives.
God is present and at work in our lives and the world every second, yet we are rarely aware of God's presence. One simple tradition that you can start as a family is to create a daily habit of sharing "God Sightings."
Start the tradition of sharing moments when each of you has "seen God" as you've walked along in life. This sharing can happen at breakfast, before you go to bed, or at any other opportune time when the entire family is together. Use this tradition to build stronger God talk and proved space for testimony in your home.
Use these questions to help guide your sharing:
This past weekend we had lower attendance, those who attended decided to postpone this week's session to next week. So, the new schedule will be:
December 6- Chapter 4- Testify
December 13- Chapter 5- Transformation
December 20- Chapter 6 & 7- Hope For Tomorrow and Final Reflections
Our discussion this week encouraged us to take the steps to starting having the "Behind-the-wall" conversations with our youth/children. Behind-the-wall conversations help us bring meaning to our faith, traditions and why they are important to us personally. Realizing the first few times these conversations may fail, we are starting to create a space or culture allowing our youth/children to ask questions and seek their own understanding in the world around them.
We also talked about how "Behind-the-wall" conversations do not need to defend against "On-the-wall" conversations (conversations happening in culture and the world). "Behind-the-wall" conversations can help make sense of "On-the-wall" conversations in a way where God is infused within the world all around us and is telling God's story everywhere.
With the upcoming holidays take some time to ask your extended family members to talk about their faith and why they find it important. Ask them to share a struggle they have had as well as a time where they felt God was close to them. As a parent/guardian we are encouraged to share our stories as well, yes our youth/children may roll their eyes at us and pass us off as being weird, but eventually they will take parts of our story with them out into the world!
Faith Tool Focus
It's important to remember that on-the-wall and behind-the-wall conversations are for one single purpose: so that the language of the empire does not prevail in the lives of our students. Faith conversations are the explicit and implicit curriculum in the lives of people of faith. We talk with our students about our beliefs, and as we do that, they are taught correct theology and doctrine. The more we chat about our beliefs, the more their beliefs are fleshed out in their lives. And the more that happens, the firmer their foundation will be.
Behind-the-Wall- There's nothing special about starting a behind-the-wall conversation with your youth. These conversation starters below are designed to get your "behind-the-wall" conversation started with your student. You can begin with a question or by sharing something and then inviting youth to respond.
We had another fruitful conversation on Sunday. (See what we did there?) Our focus was on what "highly devoted" looks like in faith as well as our role as parents/guardians in the faith formation of our own family.
When it comes to our own faith and the passing on of faith, we can often times look at our faith as an heirloom. Something that is meaningful to our family, sometimes we know why it is meaningful, other times we know it has significance, but we're not sure why. For instance, I have my grandfather's hammer. He used this hammer almost everyday as he built houses as a carpenter. It reminds me of the hard work he put into his profession and his ability to create. If I take away the story or the reason behind the hammer and hand it to my son, the heirloom loses it's meaning and he might go out and try to hammer a nail into a board with it. But if I sit down with my son and explain who his great-grandfather was and why this hammer is important to me, he will better understand the significance of the hammer.
Passing on our faith as an heirloom can be a very good thing! When we are able to sit and explain to our children why our faith is important to us, rather than for them to except the faith because we always have, we are given the opportunity to express how God has worked, is working, and will work in our lives. This doesn't have to be a daily or even weekly sit down and hammer it out type of meeting. It can be more effective if we bring faith up in causal conversations surrounding daily life happenings.
Be encouraged to talk about why you believe what you believe. If you don't know why you believe, take some time to think through your response first. It doesn't have to be polished, in fact if it is too polished your youth may think you are not be authentic and are trying too hard. Let it come natural and continue to open doors for conversations. (Knowing that we will probably fail 50% of the time, that's not a bad thing!)
A simple way to get your family talking faith is to lay a few family heirlooms and say something like "These are objects that remind us of important moments our family has had. These items remind us of special moments and great memories. They help create family stories which, in turn, help flesh out some of the identity of who we are as a group."
Sharing family stories of faith can be an important way to connect generational faith together. Encouraging conversations about faith with old family members can be very powerful. Share your memories of your children's grandparents or great-grandparents' faith. If you are a first generation believer, talk with your family about what legacy of faith you hope to leave for your children and future generations.
With Thanksgiving coming up and families meeting together, this may be a great time to ask some of your relatives to talk about why faith is important to them. On the flip side, especially for teenagers, you could ask a family member who does not believe to share why. This can open up some discussion that makes us uncomfortable or uneasy, but eventually your teenager will come into contact with people who do not believe the same as them, and to have a conversation like this in a safe place with people they love, can have a lasting impact on all involved.
This week we looked at the Introduction and Lesson 1- Benign Whateversim. The hand out below gives you some of the highlights of the chapters, the book will give you more information to fill in the holes throughout the week.
One of the items we had some conversations about, but was not in the book, surrounds the idea of the Faith Tools. As a church we have become really good at giving families tools to use. Whether it is devotions, study ideas, take home sheets, etc. We often times miss the need for families/parents/guardians to learn how to use these resources or to become comfortable talking about faith in the home.
We spent a few minutes at the end of the session talking about "Roadblocks" when it comes to talking about faith in the home. Here is a list of things which came up:
Each week we will talk about and process how your Faith Tool activity/discussion went. This will give us a chance as parent/guardians to bounce ideas off of one another and to gain perspective from other parents/guardians.
Who is God?
One of the ways to get faith conversations going is to ask questions. Questions ignite discussions and give you a chance to explain your faith journey to your student. Questions also give students opportunities to express their faith, and their doubt as well. When we engage students in faith conversations through questions, we should be prepared for a variety of potential topics. If you ask a child or youth a question, then you should be prepared to receive a question in return. If you do, you have started a conversation. Consider exploring the following questions with your students sometime this week. Youth might want to bring up a question while you're on your way to school or to the store. Or, consider bringing up one of these questions after dinner.
The reality is this may fail at bringing any meaningful conversation. But it will allow your student to know the conversation can happen when/if they are ever ready for it. Be ready to say "I don't know," to some of the questions. Send me an email with any questions you may not have considered and I'll try to locate some resources for you to check out!
We will use this space as a follow-up to our Sunday morning discussions. If you're unable to make it to one of the Sunday morning discussions we'll also post a brief summary here as well as some specific questions or activities you can do with your family.
If you would like more information on the book we are using click here to be taken to the Amazon.com page.