Thursday, November 8, 2018

Before the internet became Dr. Spock

My daughter shared a sweet piece on Facebook the other day written by a mom encouraging other young moms to hang in there.  So many of the younger generation have so many good words, funny words, touching words they use to encourage each other.

Thirty plus years ago, gulp, I'm starting to sound like an "old" person, aren't I?  Thirty plus years ago BEFORE the internet took over our world, before we had blogs and text messaging and countless websites feeding our souls with garbage as we looked for the jewels, for the words that you and I need to read, that speak to our souls, that fit the search criteria and meet the keyword we have punched into our search bars - BEFORE that - all we had were a few things.

In no particular order:

1.  Family close by, or if you were a military wife like I was your military community was your family.  We talked on the phone, for hours sometimes, while the kids continually interrupted and ran just far enough where the phone cord couldn't reach them when the millionth "I'm on the phone" didn't work anymore and we'd threaten with the spoon.  We had babysitting co-ops and we didn't overthink a million little things because we didn't know the million little things we were supposed to over think.  The internet didn't exist to tell us those things.  We just did the best we could and sometimes just a mindless discussion on the phone took care of the "I think I'm going to kill my children because they won't stop crying or fighting or whining or acting like hooligans."  We didn't have Facebook parenting groups with strangers across the country or the other side of the world.  We had face to face, or at least voice to voice interaction.

2.  Only a few channels on the TV.  Another monster for this younger generation to sort through.  No one can be Martha or Joanna or Rachel or any of those unique individuals who we admire but who, through no fault of their own, make the rest of us everyday chums feel inadequate and less than....what?  Who knows.  We didn't have the internet to tell us.

3.  Common sense.  We didn't have to worry about our every move being recorded on someone's cell phone and splashed all over social media if our child acted out in a store or they did something cute never to be witnessed again.  We had more freedom to be what our kids needed in the moment, and yes, sometimes that was much more authoritative than edited video would glorify or crucify depending on the circumstance. We let children throw a tantrum, we didn't know to say "use your words."  We just swatted or threatened with taking away promised treats or whatever if they are "good."  Yeah, we weren't perfect and many of us wish we had the "use your words" tool in our tool belts back then but we didn't.  And you grew up anyway.  Yes, now you have some true feelings about that but keep reading.

4.  We didn't constantly think and talk about our feelings or compare our feelings with others.  Feelings?  We didn't know they could be talked about because we thought they had to be pushed aside to get the task at hand done.  Our teachers didn't care about our feelings, and most of our parents didn't seem to think they were worth stewing over.  The generation before them DID NOT have the time to think about their feelings either, they were busy....working, growing their own food, sewing their own clothes, chopping their own wood for winter heat.  Now, are things better because it's discouraged to shove everything down to our toes?  Maybe.  But then again, not every feeling is a feeling that needs attention.  Sometimes life just stinks and we have to get over it and move on.

We had our faults no doubt and we can't undo what we have at our fingertips.  You're reading these words right now and if it weren't for the internet you wouldn't have any idea what this middle aged woman thought nor would you care.  We can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, but we can look back at what did work better and readjust.  You are the first generation raising children with tools no parents since Adam and Eve have ever had.

Your children will be the ones to look back at your techniques and judge which ones were good and which ones were not useful.  What do you want them to see?  What tools do you want them to have in their tool belt that will ALWAYS be there no matter what technology dictates or takes away?

Raising children is the quickest way to enter into a relationship with the Father in heaven.  I learned through crying, whining, fighting, and utterly beautiful joyful moments with mine what a great Heavenly Dad we have.  He knows EXACTLY what it's like to raise crying, whining, fighting humans.  And he knows the utterly beautiful joy in moments no technology can replicate.  When you don't have the answer and His Spirit is telling you NOT to go on the internet,  go to Him.  That's really all we and the thousands of generations before us had.  He was and is all we need.

He has not changed.  His words are timeless and His power is mighty.  Go to him before you go anywhere else.  Stay off the internet as much as you can.  Stop reading every article related to whatever subject you think matters.  Use the brain He's given you and ask yourself, "How would my grandma or her grandma handle this problem?"  Their childrearing wasn't all bad because it did lead to you so they must have done a few things right, even without all the noise of technology interrupting their chicken plucking and tomato canning.

God loves you, Momma.  He loves your kids more than you ever can.  Remember, they were His before they were yours.  Hand them over to Him.


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