Tag Archives: social media

A Letter to My Children About Growing Up in Your Generation

Dear children,

I don’t know what it’s like growing up in your generation. There are a lot of things about it that seem exciting. And a lot about it that seems hard. As your parent, I want to help you navigate through these waters.

As you sit and watch YouTube videos of children your age who have become famous making slime, opening toys, playing video games and doing food challenges – I wonder if you feel pressure to become famous yourself?

When I was a child, that pressure didn’t exist. To become famous typically meant moving to a big city with the hopes of being discovered as an actor, model or singer. You had to have a talent that would make you stand out from the others, and a willingness to relocate if need be. In other words, the possibility seemed slim at best.

But for you, it probably doesn’t feel that way.

I wonder what that’s like as a child? Do you feel that in order to be significant, you need to go viral? Do you feel like a person’s worth is directly related to the number of followers and likes they have on their social media accounts? Is this where your validation comes from? Do you feel like you need to have great wealth and fame to be special?

While those things may seem alluring – they will not satisfy your soul for long. They are like empty promises. You can have all of the wealth, fame, power, likes and followers and still not feel content. They may bring temporary satisfaction, but in the long run – will often leave you feeling dissatisfied and wanting more.

I want you to know you are special, and that’s not because of the number of people who follow you. It has nothing to do with how much money you make, or if people subscribe to your channel.

It is simply because you are – you. There is only one of you and there will never be another you.

I want you to grow up and pursue something you are passionate about because it feeds your soul, not because you feel like it will make you popular or rich.

I hope you are able to find joy in the simple pleasures of life – a good book, a warm fire, holding hands, saying “I love you”, drawing a picture, planting a garden, making a meal, watching the sun rise and set, taking a walk on a crisp autumn day, catching a fish and letting it go, playing a game, singing a song, listening to the sound of rain, dancing.

There are so many things to enjoy in this world. I hope you don’t always feel the burden or pressure to “share” these moments. I hope you are able to put your device down – and just be.

When I was a child, I would go on vacation with my family and have the ability to disconnect from everything – my friends, neighbors, school. The only way someone would be able to reach me, and I them, would be by making a long distance phone call. And that cost a lot of money. Money that my parents didn’t want to spend. There was no e-mail, texting or social media. If I really wanted to connect with someone, I would have to write them a letter and send it in the mail. That’s how ancient I am.

Now, you are constantly connected – even when on vacation. You don’t get breaks from social interaction, and I would imagine that has to be hard.

What kinds of pressure do you feel that didn’t exist for children years ago? How can I help you navigate through this world of technology? How do I teach you the value of disconnecting and being present with your surroundings and loved ones?

I don’t know what it’s like growing up in your generation, but I want to be here for you. I want to help you as best as I can. And one way is by modeling this myself. I can’t tell you these things aren’t important, and then become consumed with pursuing them myself. If I am not putting my phone down, what does that teach you? If I’m constantly checking my likes on Facebook and Instagram, what message does that send?

Believe it or not, it’s possible to have the most followers and likes – and still feel lonely. It’s possible to have more money than you could ever know what to do with – and still feel like it’s not enough.

These things will not bring you lasting contentment, but there are some things that I believe will.

Simple things.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and pursue a relationship with Him above all else. Build deep, meaningful relationships with the people in your life. Serve others. Love deeply. Discover your passions – and pursue them. Don’t worry about the future. Live in the moment. Stand up for what is right. Be true to who you are, not who you think society says you should be. Be kind. Trust in the goodness of God.

I don’t know what it’s like growing up in your generation, but I have faith in you. You’ve got this.

Just be you and always know that is enough – regardless of what the internet may tell you.

And know I am here for you.

Always.

 

 

A Letter to My Children as They Head to School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fake News

Last week, as I was preparing dinner, I found myself admiring the lovely pot of vegetables cooking on the stovetop. It was so lovely, that I couldn’t help but to grab my phone and snap a picture.

“This will look pretty on Instagram,” I thought to myself as I stirred. “Or maybe Facebook? I should familiarize myself with Snapchat. That may really be the best.”

