Help, my two year old is addicted to technology.

Isn’t that special?

It started out cute enough.  In fact I was quite impressed and perhaps a little filled with a certain amount of pride.  Charlie my two year old has amazingly mastered the use of our laptops, iPhones and the like.  He can fire up the laptop, navigate towards Kidos (a safe internet site built primarily for preschoolers recommended by SafeEyes) and interact with the different videos and games.  He asks to play my iPhone and is able to find, switch between, start up and play all the games.  Alphabet songs, matching games, memory games, shapes and puzzles are second nature for him already.  He has learned to count and say the alphabet mainly from his interaction with this technology.

That is good…right?  I kind of thought it was good, but I’m not so sure anymore.

I’ve created a monster (or unleashed one)

Each morning, each evening, at church, driving in the car, anytime there is free time my little cute son is acting like a junkie needing a fix. “Can I play your iPhone?  Can I play webkinz? Can I play computer?”

We homeschool and it has been quite convenient to have him occupied with the computer focused on some “educational” material.  But now that is all he wants to do. I want him to play with blocks, to run around outside. I want to see him breaking stuff, throwing rocks, but he just wants to play games.  I suggest building a fort, shooting nerf guns, running around outside and he throws a fit wanting to play video games.

Now he does receive proper correction when he is throwing a fit and he doesn’t get to do whatever he wants, but I’m still concerned about his strong reaction to the video games.  It is a little troubling to say the least. Is this OK?  Is this normal, sinful, independent behavior or is there something more powerful at play because of the nature of the video technology?

I know firsthand how powerful technology and entertainment can be to anyone, but is there a greater danger for little ones?.  I have this unscientific, yet highly fearful suspicion that the neurological affects of technology on small children may be greater than I realize.   We are in a new day and age.  This is the beginning of the generations completely raised on technology from birth.   What will be the long term effects?  What are some wise parenting tips to having balance in this matter?  Is there an age that is too young to be playing with this kind of digital fire?  Is is simply fun and possibly even educational?  What strong connections are being made in his young mind that will forever alter his personality?

I wold love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Let me know what you think.  Maybe there is a good balance to all of this.

Seeds Family Worship: A Must For Your Family

Want to help your kids memorize the Bible?

Seeds Family Worship is an awesome resource for your family.  In fact, Seeds is the inspiration behind HolyOatmeal.  When I was toying with the idea of putting together kid songs that would help me teach my family God’s truth I found Seeds Family Worship.  Seeds began when Jason Houser the founder of Seeds was asked to put some songs together for his church’s kids ministry. The songs were so well received he felt like God was leading him to launch this as a full time thing.

I have had the privilege of connecting with Jason via telephone and really getting his heart for Seeds Family Worship.  He’s a great guy and he really has a huge heart to see families plant the seeds of God’s Word into the hearts of their kids. You can see why I love this guy and Seeds Family Worship.

So please head over to Seeds Family Worship and check out what they are doing.  I’m including a bunch of affiliate links so you can hear and purchase their CDs. They really are great.

Let me know what you think-leave a comment and share with your friends.

Top 5 Reasons I Suck At Parenting: and what to do about it.

The Tall Order:

Here at HolyOatmeal.com I am trying to get a hold of some ideas, thoughts, resources etc. which we can all benefit from.  Things which will frankly help us to help our kids really want to follow Jesus all the days of their lives.

That’s quite a tall order, but it seems like an essential one. In fact, while some parents are signing their kids up to advanced schooling programs, private sports leagues, expensive tutoring, etc. and all before the age of 6, I’m just hoping my kids don’t end up on some clock tower one day with a long range rifle (unless of course they are participating in some new Olympic sport).  I happen to believe THE thing is to point my kids as much as possible back to God.  I want them to see the relevance of the Bible, the church and Christ, not just so they can be pastors one day, but so they can have a life filled with the good things which come from living rightly.

Now I know not all of you reading this are Christians but I know we share a common vision of hoping for the best for our kids.  I know we all can agree that we want to foster an environment at home where our kids feel safe, good about themselves, confident, and inspired to help their fellow man.   These are good common goals to have.  So, why do I suck at trying to reach these goals?  Here are my top 5 reasons

Reason 1: It turns out I’m really pretty selfish: I’m not a big fan of having to do what is uncomfortable.  I have found that when I’m laying down on the couch I don’t really want to get up to help with the kids, or to put away the dishes, or to answer the door or to go to the bathroom.  The big surprise is being a stellar parent requires unselfishness.  Dern.  I was actually having multiple kids so I could have more free employees around the house-unfortunately it turns out it takes several years before the kids are actually that helpful.

