(If you haven't read part 1, I encourage you to scroll down and read that first. :-)
So here I am again at the computer. But today I sit down and type not because I'm desperate for an escape (although I confess that does happen frequently around here). In fact, I have had an unusually blessed day. We began our homeschool routine again after what seemed like an eons-long break, and though I re-entered the scheduled arena with some trepidation (how much attitude and bickering will I face today?!), I report with great joy that today has been an AMAZING day with my kids. I'll write more later about the little ways we're trying to improve daily life around here, but I note all this at the beginning of this particular post because I want to validate (for myself at least) my "screen time," as we call it around here.
Constant Contact is a part of our culture, whether we like it or not. It's not only Facebook, though that aspect was the one that got the most attention in my first post. The newspaper can even be a source of Constant Contact for me--last year I became nearly obsessed with the political scene and spent way too much time pouring over the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Blogs also captivate me. I enjoy keeping our family blog up-to-date since far too much happens for my to physically scrapbook it all. And I enjoy reading friends' blogs and humorous or inspirational blogs as well. When I visit a friend's blog, I try to leave a comment, just a little something to let her know I'm reading her posts. I know I enjoy reading people's comments, and it makes me feel my efforts benefit others as well as myself. But...back to that prideful spirit! As someone noted in one of her comments on that post, that, too, can put a blight on an otherwise uplifting activity as we seek validation from human sources. Darn this selfish flesh!
Sometimes I long for the simpler days of history, before technology so completely pervaded people's lives. I wonder, if I lived a couple of centuries ago, would I have taken more hours in my day to appreciate what was around me? Would I still have a to-do list miles long? Would I still long to escape my responsibilities for a day or two now and then, or would I be more content? A drawback of Constant Contact is realizing there is so much out there--to do, to read, to watch--and developing an insatiable desire to be a part of it. My own "addiction" is, according to the strictest definition of the term, probably better described as a distraction for me; a dangerous one, to be sure--I'm raising soldiers in Christ's army, a task that demands my full attention! I've seen folks who post status updates literally several times an hour and comment on everyone else's updates obsessively. (How DO those people deal with all the notifications?!) While I'm considerably far from that level of "addiction," the burden on my heart is very real to be a good steward of ALL of my time.
So I ponder this idea of Constant Contact, and I realize that there are actually two forms of Constant Contact that I want to make sure I DO incorporate into my life.
First and foremost, I want to be in Constant Contact with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. "Pray continually" and "draw near to God" are commands I need to take to heart in 2010. I love the story of Mary and Martha, the sisters who both loved Christ but showed their love so differently. I think Martha's to-do list was probably a lot like my own.
* Plan the menu
* Prepare the food
* Cook the meal
* Clean the house
But right now, it's Mary's to-do list that interests me. Mary was definitely an NLM (non-list maker), in my opinion. But humor me for a moment. If she DID write a list down, it would be pretty simple.
* Find Jesus.
* Sit and listen to Him.
Sounds good to me! So why can't I slow down and do that?! Probably because I'm too busy squeezing in some Constant Contact with things that don't really matter during my already-full days.
That brings me to my second desire for Constant Contact, and that is with my family. My instinctive reaction to the sentence I just wrote is to laugh out loud long and hard, having just spent a few weeks holed up in the house during very cold weather with very active children who had, apparently, very little to do other than drive each other and their parents crazy. But hear me out for a moment...or rather, listen as God Himself speaks through Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This passage has long been our family's call to homeschool the children God gives us. Talk about Constant Contact! How else can we teach our kids to know and love God? Every part of our day is to be infused with informal lessons about God, from the time we wake to the time we go to bed. If I'm not in Constant Contact with my children, I simply cannot obey these commands to the fullest, and I miss out on some of the greatest blessings God has for me. So while Constant Contact with 5 kids 9 years old and under from a human perspective sounds like a prescription for disaster, it is in fact a necessary part of training the next generation in righteousness.
I'll repeat what I wrote in part 1: I am writing DESCRIPTIVELY here, not necessarily PRESCRIPTIVELY. Doubtless there are godly Christian parents who are not homeschoolers who are nevertheless doing a fine job of training their children in godly ways. They use their time with their children wisely and follow Deuteronomy 6's instructions to speak of God and His precepts and character as often as possible. I'm not here to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do regarding their family situation, just as I didn't intend to declare Facebook evil. :-) I'm simply sharing what God has laid on my heart. I hope it's beneficial for someone else.
May you be in Constant Contact this year with the One who loves you most!