Next, I sent a picture to my husband so he could see the healthy and visually-appealing meal we would be having that evening. I was completely tickled with myself.

As I was mentally preparing the words to go with this scrumptious post, it hit me – this was fake news!

This in no way, shape, or form represents the majority of the meals I put on the table. The night before, I made cream cheese and chicken stuffed crescent rolls. Prepackaged crescent rolls that I can’t imagine are horribly good for you. The meal was great and the kids gobbled it up, but not once did I think to snap a picture of the chicken squares to post on any, or all, forms of social media.

This got me thinking. Why not the chicken squares? Why the pot filled with a variety of delicious veggies? 

Because it’s about appearance – isn’t it? Social media is a platform for showing the people in our lives what we want them to see. We get to choose. Are they going to see the good? The bad? Or the in-between?

My guess is that most of us default toward the good – whether we realize it, or not.

I never once thought to take a picture of my chicken squares, but immediately thought to snap a shot of the veggie pot.

I also have never thought to snap pictures of myself when I’m bed-heady and puffy-eyed after a full night of sleep. Who would want to see that? No, thank you. The pictures I post are usually of something I have deemed exciting and worthy of sharing.

And if you think for one moment that I haven’t scrolled through every picture snapped in those few seconds to find the one where I think I look the best – you are wrong. I always choose the picture I think looks best.

Isn’t that why we hold the camera (or phone – excuse me) up (never down!) when we take pictures – because it supposedly makes us look more slender? Or why some people put their hands on their hips and lift a leg the minute someone says, “Cheese!”?

We want the best version of ourselves on display. That means the best-looking, most kind, healthy-eating, most amazing parent, brilliant, buttoned-up version of ourselves.

And that’s okay. This isn’t meant to shame all of you on social media who post your most beautiful pictures. Post away! You can bet your bottom dollar I’m doing the same. Remember how I started? I completely do this. In some ways, I have to imagine we all do.

I don’t think the problem is that we want to share pretty pictures – the problem is when we start to believe the pretty pictures completely and accurately portray every part of a person’s life.

Someone can look absolutely incredible through the lens of social media – and still have some major issues. Or minor. I mean – who doesn’t have issues? (If you responded with “Me,” that may be an issue. Just saying.)

I believe we need to guard our hearts and minds when we scroll through our feeds. And I believe we need to teach our children the same. What we see isn’t the full picture. We see what people want us to see. And there is a whole lot that goes on in the blank space – in those moments when nothing is being shared.

The most perfect looking couple still argues. The most beautiful looking woman still gets pimples. The most accomplished children still whine. The best cook still serves her children boxed mac and cheese (or at least I hope so – that stuff is good.) The person on a luxurious vacation had to spend a lot of money, and time, to get there.

Nobody is perfect. Sure, on social media, some people may look pretty close to perfect – but it’s just not true. We all fall short. We all mess up. We wake up bed-heady and puffy-eyed, without an ounce of make-up on (unless we forgot to take it off – and in that case it may be smeared all over your face.)

(Case in point – This is me, right now. I haven’t showered or brushed my hair and I am still in my pajamas. And it’s almost 2 in the afternoon.)

My pot of veggies nearly turned social media post reminded me of this truth. I need to be careful of how I view social media. And I also want to be authentic in how I portray myself. Does this mean I’m going to stop posting my favorite pictures? Um. No.

But what it does mean is that I am going to try to start sprinkling in some of the not-so-pretty stuff, too.

The stuff that says, “Hey. I’m human. I just burnt my toast and yelled at my kids. Some days I’m rocking it. And some days…..well, some days not so much.”

Because some days are prepackaged crescent roll days. And others are beautiful veggie pot days. It’s time to remember that both exist. For me, it’s time to start showing both.

 

 

(Disclaimer – I love the yummy looking, healthy meals that people post. They make me want to eat healthier and are super pretty, too. This is in no way saying those posts are bad. They are awesome. Keep doing your healthy food post thing. I just realized for me, in that moment, it wasn’t an accurate portrayal of who I am. That’s all.)

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