Texting, Kiking, Oovooing, or whatever the latest version is, my kids enjoy these apps that allow them to text or talk to their friends. This digital age we live in has new challenges for parents. A wise person told me that the church often calls things “yucky” and spits them out entirely. This could be true of online chatting, but as parents, we have chosen to allow our kids to partake in these things and walk beside them as they navigate this digital world. They know that we check their conversations regularly, and have asked them not to erase their conversations immediately, so we can get a taste of what’s going on.
This week I was checking one of their devices, and noticed that most of the content had been erased from the day before. This warranted a conversation. Fortunately, before I was able to engage, God showed me something. I realized, that with this child, I was reading their conversations, and then bringing them up to them, not in a negative way, just as conversation. Something I don’t do with my other child. I realized, that I was putting them in a place where they felt uncomfortable, and caused them to worry, “What if mom brings this stuff up when my friends are here?” This child tends to talk to me, I mean TALK. You know them, the ones that follow you around the house moving from one topic to the next with barely a breath in between. The ones who stand outside the bathroom door to continue the conversation!
Well, I took that as liberty to talk to them freely as well. I realized that wasn’t the case, and I needed to be more respectful. So, I started the conversation with, “I need to apologize to you.” I went on to ask what I knew was true, if I had been making her feel uncomfortable. She confirmed my suspicions and I said that I would not engage in “texting” conversation unless I saw something that was concerning. She agreed, and thanked me. Only after we went over this did I remind her of our request for her not to erase her conversations. She didn’t become hostile or defensive, but instead agreed, and then explained to me that she hadn’t done it purposefully, that when she switches devices using the same app the conversations automatically get erased on the other device. Since this is not something she can control, I just asked her to not do it intentionally and we moved on with our day.
Interestingly, later that evening we were sitting outside on the deck by the fire and she started talking to me about a conversation that was taking place between her and a friend, and showed me some things that were going back and forth. I can’t take credit for this, because left to my own devices, I would have pushed her away, and made it about rules and the evils of the internet. But because I have a God who has my back and wants to see me enjoy a wonderful relationship with my daughter, He gave me the insight into how to go about this. He was able to cause me to look at myself before I made it about her. He is the perfect parent, and I pray and trust that He will never stop parenting me, so that I can parent them in His grace. Thanks God for having my back, and please oh please help me to keep my ears and heart in tune to Yours.