Living in the age of technology and instant information has its perks. No one can pull one over on us in social gatherings anymore since we always have Google at our fingertips to check the facts. The downside, however, is that we can become addicted to the instant response. We begin to look for the quick fix in contexts that require more wisdom and discernment and not just fact-checking. In our search for the quick answer, we can miss the best one.
It has been my observation that this happens frequently in the arena of parenting advice. Clearly I have nothing against using the Internet for this purpose, since I am writing this blog article, but we need to remember that the Internet is just a tool which should be used with discernment. In today’s climate the Internet and more specifically, social media, often overshadows other time-tested resources. In Proverbs 15:22 we are told, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” (NASB) The next time you need some wisdom in your parenting, consider the following tried and true “counselors” – even if you use the Internet to connect to them.
- God’s Word – Maybe this one seems obvious, but I am amazed at how many times we fail to seek God’s wisdom in His Word first. In Hebrews 4:12 we are told that His Word “is living and active” and it is “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” That’s a pretty powerful parenting tool and yet, we are so quick to overlook it. Let me encourage you, if you are struggling in your role as a parent prayerfully go to the Word. If you use your favorite Bible app, it won’t take any longer than a Google search to find deep, rich, and abiding answers, better than any blog out there.
- Your Spouse – When I ask a mom seeking my advice what her husband thinks about the issue at hand, well over half of the time she hasn’t thought to ask him. A dad is more likely to have sought his wife’s input than the other way around. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I thought to write on this topic. Ladies, please don’t overlook the wonderful resource you have in your husbands. Some of my best solutions have come from my husband. When I have been in the fray with the kids all day, he brings a fresh and more objective perspective. He can be amazingly creative and can cut through the clutter to get to the heart of the matter and bring God’s Word to bear on the situation at hand. Think about it, he is the only one who has the same vested interest in how your children turn out and he is the one whom the Lord has provided to walk through life with. Why would you not ask him?
- Older Women – God’s Word tells us that “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” Job 12:12 (ESV) As we walk with the Lord and gain life experience, we become practiced at living according to God’s wisdom and we have a perspective that only comes with time. As an older woman, I am instructed in Titus 2:3-5 to encourage younger women, teaching them what is good in their roles as wives and mothers. This has both practical and eternal purposes. The biggest problem with social media, for example posting questions on Facebook, is we are essentially asking everyone’s advice and as a result we get many opinions, based on a variety of philosophies that can often contradict one another. It seems we are looking for consensus more than wisdom; a quick fix over a reasoned response. Since most of our online friends would fall into the category of “peer” over “aged” we may be foregoing solutions that stand the test of time. To be clear, by “peer” I mean someone equal in knowledge and understanding. The “older” person may even be younger than you, just ahead in life experience and wisdom. My encouragement would be to seek the advice of women who have been where you are and have learned well from it, gaining insight consistent with Biblical principle. I don’t mean to say there is not a place for peers. We can often learn practical solutions to current problems from others who are where we are in life. My caution is this should not be our only or primary resource.
The Internet can be a valuable tool in connecting us with the resources we need to raise our children today. We need to use it judiciously to be sure it enhances rather than detracts from our efforts. As parents it is our responsibility to discern the truth in the many voices and opinions out there and choose those which are Biblical, well-considered, and wise.
Beth Ann Plumberg is a Contact Mom for Christian Family Heritage. She is wife to Chuck, mom to four grown boys and 3 daughters-in-love and grandma to 3 precious babies. Chuck and Beth Ann are active in their local church discipling young parents and leading classes.