He sits slouched against the sofa, entranced by the action occurring on the screen of the hand-held electronic device. Occasionally, he will pop the screen with a thumb or slide a finger along the surface to scroll for more choices. He can sit and do this for hours.
As for you, you are enjoying the quiet stillness. It’s a break from the noise and chaos which you’ve experienced over the past few days. You silently express thanks for this wondrous, spellbinding device. Its magic is providing you time to get some of your work done, or to do some of your own social media surfing. You’d like for things to stay this calm all the time. But you know they can’t.
Because there is no way that mindlessly staring at an electronic screen for hours on end can be good for anyone. Not someone your own age. Not someone his parent’s age. And it definitely can’t be good for your 8-year-old grandson. Common sense tells you this fact. It doesn’t take a scientific study to prove the dangers of becoming an electronic junky or video zombie. In fact, you are battling your own junky-like tendencies.
But, oh, it is so peaceful and quiet.
You know that to tell him to put away the device means encouraging him to release all that pent-up energy. It will come forth in the form of running, jumping, throwing, hitting, or kicking. The objects utilized may be balls, cards, solo cups, toy cars, or furniture. He will do his best to restrain himself and to play within the bounds which you have set, but to do so will prove nearly impossible.
You know that it is up to you as the adult to help him channel the energy in a proper direction. You will try to help play in the house, but after a couple of near catastrophes, you know that he will need to be sent outside.
It’s hot out there. There are no other boys around with which to play. His personality does not allow him to play by himself for a very long period of time. So you know that you will have to be his playmate.
But it’s hot out there. And he will not want to simply stand to play catch. He will want to move. He’ll want to kick the ball. He’ll want to perform trick throws and catches. He’ll want to hit a ball as far as he can.
So before you tell him to put away the device, you spend quite a bit of time trying to think of activities which will require less energy output; fishing, building a bird house, shooting his BB gun. These activities work well, but they don’t last very long; an hour, 2 hours, maybe three; and then it’s back to the drawing board.
The next few hours sure would be easier on you if you didn’t care whether or not that little boy turned into a video zombie.
But you do care, because his mind and life are too valuable to be sacrificed to such trivial pursuits.
So you set aside your own electronic toy, and invitingly utter, “Let’s go play ball.”
At least that’s what I hope you do on a regular basis. For your young son’s or grandson’s sake, as well as for your own sake.
“28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV
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