Pin It
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Disconnect to Connect: Foregoing Facebook and iPads to Model Connection for Our Children

By
Aaron Amat - Fotolia.com

So, I caved! I gave my 12-year-old Ethiopian daughter a cell phone this year. As she was heading into middle school, I realized that she needed it to stay connected to us “in case of emergencies.” Well, as you can imagine, the phone has become an invisible lifeline between my sweet Grace and her friends. Lately, when she walks in the back door after school, she forgets to say hello to me or doesn’t hear me because she is texting.

 

 

It has only been three years since Grace came to live with our family via adoption from Ethiopia. Though still a student in the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes, she texts like a pro and knows all of the abbreviations for things like ‘ttyl,’ ‘lol,’ etc. Recently, she had her phone taken away because we discovered 150 simultaneous texts to a friend.

 

 

Before we adopted, we were required to take classes on parenting adopted children. One main topic that came up repeatedly was maintaining a connecting between parents and the adopted child. We worked hard when Grace came home to ensure we talked to her and connected. However, we realized that giving her a phone to connect with us when she is not by our side also created a wedge between us when she is by our side. So we established a new rule that at home we all have to ‘disconnect to connect.’ Every single one of us in our family is guilty of connecting too much to our MacBooks, smart phones and iPads. Grace pointed out to me during a recent conversation where I said, “Grace, you don’t even acknowledge me when you come home from school. You are constantly texting,” that I was just as guilty. She replied, “Mommy, you are always on your laptop!” Gulp! I was caught. As a blogger, social media fan, podcasting host and amateur video editor, I do spend way too much time connected to the internet and the laptop. I am not proud to admit that I spend more time connecting to a thing rather than a person, especially my daughter.

 

 

As a Christian, we are taught to teach our children by example. I am afraid that I have not been modeling the best behavior in order to teach Grace that connecting with each other in person is much more valuable than a 140 character tweet.

 

 

It has made me contemplate how easy it is to rob our children of precious face-to-face time because we are determined to connect with someone across the planet via Facebook, pretending to be engaged in a meaningful relationship. Will my actions teach Grace how to mediate an argument between friends? Or will she watch as I ‘unfriend’ someone due to a perceived insult via a thread or status update? Will Grace witness true friendship as my friends gather for a party in celebration of a birth, anniversary or wedding? Or will she learn about virtual celebrations via Evite where she can click a ‘maybe’ when asked if she is attending the birthday party for her grandmother? Am I showing her what it means to be truly connected or am I encouraging faux relationships that are at best superficial? I ponder these things and have to remain intentional when remembering that as a parent, I am committed to teaching Grace by example what it means to be truly bonded to another individual.

 

 

For our kids, life moves by fast. It seems like yesterday when we decided to adopt Grace at the age of nine. I longed to hold her and teach her what it meant to connect to a mother while walking her through her grief from a premature and tragic disconnection from her birth mother, who died from AIDS. We have such a fleeting opportunity to fuse a connection that will provide her with a foundation to walk through life with the confidence and security that we will always be there for her.

 

 

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy, 11:18-19)

 

 

These days we are fixing the word of God on our hearts and minds, tying them as symbols on our hands and foreheads. Mainly, we are serious about teaching our children that they matter enough to have them fall asleep on our laps rather than our falling asleep cradling a computer. We have agreed to ‘disconnect to connect.’ We are enjoying real face time tonight and not forsaking our evening prayers, kisses on the cheeks and a face-to-face ‘I love you!’

© 2011 – 2013, Deanna Jones. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Language Resource Library for Raising Bilingual Kids

The most comprehensive list of language learning resources

Around the World in One Semester

Welcome to our newest blogger--a world traveling, homeschooling mom--to the InCultureParent family!

Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

Fancy schools, international vacations, foreign language books, DVDs and tutors add up fast

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Deanna Jones is the author of the number one Amazon adoption book To Be a Mother and is the founder of Mother of the World (mothertheworld.org).

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
For quite sometime, whenever there were articles that surfaced the internet concerning whether it was appropriate to breastfeed in public, I was so baffled. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that som...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
For quite some whenever there was articles circulated on the internet concerning whether it is appropriate to breastfeed in public. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that some countries considered i...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
I live with my Czech in laws with my four children and my Czech is crap I try to learn but the baby doesn't sleep well I'm a constant zombie and the brain just doesn't work. Plus being tired makes m...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I am so glad I found this site. I am happy to see that I am not alone in experiencing 'family issues' after getting married. I am not from the West but I am married to a Canadian. I never truly unde...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] my most favourite article about breastfeeding called Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan by Ruth Kamnitzer. I have no doubt that Mongolians would find our social stigmas around [R...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] sources and reasons for the rules of these countries too, such as China, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, and Hungary (see above re “Titanic”).  Has anyone got s...
From International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?
[…] Source Inculture Parents […...
From Lotus Lanterns for Wesak (Buddha Day)
If your nerves shat down your hormones , can you get pregnant by injecting a sperm in you to develop a baby . Please let me know...
From Baby-Making the Hindu Way
[…] Diwali Lantern from InCultureParent […...
From Diwali Craft: Make a Lantern

More The Religious Life of Children