FOMO and parenting

Earlier this school year my kids came home complaining that they were the ONLY kids in their classrooms not allowed unfettered access to youtube videos.  From their perspective, EVERYONE but them has their own channel and watches all the funny viral videos.

First off - not so.  But that isn’t an effective argument for them for the same reason it wasn’t for me.  It’s about FOMO (fear of missing out), not about equality.  

So on to my second point - so what?  Lots of times there will be lots of people doing lots of things that you can’t.  I’m your mom and love you.  I will not helicopter parent you, but I also will not throw you in the deep in before you know how to swim.  

Turns out that is also not effective at treating FOMO.  

Once point 1 and 2 had been made, I moved to an action plan.  We love Jesus in this house and He tells us to be in the world and not of it (John 17:14-15).  The kids were citing a serious lack of “in the world-ness.”  Fair enough.  

I found a neat site run by Donald Miller called storylineblog.com.  On Saturday mornings a guy on his site loads up 3 or 4 of the best viral videos found during the week.  Lots of times they are silly, sometimes touching, occasionally quirky.  As they are largely on youtube I can log into an account I made and put all the videos in my cue for the kids to watch with me.  

It’s been a great solution here at the Smith house.  One morning I showed them a video about a cardboard arcade and they spent hours in the basement building games from boxes.  And they didn’t have the awful day where they were the ONLY one in the class who didn’t know what the fox says.  

Double win.    


Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

In Exodus 3 Moses, shepherding his sheep, comes upon a curious site – a bush that burns but is not consumed.  His curiosity draws him in, closer, closer.

God, seeing He has Moses’ attention, calls.

“Moses, Moses!”

“Here I am,” Moses responds.  

“Take off your shoes, Moses, you are standing on Holy Ground.”

And Moses, in the presence of holiness, hides.  He must have felt as Adam did.  Exposed.  Naked.  The futility of hiding is obvious but he is unable to resist the instinctive response.  

The call on his life was one from long ago.  A call he had abandoned when he murdered an egyptian, perhaps feeling the call was murdered as well.  He was a tainted failure.  Living proof that the position of leader was too big for him.

He had started anew, abandoned all else as something ruined by his sin.  His family, his occupation, his wanderings.  Nothing about him would point to his miraculous adoption into royalty, the mother who rocked him and whispered the secrets of Elohim while his parents surrounded themselves with idols.  Those were shadows behind the new life he lead in his father-in-laws house.  

Now this Elohim was calling him again.  The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, the God of the living, had a plan for a nation and a plan for Moses. 

Who but God would whisper to a man who was broken? 

Is God whispering to this broken girl?  One who was once known for lies and deceit?  Am I one whom He would dare pour His gift of life and truth?  

I hear the whispers of God.  Sometimes calling me to new things.  Sometimes reminding me of who He is.  Often reminding me that His ground is Holy ground – that the seeds He has planted in my life will by His power be brought to harvest. 

Like Moses I am curious.  What are you doing, Lord?  How are you so bright and hot and intense – yet never destroying?  You declare yourself in my life and call me to things beyond what I can imagine.  Like Moses, I doubt His power can overcome my weaknesses.  I become myopic about my sins.  

Then I am in awe.  What a curious thing to feel God’s hand or to catch a glimpse of His love for His people.  His love for emancipation, willingness to work with even a silly girl like me to bring a bit of light into a dark world.  Like Moses I fall on my face.

Is God calling to you?  What is He whispering?  Will you let Him guide you into the plans He has for your family, your neighborhood, your nation?  Know that when He invites you into His plans you are standing on Holy Ground.  And when you are on Holy Ground, He will be faithful to complete what He’s started. 

He downright delights in it.