I’m assuming my kids are no different and share a common enthusiasm with other like-minded boys and girls—the electronic obsession!!??
These kids of mine would eat, drink, and sleep electronics if my husband and I allowed it, but thankfully for the sake of healthy living we’ve put a cap on their amount of exposure.
As a family we circled up in the living room about a year ago to hash out a plan or schedule for electronic time. That might sound over the top, but seriously it was necessary and has actually been pretty beneficial.
Here’s what we came up with: My kids love cereal (almost as much as electronics) and would prefer it for every meal. I’m not a fan; there can’t possibly be much nutritional value to a morsel of puffed up air, coated with sugar. Soooo, collectively, we determined cereal mornings would be limited to three mornings a week; and those other four days a week would be non-cereal breakfasts and become better known as electronic days, where the kids would be allowed an hour a day of screen time (video games, etc) after breakfast, chores, and school were finished.
*Side note: As a family we love to snuggle up and watch a good movie every once in a while, therefore family movie night doesn’t count toward the four hour a week screen-time limit….yay for parent rules!!
Needless to say these kids quickly and unknowingly picked up on the barter system. On the set electronic days often times one would come to me, “mom, can I just have cereal today? I don’t want (insert waffles, pancakes, eggs and toast, etc).” They wanted a trade out, and so I’d casually explain, “If you choose cereal this morning, you give up electronics for the day.” Without much thought given they’d cave to the quick fix, down a bowl of cereal, and then whine later at the realization that they’re bellies weren’t filled plus electronics had been willfully surrendered for the day.
It didn’t take them long to figure out the negative side of choosing a five minute gratification (cereal, which leaves you hungry within minutes) compared to an hour of satisification they’d have had with electronic time…
Very rarely do I have a child ask for an electronic-for-cereal trade these days.
At a much deeper level this process reminds me of the story in Genesis 25 where we read of Esau and Jacob, twin brothers with a selfish flair. One day Esau came home from the wilderness, exhausted and hungry, he said to his brother Jacob (who was cooking) “I’m starving give me some of that stew.” Jacob saw an opportunity to bargain and jumped on it, “all right, but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
***In Bible times, a birthright was a special privilege given to the firstborn son. It allowed him to one day possess material goods along with becoming the family’s leader. It was considered an important honor.
Dramatically, Esau determined he was starving; he succumbed under Jacob’s pressure and carelessly traded a long-term spiritual blessing for the quick temporary pleasure of food.
Sure enough, years later, when it came time for Isaac (their father) to bless his firstborn son, the birthright-blessing went to Jacob rather than Esau. Genesis 27 unfolds the full details of the story and the devious approach Jacob and his mama took to ensuring Jacob would for-sure receive the blessing, which came with bitterness and high consequences.
Esau, on the other hand, missed out on a lifetime blessing, all because he wanted the here and now, and nonetheless it was over a “stewy” situation from years before.
I love the lesson tucked into this story. It’s within these pages of scripture where we see just how our instant responses can sometimes leave us with delayed repercussions. Oftentimes this comes as a result of impatience when the stress seems overwhelming. Boy do I ever know that to be true!
What it comes down to, is recognizing temptation versus longer-lasting beneficial fulfillment and blessings.
In the big things, and the little, we can choose wisely (and with self-control) through Christ’ direction. Understand this, under the circumstances of pressure we have a chance to watch God work when we seek His will.
I’ve heard adults are presented with 35,000 choices per day. When you consider that number, it’s easy to believe some of those choices could definitely have a negative impact if not carefully handled.
1 Corinthians 10:13 offers us hope in a crazy-busy cereal, electronic, quick-fix driven world….The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Blessings to you,