Seek to Serve and Talk About It
Social Media has become the ubiquitous friend and enemy of teens in 2014. What was meant to connect and share has isolated and corrupted. Students are now becoming concerned about the message they sending out and can keep score with the number of “likes”. This is no different than a clothing company’s marketing campaign relating their message to consumers to their bottom line. Some hold that the current culture has driven kids to build their own personal brand. With that, they loose close connections with others and loose sight of their current reality.
What can you do to combat the negative effects culture is having on our youth? As a family, the parents need to get the focus off the “me” and put it on the “we”. Give your children a bigger story to live than the ones they can watch on social media. Adopt a family mission and go do it. I have heard of one family that pledged to raise $25,000 for an orphanage overseas. The father did not know how they would do it but the family rallied together, raised the money, and were even able to volunteer their. Subsequently, this venture also saved their daughter from making a number of bad choices. You could drill a well in South America with Living Water International, go on a mission trip with your church, or just volunteer at a local food bank. Just find a mission, own it, and do it.
Another way to resist the negative affects of culture is to work on your child’s emotional intelligence, things like self-awareness, empathy, communication, and teamwork. In this day, hard-skills are emphasized because they are measurable while soft skills are tossed by the wayside. We have also fallen into the trap that schools are solely responsible for teaching these soft skills. As parents, we must be the ones responsible for teaching our children these necessary skills. Much of this training comes through communicating as a family, expressing your emotions, and processing interactions. Parents may not be able to match Google’s ability to recall information but they can far surpass its ability to weigh information and emotions.
Put down the phone, get away from the screen, seek to serve another, and talk about it.