This is a four-part blog series. Each consecutive day this week will feature Conversation one, Conversation two, Conversation three and Conversation four in both print and video. These excerpts were taken from a chapter written by Axis in Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s upcoming book, The Art of Parenting.
When it comes to technology, we will quickly confess: We like it. It’s fun, interesting, and powerful. Of course, it can be massively distracting and, in some cases, flat-out dangerous. The second conversation to have about any form of technology is this: What is it for? Although it seems like a deceivingly simple question, how you and your children answer the question of purpose ultimately determines how you ought to use that technology.
So what is a smartphone for? Maybe your family would say that it’s connecting us with the ones we love the most. Okay, great! Now fast forward to dinnertime. Your family is at a restaurant, and Dad is checking email, Mom is on Pinterest, and daughter is keeping her Snapstreak going. Whoops. #NailedIt.
How about Netflix? What is it for? Sure, it’s an incredible library of long-form TV shows with a few movies thrown in. What a fun way to learn and be entertained by great storytelling! But the Oompa Loompas see TV differently:
“IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD! IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD! IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND! IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND! HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND! HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE! HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES!” – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
That’s a lot of ALL CAPS from the Oompas, but we think the message is clear. Understanding the intended purpose and subsequently the actual outcome needs to be an ongoing conversation. If the diet we’re on is causing us to be unhealthy, we should correct course. If the smartphone that’s supposed to connect us actually pulls us apart, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Remember to have this conversation: What is it for?
If you missed Conversation one, we’ve got you covered.
David Eaton cofounded Axis 11 years ago. He is married to Lindsey, has a 5-year-old daughter, Shiloh Abigail; a 2-year-old son, Zion Daniel; and a newborn, Vale Calvary. David plays drums and uke, roasts his own coffee, and he is always collecting great questions that will start great conversations. The Eatons live in Colorado where David is also a part-time youth pastor for about 20 teens at his home church.
The magic of Axis is CultureTranslation: interpreting student trends for parents while translating timeless theology, philosophy, and essential questions of life for their teens. Axis believes in the power of life-on-life discipleship between caring adults and the next generation!