￼What does the typical "good day" look like for you? Are you racing kids to school, then off to your job, you rush to a meeting, squeeze in time to return phone calls and eat lunch while answering emails? Got everything done? Yes!
Too many "good days" like this can have some negative side effects that resemble "burn out". There is a medical term for an extreme case of busyness called Hurry Sickness. Researchers say that Hurry Sickness is a feeling of anxiety and constant urgency with some significant side effects.
Would God view our "good days" as being successful? We need to slow down, spend time with God and let him guide our days.
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Enjoy the time he has given us and let's not rush through our days just to check another thing off the to-do list.
Recently, my sister and I were having a conversation with my dad in my parents’ backyard. They have a backyard that on most days could be featured in a magazine. As I was talking with my dad I looked over to a group of large rocks that were bordering one of their flower beds. The rocks were all shapes, sizes, and colors. I asked my dad where they had gotten all of them. He told me that they had gotten them from various trips they had taken over the years. He said, “I can’t tell you what trip they all came from though. We should have documented it so we could remember.” That statement made me think about the story in the book of Joshua when God tells the people to pull out stones from the Jordan to remember how God allowed them to pass over on dry ground.
Joshua 4:20-24 says: And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
There have been so many times in my life that God has moved and worked on my behalf. He didn’t necessarily part the waters for me, but he has provided for me, protected me, and kept his promises to me in so many ways. These times are the literal stones of remembrance in my life. I hope the same is true in your life. Whatever your situation or circumstance I hope that you can remember the times in your life when God has brought you through a difficult time.
1 Peter 2:5 says that we are also living stones:
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
I wonder if we are taking the time to remember the literal stones in our lives so that we can be effective living stones in the lives of others. Like Joshua and the Israelites we need to remember these times more often, be thankful for them, and most importantly share them with our family and friends. These times are our testimony of Him and can bring hope to others. Today I want to encourage you to take a trip down memory lane and ask God to help you remember all of the times He has been there and brought you through. Some of the remembering might be painful or bittersweet because we don’t always get the outcome we had hoped for or prayed for but God is still there in the midst with you.
I have started a jar of stones of remembrance. I’ve written the significant times in my life on those stones (some happy and some not) . I've also written promises that the Lord has given me from His word. Will you join me in remembering all that God has done and also believe Him for what He is going to do? Get a stone and write a remembrance or promise. When someone asks about that stone, be the living stone that tells them about the One who made it possible.
Bryan and Katie Torwalt have a song called Prophesy Your Promise- The chorus says “When I only see in part I will prophesy your promise. I believe you, God. Because you finish what you start I will trust you in the process.”
Thank God for what he has done and trust Him for more to come!
Positive Relationships and Positive Attitudes...
Our attitude is reflected in our responses or reactions, to a person or situation, verbal or non-verbal, positive or negative. Children model everything they experience. They watch how the adults in their lives handle the ups and downs of life. Children pay close attention to our words and non-verbal cues...they use these cues in navigating their own relationships. Have you ever just listened to children playing on the playground or at home with their dinosaurs or virtually gaming with their friends? It's amazing how much they sound just like us! In the face of a tough situation...how do you react...does your student or child react similarly?
Ephesians 4:29 says "Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
This is a difficult time in our society and we are not perfect. So, before reacting remember to choose your attitude. "A positive attitude is not something that goes on around you, but rather, it resides within you" (Coates,Crosswalk.com).
Screen Time and Parenting
Much has been written in recent months about parenting children in the age of screens. Now, more than ever it seems, the challenge for parents is greater than it’s ever been. According to recent Pew Research, two-thirds of parents (66%) in the U.S. say parenting is harder today than it was 20 years ago, with many citing technologies- like social media or smartphones- as a reason. Can you relate?
Without question, we live in an ever-increasing technological age. Staying current is as challenging as ever. And staying current for many is a matter of relevance as it relates to work. Many companies and schools, including Faith, have had to rely on technology as never before to accomplish its mission. From remote work to remote learning, technology drives so much of what we do. It’s a trend that’s not likely to change any time soon.
To be sure, parenting is as challenging as it’s ever been. As parents of grown children, we are both not too far removed from those days and understand the struggle quite well. But the parental concerns of technology look quite different than when our children were in middle or high school. The pace and access are faster than ever.
The same Pew Research states that parents with young children make clear that they are anxious about the effects of screen time. Fully 71% of parents under the age of 12 say they are at least somewhat concerned that their child might spend too much time in front of the screen, including 31% who are very concerned.
And herein lies the dilemma for parents today. Technology drives much of the way instruction is presented in school today. The amount of educational screen time versus social-driven screen time only contributes to the total amount of that time. What is a parent to do?
Because technology has become so accessible it is often our go-to for entertainment, social interaction, and information gathering. While playing a board game as a family, eating dinner together around the table, and going to the library to look for information may be more time-consuming in our already packed schedule, it will more than likely lead to a more memorable experience and a better remembrance of the information gathered. As a parent, I love to hear my daughters reminisce about experiences with friends and family. Make and take the time to disconnect from technology and reconnect in person.
Coming to grips with the issue of screen time- be it gaming, social, or school-related, we acknowledge that the concerns are real for many parents. And whether your child is in preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, there are proactive steps that you can take. Here are a few tips:
Set boundaries and enforce them
Have computers in open places to better monitor their online activity
Encourage and promote activities that take them away from the screen
Set the example by setting aside the devices that might cause you not to give full attention to someone
Talk to your children about what they are doing online whether it’s research, gaming, communicating, etc.
We know these are anxious times for parents. And we take comfort from Scripture that tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The challenges of parenting in the digital age can be challenging but with proactive steps and a strong faith you come through it just fine.
By Doug Dickerson - High School Guidance Counselor and Darcy Turner - Elementary Principal