The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Parenting at 52: Watch out for "Precious."


Today I received a notice from Amazon. The email indicated that my order would arrive in two days.  What did I order? According to Amazon I ordered headphones for $350 and a video game for $50. I immediately called the family members who order things from my Amazon account. They all denied having placed the "1 click" order. I then clicked the cancel button on the order and called Amazon. All that they could tell me was that the order was placed at about 4:30 AM PST. 

The light began to dawn on my confused and dark brain. Where was I at 4:30 AM PST? Well, I was in my office at 7:30 AM EST. Then I remembered that my daughter Abigail (age 2) was with me at that time. She is fascinated by technology. It is not uncommon to find her hidden away with my phone.  This morning, while the coffee was brewing, she turned on my Kindle and turned on an Amy Grant Christmas album. I was busy setting up my computer and getting my books organized for the day. When it was time to take Abigail back upstairs, I checked the Kindle. I simply noticed that she was on the Amazon page. 

While I was on the phone with Amazon, I remembered the Kindle. I connected the time of the order with Abigail playing with the Kindle. I then figured it out. Abigail ordered some very nice headphones and a cool video game. I suppose that she was buying me some gifts for Christmas. I tried not to curse the "1-click" shopping option that makes ordering so easy. Thankfully the kind folks at Amazon were able to cancel my order. I changed my password, just in case.

I was reminded this morning that parenting at age 52 is very different from when I was 28. When I was 28 we did not have a computer or a cell-phone. Amazon did not exist.  Things were much slower 24 years ago. Parenting at 52 means coming to grips with technology, for one thing. I am not anti-tech (obviously). I think that we see the creativity of God on display with the development of all of kinds of devices. However, like any good gift from God, I have to be on guard for problems. The problems are not a result of the existence of technology. The problems are much deeper than that. The problems go all the way down into my heart. Technology, and anything else under-the-sun, serve to shine the searchlight on my sinful heart. 

This is the lesson that I must learn and that I must teach my children. Sin is first of all a heart issue. "1-click" shopping is not a bad thing. The bad thing is when I am so anxious over a product and my heart is racing, that I can't wait to click. Two-day shipping is not a problem. The problem is that my heart does not want to wait for anything. The problem with technology is that the creators of technology are savvy concerning the human heart. They know that we are impatient and that shiny things easily mesmerize us. 

At age 52 I have to better learn how to use and redeem technology for the glory of God. I need to help my daughters to see that "all that glitters is not gold." I must learn and teach patience. And I have to learn and teach that technology can become a "Precious."

I have a love/hate relationship with powerful things. Like Gollum I can see such powerful things as "Precious." I am tempted to think that if I can just get the "ring" then I will become the "master." And I hate what I can allow the "ring" to do to me. So I fight. Competing voices cry out. The only way that I can master technology and its virtual power, is to submit to the real Master, God the Creator.  

Parenting at 28 meant dealing with all sorts of things that were precious and that competed for the loyalty of my family. Parenting at 52 means dealing with new kinds of masters that are faster and that can change your life with just "1 click."