I took five pages of notes. I wrote. I nodded my head in agreement. I dropped my jaw in disbelief.

The Kirk Cameron movie, Connect, hit me very deeply and opened my eyes to the very real fact that we are the generation of parents paving the way for this technology, social media-saturated society. It is the decisions that we make in our homes right now regarding smartphones that will affect the kind of adults our kids will be.

No pressure or anything.

It’s not like I didn’t already feel the weight of my parenting choices on my children’s futures, but the fact that we also have to navigate through these uncharted waters of technology with absolutely no clue about their deep cavernous effects is overwhelming.

It’s so much pressure and somehow feels very out of my control. I’m trying to breathe in and out and not have an anxiety attack right here and now to be honest.

Is this what parents felt in the 1940s and 50s about the television? Did they feel this dumbfounded? Did they feel like they were drowning in a sea of uncertainty too?

Because everything we are dealing with . . . seems too big. Too much. Sometimes, I don’t even want to get out of bed because I feel so helpless to all we are up against as parents these days.

Pray more, worry less, right?

The truth is . . . we do have to get up. We do have to paddle on. We have to forge ahead and make a way. Our kids need us, and God is trusting us. It is our responsibility to teach our kids how to paddle for themselves and to guide this next generation into adulthood as kind and loving human beings.

And it all starts at home.

My heart was so touched by what Kirk and other experts shared—except they didn’t focus on managing the devices as much as they focused on managing our relationship with our kids. Our first line of defense against our kids falling into the deep pit of social media despair is relationships—connecting.

As I walked out of the theater, I was fired up even more to be the best parent God created me to be and raise kids to be the best God created them to be.

But it takes all of us working day and night in our homes to teach our kids and create a firm foundation of acceptance and love before technology even enters their lives.

I hope my movie notes get you fired up too and that you will choose to join me in hopping in this parenting boat, grabbing a paddle, and taking the lead on this crazy new technology adventure. 

We cannot allow technology to raise our kids.
It’s so easy to get caught in this trap. Technology can entertain my kids (and keep them quiet and out of my hair) for hours. But is that what is best for them or for my relationship with them?

We cannot be a mentally absent parent.
How often am I checked out? Not even listening? Barely engaged? Too often when they come home from school, I’m on my phone or working at my computer. Too often I’m distracted by my own checklist and busy schedule.

We don’t get a do-over in parenting.
This is my one shot. This is my one opportunity to pour into my children’s lives. My time is limited. What I do now will affect them forever. What I do now will affect their future relationships—as spouses, as parents, as employees. I do not get to try again. This is it!

All kids need a healthy sense of belonging in our families.
My kids need to know they are loved by God—first and foremost—then they need to know they are loved by me and belong in our family. God, help me create that sense of belonging in my home and in their hearts forever!

Parenting is a sacred duty—a high calling.
There is no greater job. Am I taking it seriously enough? Am I committed to teach, to train, to guide, to love, to cherish, to let fail, to lift up, to set boundaries, to follow through, to selflessly give, to endlessly care for these children, these gifts God has given me?

Parenting is about relationship.
The time I invest in my kids, I will get back tenfold. The time I miss, I will never get back. My kids need my time more than anything. More than toys or clothes or activities or technology. They need me to laugh and delight. They need me to connect and engage. To show them what a real life, face-to-face, hands-on, back-and-forth, team effort relationship really is.

Christine Leeb

Christine Leeb--Speaker and Christian Family Coach specializing in Parenting and Child Discipline.  Founder of Real Life Families--a non-profit organization building better families through free classes and resources.  Mother to three awesome (and exhausting) children from whom she shamefully hides brownies.  Wife to one patient (and polar-opposite) husband with whom she constantly quotes "Friends".  www.RealLifeFamilies.org