Five Tips on Parenting Facebook Kids
Parenting kids of the Facebook generation is tough. Here are five tips to help you navigate your hi-tech kids.
Teach Kids that God Loves Them
One thing I wish I had been taught growing up was that God loved me. I was taught that God will punish me if I do anything wrong. I admit, it kept me in line as a teenager: I really never got into trouble. But that was also because I had a number of goals I wanted to accomplish in life, and so I made a "deal" of sorts with God: If You give me what I want, I will do what You want.
But this kind of teaching is fraught with danger, because the child can grow up with an image of a God that is cold, distant, and cruel-hearted. That is not the God whom I worship now. The God to whom I bow five times daily is a beautiful, loving, merciful, kind Lord, always ready and willing to embrace me when I come calling. He loves to shower His grace and mercy over his devoted servant, and He does not tire from hearing our incessant begging for more.
Whenever we do make a mistake, His forgiveness is overwhelming and readily accessible. Everything we have in our lives is a direct result of His love and mercy, and I want my children to know that through and through. Because if they know how much God loves them (and Islam teaches us that God loves us 70 times more than our own mother does), then hopefully they will want to do the right thing to honor that love.
Teach Kids to Live in the Light of God’s Love
Once children know and understand that God loves them, the next step is to live in the light of that love. This means that since God loves us so much, it is only right and honorable that we love Him back. And we must show that love for God by doing what God asks of us to the best of our ability. That means staying away from the things that God does not like. So would God like us to avoid Facebook? I don't know the exact answer, but I believe He would not want us to lose ourselves in it. He wants us to be modest in our deeds and actions—in person and online. When couched in the perspective of loving God back for all of His undying love, it is not a burden, but a welcome sacrifice for one's Beloved.
If I can teach my children to love and honor God because He loved us first, that will go a long way toward making them be good, upright children who do not get into trouble. But relying solely on this is horribly naïve, I know. I remember what it was like to be a teenager: So many forces pulling in so many different directions. It is a maddening time of one's life, and truly, you could not pay me enough money to relive those years of my life. So, along with teaching our children that God loves them and to live in that love, we have to inject some practicality when it comes to raising our kids in the 21st century.