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Friday, January 28, 2011

Slaying Your Media-Dragons

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently came out with this study; Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. The Results were staggering.
  • Kids spend more than 7.5 hours with media—TV, iPods, and the Web, plus another two hours on their cell phones, per day.
  • Families communicate an average of 40 percent less when the television is on.
  • Heavy media users reported lower grades and happiness levels.
Slaying the media-dragons in our home is an ongoing battle. As the children have gotten older, we've gone from battling the TV to warring against cell phones, Facebook, and video games. (Not in that order!)
As the matriarch of our home it wasn’t long before I realized I was plugged in a lot, and when I looked around, it was clear we were battling a fire-spitting media-dragon—our television.

When I stopped to think about it, there were days I gave more of my undivided attention to it than any of my four children combined. It was my daily drug of choice, taking me to far-away places, allowing me to peek inside homes I prayed were more dysfunctional than ours, and taught me more about great white sharks than I cared to admit. Yes, I loved my TV. I couldn’t imagine living without it.

Unfortunately, what was originally created to add a small slice of entertainment, fast became the media bully on the block. With my full consent, I allowed it to take center stage and become the biggest time-stealer in our home.

We unplugged our television two-and-a-half years ago. It's been the best decision we've ever made. Sure, we still watch a family DVD together with a big bowl of popcorn, but the constant white noise is no longer distracting me from what's really important, my family.

Electronics were created to make life easier. Instead, they've become time-consuming beasts gobbling up any extra moment in our day. Since unplugging the kids are doing even better in school. Books are seen in the hands of my kids now, and their test scores are soaring. Have I mentioned the greatest advantage? Our home is once again a sanctuary from the storms of the world. Peace reigns once again.

How about you? What fire spitting media-dragon are you battling?

Unplug and kill it today.

Read Wall Street Journal article "Your BlackBerry or Your Wife?" and Yahoo News article "Unplugged Teens Find There is Life After Electronics" for more interesting stories about family's like yours who've unplugged.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Change of Plans - Movie Night This Saturday on Fox!

What are you doing this Saturday night? Any chance you have a little time to watch a family movie together?

Change of Plans is a pro-family, pro-adoption movie on Fox this Saturday night.

Check out the trailer here: Change of Plans 

Change of Plans tells the story of a young couple, Sally and Jason, whose lives are turned upside down when Sally's best friend from college is killed in a tragic accident. Sally and Jason are forced to make some life-altering decisions when they discover that she has been named legal guardian to her friend's four children, three of whom were adopted from third world countries. Change of Plans stars Brooke White (American Idol) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and according to the official website, portrays how "fulfilling life can be when you look beyond your own plans and invest in the lives of others." What a great discussion starter for you to engage your kids around issues that are truly important. - Dennis Rainey, Family Life

After the movie is over, take a moment and talk with your children about the story line and what it means to invest in the lives of others.

Don't forget, this Saturday night, gather the whole family together, pop some popcorn and spend a night at the movies - in your family room!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Whose team are you on in 2011?

Do you have a favorite sports team? What candidate did you support for president in 2008? Each one of us has an answer for that question. We may not always like everything about our sports team or our candidate, but we call ourselves fans or supporters anyway.

But, what if our words don't match our actions?

What would people say if you claimed you supported John McCain, went to all his rallies, put his signs in your front yard, but then voted for Barak Obama?

If you were truly for McCain, your actions would show that.

The point of this article is not to discuss politics, but to point out the problem with claiming to be part of a group and then doing things that are contrary to that group’s beliefs. Specifically, I’m speaking of Christianity.

When you become a Christian or if you call yourself a believer in Christ, once that choice is made, it requires a certain response.

If you claimed the New York Yankees were your favorite team - you'd  root for them and against the Boston Red Sox (or vice versa if you are reading this from Beantown).

When you're in a group or on a team, you receive a membership handbook that outlines what you have to do to belong and what is expected of its members. God has given us a handbook called the Bible. 

So, do you claim to be on God's team? Would people be surprised to find that out?

James 3:8-10 says: “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”

Do we tame our tongue? Are we worshipping God on Sundays and cursing man Monday through Saturday? Clearly, God’s word counsels us not to curse our fellow man. If we are gossiping or backbiting our family members or co-workers, we are not exhibiting the traits of a member of Christianity.

Second Timothy tells us: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

As members of God’s team, we need to be in the Bible (our spiritual handbook) every day. We should not know more about our favorite sports teams or celebrities then we do about God.

It has never been easier to do a daily devotional. You can have them emailed to you or even sent to your cell phone. But, beware of letting these Twinkies provide you spiritual nutrition. As believers, we need to take time out for a Biblical feast, not only on Sundays.

Colossians 4:5 reminds believers to “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.”

Our conduct should lead others to Christ and should clearly indicate our membership in His group. This is our opportunity to show non-believers a different way to live in our fallen world.

And, when we say we are rooting for God and are on His team, they won’t be surprised to find that out.