There’s a battle raging right now, and Facebook is winning.
Instagram is up by 4 touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, and your offense hasn’t been able to move the ball all day long. What used to work isn’t working any more, and your defense is all banged up.
Your playing in the Twitter-Tumblr All Influence Bowl against an all-star cast made up of the biggest names in social media. It’s a winner take all championship game for your 17 year old daughter’s heart.
Like most favorites, you probably came into the game thinking that you had it in the bag. Leaning on past successes of the diaper changing, piggy back era, the game seems to have passed you by.
What are you going to do? Call time out so that you can gather your team, rethink your strategy and take a deep breath.
Your son or daughter’s heart is much more serious than any football game. It is a prize too great to ignore and much too valuable to lose. While amusing, the analogy really doesn’t do justice to what is happening all across the world right now.
With the sudden boom of social media enabled smartphones and an always “on” lifestyle, we as parents are surrendering our influence post by post, tweet by tweet and text by text to quasi-friends, follow-ees and innumerable variables of which we know little to nothing.
We are the Bobby Bowdens and Frank Beamers (with apologies to those very fine coaches). We are getting old.
Our voices are being tumbled about, poked aside and cleared faster than any iPhone notification ever could.
Don’t panic. All doesn’t have to be lost. If your kids are at home, you’re probably still in the game. But you better take action now.
Call a time out. Now.
From my perspective up the in booth, here’s what I believe you should do:
- Stop being passive. Too many defenses today are taking an overly defensive approach. I tell our guys all the time when we are doing tackling drills: “It’s truly better to give than to receive.” Whether in football or in the New Testament, that is true. Passivity in raising kids of all ages leads to too many problems. Lay down some ground rules with your kids before it’s too late. We had the opportunity to nip some things in the bud at the beginning. We told our oldest daughter that we were going to play by the rules and we wouldn’t lie just so she could create a Facebook profile. She had to wait until she was of proper age, according to the rules. When the time came, we established the boundaries with her. This included knowing her password, in the event that she gave us any reason for suspicion. We didn’t betray her confidence, but explained to her why we were doing it. Any and all devices had to be left in a secure location as bedtime. That secure location was not her bedroom.
- Spend more time in the film room. Find out the dangers of social media. Educate yourself about the fads and secret codes that make their way through “cyberspace.” Don’t be ignorant and don’t be naive. Create a profile and follow your kids on Twitter. Maybe you don’t do anything with it, maybe you do, but you can be aware of what is going on and warned of the threats that might be around the corner. It’s not as scary as you think. You might even gain some cool points every now and then.
- Get back to recruiting. Communicate with your son or daughter. There are no NCAA restrictions or “dead” periods. Get to know them and what they like and don’t like. Listen as they speak. I was reminded this week while studying that the goal of communication with your children should not always be so that they can understand you, but so that you can understand them. Don’t be overly judgmental and controlling when they begin to share things with you. Rather than trying to ram-rod your position as God-given authority as Mom or Dad down their throats, speak with grace in their lives and do your best to influence them and encourage them to make the proper decision.
Don’t give up and don’t give in. The older our kids get, the less authority we have over them. There will come a day when they won’t have to listen to a word we say. Let’s put in the work now so that when that day comes they ask the coach what audible they should call.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4