Today we celebrate Reformation Day. On October 31st 1517, Martin Luther asked to have a discussion group on a few things that had been annoying him lately. Ninety-five of them, precisely.
Archive for October, 2011
A fascinating (and short) lil’ editorial with an interesting comment on the current social climate of outrage against those perceived as having too much money.
I wanted to make further comments on this topic. A former colleague of mine shared the following videos on Facebook, and I thought they were helpful in this discussion.
That is without a doubt perhaps one of the tackiest titles I’ve used for a post – and that’s saying a lot. But bear with me all the same.
- Cell phones for our kids are often pitched as safety devices. Now you always know where your child is. Now you can get a hold of your child any time you want. Boy, that sounds like a nice theory, but I’m betting that this isn’t how it works a lot of times. I have no doubt that on more than on occasion I would have resorted to the old my battery must have died or I had the ringer silenced still from class excuses. In other words, they may not be the perfect tool for keeping track of your child that salespeople would like you to believe. My oldest child is nine. He does not have a cell phone. He will not have a cell phone any time in the near future, despite the fact that we know people with children his age that do have their own phones. He doesn’t need it.
- If and when I do get him a cell phone, I will endeavor to not allow texting. Because I’m cruel and evil, yes. That’s my job. I’m a father.
- Whether we have texting enabled or not, he will have cell phone hours. He may have access to it at certain times during the day. If he gets calls or texts outside of these hours, he can respond to them the next day. I’m pretty positive there is no call so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow for him to respond to, and just because he’s not keeping me from making a phone call is no reason I have to let him talk indefinitely, whenever he feels like it. At this time I see no reason to get my child a data plan on their cell phone so they can access the Internet at school. I know, I’m an ogre.
- I will also require my kids to program the numbers they receive calls from into their phone with the actual names of the people calling. Sure, my kids might lie to me about it, but they’ll have to take that extra step in order to deceive me, and I’ll pray that my kids won’t feel they need to resort to that. I will have weekly check-ins where I review their phone logs for the week to see who they’re talking to.
- Computers will be kept in common areas. Not in their rooms. Not behind closed doors. Whatever they do, will be done so that anyone can see.
- Computers will have hours of operation and availability as well. While there are times and circumstances where extensions will be necessary, those will be requested and scheduled.
- While we don’t do this yet, we *will* install software to try and block objectionable content so that our kids don’t stumble across it accidentally. You’d be amazed at what comes up in a simple image or word search on Google. We will keep this software updated, just like our anti-virus software.
- We will talk with our kids about what sorts of things they might run across on the Internet, and hopefully have a good enough relationship that they’ll talk to us if they come across something inappropriate.
- We will limit our children’s access to social media. While you wouldn’t necessarily know it, there are age limits (13) on Facebook. Some parents seem to feel it’s ‘cute’ or ‘cool’ to provide their kids with a page in violation of this rule. I don’t.
- When our kids are old enough for social media (which I’m sure *won’t* be Facebook by that time!), then there will be rules and regulations about how they use it and when they use it. Just like the phone and the computer itself, social media will not be available 24/7. I’m toying with the idea of requiring a password to their account, that I’ll agree not to use unless I think their behavior is taking a turn for the unexplained. If I find the password doesn’t work, I’ll ban access at home and everywhere that I have control over until they get me a password that does. Thoughts on this?
- Before we allow our children to begin using social media, we will talk with them about the importance of being selective with who they allow into their network, and at what levels. With any luck, this will build on similar conversations we will have had with them about friends and discernment and the importance of choosing wisely. Yes, we are bad parents because we have not yet begun having those conversations with them.
A parishioner recommended 23 Minutes in Hell to me, and I have to admit I was fascinated just by the title. Having recently read and reviewed the enormously popular Heaven Is for Real, I wondered how a book on the Other Place might fare.
Some of you might have seen this opinion piece in the New York Times a few days ago. If you haven’t yet, take the time to read it. It’s poignant and well written in addition to thought-provoking.
Once a month or so I lead the weekly chapel for the kindergarten through sixth grades that comprise the Christian school that leases space for their campus on our church’s property. Some of you who are already laughing at the thought of me relating to small children need to just simmer down. I’ll admit, it’s a lot different than my interactions the rest of the week. Other than the three children that currently occupy my house and that my wife insists are mine. I interact with them quite a bit, but somehow that seems different.
So, the government admitted this week that a major portion of the health care legislation passed by Congress as pushed for by President Obama won’t work. CLASS, intended to provide for voluntary low-cost, long-term care insurance, can’t be made to work fiscally, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The administration’s Health and Human Services department has admitted that they have no way to make the numbers work.
Conversations have continued this week on what the culture of the Church is. This is a tricky question, because so much is bound up in terms of both tradition and theology. Can these two things be separated? Should they? What would that look like? I don’t think many people (at least within my faith tradition) have a clear idea about that, even though we have people all over the map on the subject. As usual, I can ask questions, but I hardly know that I have any good answers, which is frustrating.