Reason 2: I find listening to children quite a chore: I don’t know if you are aware of this, but kids can do some annoying things.  Have you ever had a 4 year old trying to tell you a “quick” story?  Man! It can take forever.  I once had to sit through what seemed like half an hour of “Hey dad.  Hey dad. Did you know that….Hey dad, hey dad. Did you know that the one guy at the thing….Hey dad….”
I have actually developed quite a skill at listening to talk radio in the car while my kid is telling me all the unknown secrets of Star Wars.  I am able to offer up strategically placed, “uh huh.” “that’s nice.” “yeah, that was funny when Padme did that.” while still catching up on the latest political firestorms.

Reason 3: It’s the little things which bother me the most: I can’t stand the fighting, the mess, the ruined (fill in the blank) the getting up out of bed 15 times, the spills, the toys left outside, the massive amounts of laundry, the cereal all over the floor, the bathrooms that look like a tornado came through, the broken windows, the table that snapped in two, the lack of wiling babysitter, the inability to go see a movie I want to see anymore….

Reason 4: I am a small angry man: Nothing quite like starting family devotions only to end up yelling at everybody to shut up and sit down because we’re going to spend some time with Jesus.  I can assure you my kids are all going to heaven because I scared the Hell right out of them.  Our family devotions have crumbled into  a combo of Bible verses and idle threats.  It doesn’t take long to go from Spiritual idealism to flesh driven frustration.

Reason 5: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing: You would think after 6 kids I would have a clue.  But it seems like each kid only shines more light on how unaware I really am.  I just figured out they all have different personalities (and different names too). None of them respond to my parenting the same.  I’m pretty sure half of them are plotting against me most of the time.  My dreams of wearing a nice sweater vest, smoking a pipe and handing out fatherly advice seems all but gone – although I have considered taking up smoking several times, but not a pipe.

What to do about it: While this post just might be a bit of hyperbole, it’s definitely easy to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, unprepared and lazy at times.  Sometime I just don’t want to parent.  I want to check out and run away.  What do I do in times like this?  1. Visit Walmart- always helps give me a fresh new perspective on how great of a parent I really am.  2. Chill out and take a walk.  If I’m frustrated and the kids are pushing my limits it’s OK to get some fresh air and clear my head and pray.  3.  Begin to thank God out loud.  A lot of frustration comes from an ungrateful heart.  Often I need to begin to speak thanksgiving for all the blessings we have as a family. 4.  Learn to enjoy my family.  Instead of trying to institute some stodgy religious exercises we need to celebrate God’s goodness. I need to let the kids dance, shout, move, sing, laugh as worship to God.  We aren’t running a seminary but a family who loves Jesus with our whole being.

I may suck at parenting but…I have a heavenly Father who loves me a whole bunch and has been modeling how I need to express my love to my kids.  This is radical love that goes way out of it’s own way to get a hold of those around it and make them feel special.  Life is not about a perfect bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, backyard, but about a perfect God loving some pretty imperfect people because he wants to.  Maybe I can start doing the same.  : )

Being A Dad Is So Much Fun!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I am kidding.  I really do love being a dad.  It is one of those true blessings in life.  One of my goals for the upcoming year is to slow down enough so I don’t miss out on the things which really matter.  I don’t want to be so grumpy with my kids.  I don’t want to be so busy doing my stuff I forget what of mine truly has value.

Families are a blessing from the Lord.  Am I living like they are a blessing?  Do I rejoice with those who rejoice?  When my kids discover something new and exciting to them do I celebrate with them?  Do I mourn with those who mourn?  When my kids lose it do I empathize or simply communicate irritation?

God help me to love them like you have loved me.  Help me to be the kind of Father you are to me.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk -DAD!

The cliche’ is a nice reminder that stuff  happens in life and it is not worth getting too upset about simple mistakes.  I am so quick to tell my kids they are overreacting when they freak out about something so small and seemingly stupid.  I realized though when one of my kids did spill some milk I huffed and puffed, rolled my eyes, said their name in a long drawn out sigh and basically tried to make them feel as stupid as possible.  Why?  Because the spilled milk was going to inconvenience me.

Advice to self-if I am trying to teach my kids not to stress the small stuff, then I have to stop stressing the small stuff.