The Long Hall – Episode Two

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I went to bed depressed after recording this episode. Jonathan Clauson, someone I’ve internet-known for quite sometime, joined me on The Long Hall. He got talking about how his son doesn’t think he is cool anymore… how their relationship has changed over time. Our conversation continued from there… but that is what got to me. Could there come a day where Wyatt doesn’t see me as anything less than awesome? The thought of that… bummed me out.

But don’t let that bum you out. Check out this episode and let me know what you think in the comments below OR even better yet, via an iTunes review.

– Show Links – 

Guest: Jonathan Clauson

– Download Links – 

Broken Jars Broadcasting

iTunes

The Electronic Monster in My Pocket

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Every time we go to a school event, I’m struck by parents glued to their phones.

The other day, I watched a parent sitting in front of me flip through their cell phone’s menu screen. Aimlessly. No doubt with a delightful internal monologue:

“Which app do I choose? I haven’t played Clash Royale in ages. Ah, don’t make eye contact! They might want to talk!!”

The introvert side of me gets it. The phone provides a safety blanket against scary “stranger” conversations. As a parent, as a dad, I wonder what the kids see though. Do they see parents:

  • Distracted/not present in the moment?
  • Displaying the same electronic habits at home?
Put it down.

The screen is so magical!

I know that being in a crowd of people we don’t know can be intimidating. I know that it is easier to escape into a phone, look important, and ignore those around us. But at what cost does our escape come at? What are we modeling for our children when we can’t even put down our phones for a moment?

I’m not trying to sound judgmental nor make others feel guilty. I’ve used my phone to ignore people many times. The thing is, I want my son to know that he is important. That I can be present in the moment. No matter how hard or uncomfortable that might be.

Parenting Fail – The Nunchucks

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The boy was whirling around a pair of foam green nunchucks.

I looked at him, “You’re doing it wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“You need training. Let’s check out some Youtube videos so that you can see how awesome you can be.”

A few videos in, I kept waiting for Wyatt to peg himself as he mimicked the motions on screen.

Didn’t happen.

Five videos in, I hear a sudden yelp as Wyatt accidentally hit himself in the face. His left eye to be specific.

I started laughing. Hard.

He didn’t like that.

I laughed harder.

Adventures in Odyssey will help me discuss puberty with my son

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Jimmy Barclay was going through changes. Or as Mr. Whittaker put it, he was going through “adolescence”. Jimmy was growing up. He noticed that:

  • His voice was changing
  • He was angry at people for no reason at all
  • He was in love, with Connie Kendall
So flat. So boring. Captive audience on an 8 hour drive.

So flat. So boring. Captive audience on an 8 hour drive.

As we listened to “Coming of Age”, an episode of Adventures in Odyssey, Tabitha and I laughed. There is something surreal about listening to an episode on puberty with your seven-year-old in the car. We were driving home from vacation. The boy was in the backseat, running a high fever, and had no clue about what was plaguing Jimmy.

I told Tabitha that when Wyatt starts to go through puberty, I am going to make him listen to this episode. Odyssey can explain everything. Poof! An awkward conversation bites the dust. Who wants to talk to their parents about changes anyways?

Let this be a lesson to all parents: Media is a fantastic substitute for all major life conversations.

This important lesson is provided to you by JohnnyBGamer, tongue-in-cheek.

Racing Home

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Wyatt and I raced Tabitha home last night from church. Cruising at 60MPH, Wyatt encouraged me to go faster.

“You need to go 140MPH, dad.”

“But the speed limit is 60MPH.”

“So, there are no cops around.”

Launched us into a great discussion over how there are rules to follow, even when no one is watching.

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Parenting is all about seizing those teachable moments and acting on them.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)

From Across the Net: “Boys Need Their Moms”

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Tim Challies wrote a piece titled “Boys Need Their Moms“.

And yet even in Christian circles there is little attention given to the relationship of boys and their mothers, at least once they pass the toddler stage. It is rarely mentioned and rarely celebrated. We still look askance at a boy who spends a lot of time with his mom or a mom who is close to her boy. There is still that suspicion—that irrational and unfair suspicion. There is still that fear that a boy necessarily ought to be closer to his father than his mother.

I am thankful for the relationship Tabitha has with Wyatt. She balances out my rougher parenting edges with a tenderness I find hard to provide.

Odd that Challies references James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys. Dobson’s chapter aimed at moms is brief and lacking any substance. Tabitha and I were terribly disappointed in it.

Get Up And Play With Your Kids

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The Gospel Coalition’s Trevin Wax wrote “4 Principles for Parenting in a World of Video Games“. His article contained some practical advice but featured a tone laced in fear. Zachery Oliver, over at Theology Gaming, wrote a rebuttal titled “Kids and Video Games“. My wife, Tabitha Hall, wrote the following as a response to both articles:

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Model good media behavior in front of your kids.

If you restrict your child’s screen time, then make sure you model that while they are up. Meaning, don’t sit on your recliner and watch sports or play a video game by yourself all day. Turn off the TV. Get up and play with them.

If the rule at your house is no phones at the table, turn your phone on silent and put it away. Want your kids to love to read? Then let them see you reading a book and discuss the book with them. Pick a book to read aloud together with your kids.

Something I believe both Mr. Wax and Mr. Oliver have to remember is that every family’s technology engagement will look different, and no one needs to be judged on their own personal plan. Rather, as I believe Mr. Wax was trying to point out, there needs to be a plan for technology in the home. Not a rigid plan with no flexibility for the child, but a fluid plan that can change with the ebb and flow of the family.

Our family decided to keep technology out of the bedroom. We have a limit on how much screen time our son can consume at one sitting. Twenty minutes is our norm before we encourage that he do something else. Technology is not going to go away, it will just get more influential as time progresses on.

As a parent, you help your child solve a problem by brainstorming solutions. You help them practice their catching, bike riding, or even their shoe-tying skills. In the same way, my husband and I are trying to model good technology behaviors to our son.