Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | December 29, 2005

Be a Watchmom

Moms, there’s some stuff going on that you may not about and I have a concern.  See as I work with teens, girls in particular and interact with them at church, school and at home I get a lot of information, sometimes it’s TMI, too much information.  But I’d rather have the information than not…word!  I want to be in the loop, constantly getting those 411s you know what I mean?

 

We live in the age of constant information.  We’ve got cell phones that can do everything your camera, computer, radio can do, ipods, mpg players, and computers with internet connections, IM (instant messenger), chat rooms, My Space and blogs.  People are trying to interact with your teen and doing whatever possible to do so.  Not only that, your teen is looking for interaction with people near and far.  Do you know who they’re reaching out to touch?

 Cell Phones

The cell phone as you know advanced from the bag, mobile phone which was used primarily in the event of an emergency.  The phone had to stay in your vehicle and so you could only make or receive calls from your car, truck etc.  The cell phone has no limitation on usage and it is now the norm for the majority of society.   But why does your teen need his or her own phone?  Phones with unlimited minutes, advanced features and who is paying the bill? 

 Teens spend the majority of their time walking around with a phone in their hand either dialing, checking to see if they missed a call, whose call they missed, sending a text message, reading a text message, surfing the net, playing a game and more.  Are you checking the bill mom?  How much time is your teen spending on the phone?  Is it needed? How much time does your teen spend talking with you?

 Computers

Wow!  This is a biggie.  Does your teen spend a considerable amount of time on the computer?  Well maybe you don’t know because he or she has a computer in his/her bedroom and it’s off limits to you.  Wrong move!  Teens with a home pc spend anywhere from two to three hours or more online per day chatting with friends and people they don’t know.  Do you know who your teen is chatting with?  Maybe you don’t think that’s any of your business…WRONG!!! It is definitely your business, you’re the parent, you’re in charge, and you need to know.  Family Life

Today featured a program in October 2005 of a father who is a police officer whose 14 year old daughter who spent a lot of time chatting, was abducted and murdered by her internet friend.  You can listen to that three day broadcast and or read the transcripts at this address http://www.familylife.com/fltoday/default.asp?id=7633

Many teens today including mine have a place online where they have a blog or My Space site, I have one myself.  Usually their friends have similar sites with the same provider.  MSN has spaces available called My Space, Bebo has spaces and so do other providers, they are numerous.  These sites have templates that are very much the same but the teens can select the way they want the site to look.  There are usually polls that each person can answer to share information about themselves.  The spaces provide teens an opportunity to express themselves and show what they like, don’t like in the area of music, food, beverages, clothing, cars, you name it.  There is space for friends or whomever to track back and leave messages.  Photos are usually there of the teen and their friends.  These sites can be clean, G or PG rated up to R, Mature etc. 

I review my kid’s space regularly to know what’s up, who’s on, and what’s going on, yes I do.  How about you?  What is your teen doing on the net?  Do you know?  My kids have received addresses for sites of friends and have had to block them.  Why?  Because they are vulgar, and just down right dirty!  And these are kids they know, “church going”, youth group, community service kids but oh the dirty lives they live.  I bet you mom doesn’t know about these sites. 

Here you will see the real teen, what they do with their friends, where they go, how they really feel about their parents (YOU) and how they like to spend their time.  You see their music and movie choices, nasty, grinding, bumping stuff that their youth group leader probably doesn’t know about.  I do I know? When my kids get stuff like that they show and tell me about it.  We check out the site and usually begin praying for the person.  I don’t have to tell my kids, they know what to do with the site, block it, don’t visit it.  Mom, what is your teen up to?  You ought to know! 

Don’t be scared to know what’s going on, if the teen lives in your house, you pay the bills, you are the parent, you have every right to be all up in their business!!!!  You could very well be saving your teen’s life or their friends.  God the Father chastens those that he loves.

Hebrews 12:7-11 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 We owe it to our teens to parent them.

 1Samuel 2:11-17, 22-25

Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.

Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD. Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand.  He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.  But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw."  If the man said to him, "Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want," the servant would then answer, "No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force."  This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

 

Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.  So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.  No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?" His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.

 

Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites.  Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ "Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line

and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.”‘ And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you–they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread and plead, "Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat."’"

