by the book blog
I have spent a great deal of time trying to bridge the gaps between my children’s and my generation. Consider this: I was already well into my teens when I first saw a T.V. set. There was a T.V. set in the rooms where my wife had our babies so you could say they were born with T.V. I was over 30 when I first used a computer. I made it through graduate school” without owning a PC or having access to any computer whatsoever. My kids would probably not survive one day in school without a PC. In fact, many of their class work is done exclusively online.

My love affair with the printed word is epic. Videos don’t even come close. I can watch a movie today and if you ask me a couple of days later how it ended, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. But I can recall the credit lines at the end, even if they only appear for a few seconds. Nowadays most school textbooks are available as e-readers and if you are required to purchase a physical book, online services allow you to rent it instead of making an outright purchase.

I grew up in a home where storytelling played a huge role. Without any cues, the kids would launch into storytelling mode at will. And we enacted some of those stories, especially the ones from the Bible. But storytelling is fast becoming a lost art. I learned early on that telling my children stories about growing up poor, having to walk to school every day on hot and smelly rubber shoes that had been donated by the U.S. via a program called “Alliance for Progress,”  etc., etc., have little or no effect on them.

And it’s not that my children are ungrateful. It’s that the medium they relate to the most is not the talking head (especially if the stories are repeated again and again). I would have to get in front of a camera, add some knockout animation, mix in some killer sound effects while saying a few words about my past, in exactly 30 seconds, in order to grab their attention. But who’s got the time and expertise for that?

So I have learned that in order for me to communicate effectively with my children, I must use social media. I have to text them and comment on their activities on FB and other media. Thankfully, all my children are friends with me on FB and I try to be discreet about how active I am in their space. There are many conversations that you simply must stay out of – it is between them and their friends.

Now my children are older and we have great relationships. Over time they have learned to appreciate a good conversation and I love it. But along the way I made some terrible mistakes with them. I could have used some help in the past as I tried to understand them a little better, but help was not forthcoming.

And that is the reason why, as we kick off our new series at Grace we are calling “… By the Book,” we are featuring nationally known youth specialist, Jonathan McKee, at our church this weekend. He will be here in our morning services as well as Sunday evening. His topic for the weekend is “Parenting the Smartphone Generation.” Please come and bring your friends.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA