Sometimes I get images stuck in my head. Lately they are colored drawing images, like cartoons. Good ones. Like the image of a seed opening up to let the first leaves emerge as I make New Year’s Resolutions. Or scary ones. Like the image of a wrecking ball headed straight toward my house. It appeared there 4 days ago, when Bird started begging for an email address.
It was last fall, in September, during Bird’s first travel soccer tournament that a similar image of destruction started to haunt me. Up until that point, I had felt insulated from the world. The way other families functioned and parented really did not affect me. And after that tournament I kept imaging a meteor labeled THE WORLD crashing into my house.
Here’s what happened. Friday night before the tournament began, the girls on the team went swimming. Then they hung out in the hall with their Nintendo DS game systems. Problem 1: Bird was the only girl without a bikini. Problem 2: Bird was the only girl without a Nintendo DS. Problem 3: Bird’s parents were the only ones who thought a girl with 3 soccer games the next day should return to the room before 10 pm.
For the first time, my daughter was distraught at how “weird” the rules of her parents were. She cried and complained. And the meteor started haunting me. I knew this wasn’t the end of this story. The meteor was made up of much more than bikinis, game systems, and curfews. I imagined in growing in size in the next several years. Only God knew what other material the world would use to add to its size.
Now, for the wrecking ball of technology. We have technology. Cable TV. Internet. Even an iPad. We enjoy it and have long loved You Tube for the ways it entertains us. I make a reference to an old TV show or song or commercial. The girls don’t know what I am talking about. So we watch it on YouTube. YouTube is the reason my girls love Chilly Willy the penguin, “Food, Glorious Food” from the musical Oliver and the old Tootsie pop commercial where the owl bits the pop and can’t lick to its center. But the girls aren’t old enough to need a cell phone. And we don’t have a game system, of any kind. Technology is still something I choose to let the girls use, on my terms.
Game Systems. Texting. Facebook. Cable TV. I can tell you the good and the bad about them all. But getting Bird an email….it feels like opening a door into an unpredictable world: a world I cannot control. But really, that is what I am supposed to do. I am raising Bird so that little by little she can face the world and fly on her own, without mom controlling the circumstances, and hopefully fly straight into the arms of Jesus.
Why my mind is operating with cartoon images of destruction is unclear. But lately as I pray through all this, and ask other more “advanced” parents how they handle technology, a muscle man with tights and a cape comes and stops both the wrecking ball and the meteor. His shirt has four big letters across it. P_R_A_Y. So the images have stopped being images of destruction. But they serve as a reminder for the powerful forces that will vie for my girls’ thoughts. And they remind me to PRAY. Because Christ had overcome the world (John 16:33).
And while I know some of these technology interactions are inevitable in today’s teenage world, I know that I have to teach Bird about how to use it all safely and wisely. Check back tomorrow to see what I did about her desire for an email account….