See if we don’t look into the lives of our children and leave their devotion to God totally up to themselves we are no better than Eli.  He knew what his sons were doing because the people told him but he was too soft on them, he preferred his sons over his commitment to God and his responsibility as a parent.  He let them slide.  Our kids need our discipline, they need us to know what is going on wit them rather they like it or not.  They may react just like Eli’s sons but we must do our part. We have to set some limits to our teen’s interaction on the cell phones, PCs, MPGs, ipods, etc. 

Do you know how much time you teen spends reading the Bible, having quiet time, studying their Sunday school or youth group Bible lesson?  How involved are you in your teen’s spiritual life?  When is the last time you asked your teen about the sermon on Sunday, or about their Sunday school and youth group lesson?  Do you know if they are growing in Christ?  As a teacher of teens it isn’t my responsibility to do everything, I can’t be in the home of each teen reminding them of our lessons, parents are supposed to do that.  Parents should reinforce the lessons from church, ask their teens about the lesson, and ask questions that cannot be answered with yes and no.  It will probably surprise your teen that you’re spending time talking to him or her, and it may even annoy them.  Asking questions about Bible related things can feel like an invasion to them especially if you haven’t done it before, but start don’t wait.  If you teen spends all of his or her time talking on the phone or chatting and spending time with instant messenger etc. there’s very little if any time for spending time with school work, family time and God time. 

Most parents think their kids are okay because they go to church and are involved in good community activities.  There are many teens who “grew up in church” going to Sunday school, VBS, participating in the children’s ministry, singing on the choir and maybe even expressed a decision to “ask Jesus into their heart” and were baptized.  But ask them now to explain their commitment to Christ, what is their relationship with Him like, how do they know they are saved, are they saved?  Does your teen need to repent of sin and re-commit to Christ?  Is your teen just going through the motions?  While listening to an episode of Unshackled, a dramatization of real life circumstances of real people and their journey to Salvation through Christ. , the main character in this episode told of his decision to get his parents and other adults of his back about getting saved and he wanted to impress the parents of the girl he wanted to go out with.  So he attended a revival and went down front during the invitation and went through the motions of getting saved.  Now everyone thought he was saved but he admitted that he really wasn’t.   Some teens have done that just to please parents or other adults or to get a girl or boyfriend.  Remember Judas, he was with Jesus for three years and had all the disciples fooled to think that he was a real follower. 

I know many teens that are playing the field. They are not committed Christians, and no one holds them accountable to be true to their profession of faith.  The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isaiah 29:13

Ezekiel 36:1-9 The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head.  Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’ "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.

Parents you are the watchmen for your family, you have to warn your teen of danger but firs you have to be watching.  Are you standing on the wall, on alert, watching closely?  Remember we need to ‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1Peter 5:8).  Our enemy is a thief and; the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). As parents we have to be on the look out for the enemy and sound the alarm when we see him.  He comes in many different ways and he updates his strategies with the times. 

We have to be like the children of Issachar; And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.  And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

1 Chronicles 12:31-32 These times demand that we pay close attention to our teens and their activities, their entertainment, their friends their habits and acquaintances.  Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1Cor 15:33

There is much to do and like any position that requires one to be alert, we cannot let our guard down, there is too much at risk…our kids.  We’re not here to be their friends, they have friends and maybe some of their friends are really bad company.  And believe it or not, your teen may be bad company too and you just don’t know it.  Yes our teens need breathing room, and I make sure I give it to mine but I treasure the moments we spend together talking about life in general.  I like that they share stuff that’s going on with them and or people they associate with.  I don’t assume that because they are pastor’s kids, that we are on mission with Tony as a church planter, domestic missionaries that they are automatically strong Christians, they have to work on that for themselves…my job is to help them, encourage them and watch out for them, spend some time getting my “knee-mail” in (praying). 

 Just a few tips:

Computers should be in common rooms where the monitor is in public view.

There should be a password and a filter on the computer

Phones should be a privilege not a right

Minutes should be limited, maybe pay as you go

Phone, computer and the use of other gadgets should depend on grades, behavior, etc.

Internet activity should be monitored

Ask about people they chat with

Visit your teen’s My Space or Blog site and those of his or her friends

Find out from your youth director what is being taught and how you can follow up at home

Keep up with your teen’s Sunday school lessons

Start family devotions

Eat meals together

Discuss the sermons and how the message applies to each of you

Take advantage of those “teachable moments” and ask about news events and the Christian or Biblical world view

Listen and engage your teen

 

 

 

 

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