Vol. 5, Issue 12 | March 22, 2019
Vol. 5, Issue 12 | March 22, 2019
Three Things This Week
1. Gonna Be Like You, Dad
What it is: Pew Research has 7 key findings about how parents of teenagers feel about and manage their kids’ smartphone and social media use.
Why it’s time to reboot: Besides uncovering that parents tend to be more vigilant with younger teens than older ones or that moms tend to more actively monitor their kids than dads, the survey had another convicting finding: That device struggles aren’t unique to teenagers. We all struggle with the screens in our pockets; we all feel pressure to be constantly connected and to never stop scrolling. Perhaps that’s why our kids find it difficult to unplug—because they are watching us. If your family needs a reset and/or discipleship in this important area, our 30-Day Smartphone Family Reboot equips the whole family to rethink our relationships with each other and our devices, and it starts in 1 week!
What it is: For financial reasons, LifeWay is closing all of their 170 stores in the U.S. this year.
Why it’s challenging: For decades, Lifeway had immense influence over the evangelical publishing business, creating an almost canonized milieu of beliefs by deciding which Christian authors were orthodox and which weren’t—and therefore censored (Rachel Held Evans, Tish Harrison Warren, Jen Hatmaker). Whether it’s books, ideas, or people, forced conformity almost always leads to isolation, ignorance, and intolerance. We’re sad Lifeway closed, but there might be a lesson to learn from this story. Instead of censorship, what if we taught discernment in our homes? As families, maybe a better way forward is to encourage dialogue by welcoming dissidence in order to teach our kids to think clearly and critically for themselves. How do you foster an environment of freedom and free-thinking in your family while still pointing your children toward truth and righteousness?
3. If You’re Happy & You Know It, Turn Off Your Phone
What it is: 2019’s World Happiness Report shows the US dropping one spot from 2018 and five from 2017, prompting to many ask why.
Why it’s worth a conversation: What do you think it means to be happy? What do your kids think it means? How we define happiness is a starting point for understanding the decline, but it goes deeper than that. In the report, Jean Twenge examines evidence that shows a correlation between the decline in happiness and how we spend our leisure time, which, as we all know, is increasingly being consumed by screen time. Ask your kids to honestly think about how they feel when they spend extended lengths of time with their screens. Is it how they thought they’d feel? Is it how they think they’re supposed to feel? If there’s a gap, do they see ways to change it?
Bonus! Is your bracket already busted? Thanks, Murray State! You can still embrace the madness with your kids by downloading our free Parent’s Guide to March Madness! Click here, click “add to cart,” then use coupon code MM2019 at checkout.
Parent Guide Spotlight: Are your kids ready for bikini season?! As the weather warms up, fitness influencers and brands ramp up their marketing, reminding our children that they’re only valuable if they’re a certain shape or body fat percentage and guilting them into abusing their bodies in an effort to conform. But fitness and exercise aren’t the enemy. If you’re looking to teach your kids to have a healthy, God-honoring relationship with their bodies and to steward what they’ve been given for healthy reasons (not to look good in a bathing suit), check out our brand new Parent’s Guide to Fitness!
A Massacre Made for Social Media
A 28-year-old white supremacist opened fire at two New Zealand mosques last Friday, killing 50 worshippers and wounding dozens of others. The terrorist live-streamed his made-for-social-media massacre and posted an internet manifesto (The Great Replacement) saturated in meme culture in which he admits (ironically?) to being trained to kill by playing Fortnite. By referencing mainstream voices like Candace Owens, alt-right meme culture, and YouTube star Pewdiepie, his manifesto was littered with “sh*tposting,” a very tactical, absurd form of online language designed to trigger an emotional response from his readers. Regardless, he “made it clear that his violent extremist beliefs and actions were wrapped up in his online presence.” The manifesto went on to detail his fear of a global scenario whereby Europeans and white Americans would be “replaced” by cultures originating in Africa and the Middle East.
No one is born racist; we’re formed that way. And the dark origin of that hostility starts small. It’s birthed in fear and manifests itself in the words we use at the dinner table, the labels we create, the Twitter accounts we follow, the polarizing media we consume, and the national policies and politicians we willingly endorse. And until we choose to resist the daily demonization and dehumanization of ‘the other’, we’re all complicit in this sick cycle of violence.
Here are four practical ways your family can break down walls of hostility, encourage empathy, and change the cultural conversation around racism and militant nationalism:
- Travel: Whether you can afford to take your family to another country or simply to the other side of town, “travel opens our eyes to new ways of living. It teaches us tolerance for people who enjoy different lifestyles, foods, religions, and cultures than our own.” And in the process, we realize how much we actually do have in common with our fellow man.
- Turn off the propaganda: Whether it’s CNN, Fox News, or that divisive Twitter personality, mainstream media has purposefully become a toxic soup designed to incite division and hostility. Refuse to allow media to trigger your anger.
- Break bread: Eating together is one of the simplest, quickest ways to build intimacy and trust. At the Last Supper, Jesus commands His friends to break bread to remember Him. “Of all the things He could’ve chosen to be done ‘in remembrance’ of Him, Jesus chose a meal.” At the very center of our faith is a shared meal, prepared by the Lord, freely given to everyone. Model his hospitality with that difficult neighbor, you might just find you like each other after all.
- Visit a mosque or synagogue: One of the beautiful stories coming out of this tragedy were the scores of Christian churches that opened their doors to Muslim worshippers when mosques were closed for safety purposes. Additionally, thousands of Christians throughout the world joined Muslims in Friday prayers as an act of solidarity against hate and violence. As awkward as it might feel, drop by your local mosque, say a prayer, offer solace, say you’re sorry, and remember there is far more that binds us together as humans than divides us.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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