Liberty that belongs to the soul cannot be taken, but it can be surrendered
- Teaching our children that liberty already belongs to their soul is the most important thing a parent can do for the modern child so they can learn how to become free agents in the social network and in the flesh.
Mobile connectivity is a game changer for growing up and parenting. There are many great benefits (education distance learning efficiencies, facetime to strengthen family and friend relationships over distances, more efficient communication and delivery of services, and enhanced capacity for collaboration that makes greater innovation possible). And there is a dark side that amplifies and exposes kids to the adult issues of bullying, addiction and exploitation with tremendous efficacy and in very clandestine ways. In the network culture, Alexander Hamilton’s famous quote: “Stand for nothing, and you fall for anything” is more relevant than ever. So let’s consider some of the lies in the social network that convince us and our children of things that are not true and that really don’t matter (unless we allow it in our own minds):
- I am not loveable unless I send a nude photo of myself.
- The number of “likes” I get in reply to my post validates me.
- I am invisible without a profile on Instagram, Twitter or SnapChat.
- I cannot fit in or stop the pain without drugs and alcohol.
- The voice behind the stranger’s photo cares about me
- Alcohol is safe as long as you don’t get behind the wheel.
- I have no future, no hope. There is no point in going on.
- My cyber social realm is a single point of reference for life.
- Minor children need privacy from their parents.
- Parents need to be in control of their child’s social cyber experiences.
And the bad actors in the network and in the flesh are counting on fear-based paradigms to keep us from relating to our children about where their freedom comes from in the first place. It has already been won and must be defended. This is a very different conversation to have with your children about discipline and self-governance in the social network and in the flesh. So the sooner you relate to your child as an emerging executive who has the capacity to learn how to use their intellect and free will wisely, the more secure they will be when confronted with the network pressure of untruth aimed at them like a fire hose.
Faith and freedom
Ironically, we live in a free society and yet we are not comfortable declaring our religious beliefs at home and in the public square because diversity of faith is perceived as divisive and inspires fear. Whatever your religious beliefs, liberty in the flesh or in the social network is a matter of spiritual resilience which cannot be faked nor duped. So how can we expect our children to a) know where their personal power comes from, and b) stand their ground on the divine principle of freedom that liberty already belongs to their soul?
Yep, spiritual beliefs are the elephant in the room. So please allow me to declare this about myself and my motivation. I consider myself to be an American with a heart for Jesus Christ. My Christian faith is my choice to embrace the spiritual wisdom of my parents. I was raised in Oakland, Ca. in the Catholic faith. My dad was a devout Catholic, and my Mom was raised in the Methodist tradition by her mother and her father did not declare affiliation with any religion. My faith as a mom was shaped by how my parents formed a united front to raise their children respecting their faith as a personal thing that is not to be micromanaged by the other. They instilled two thoughts that serve me to this day: 1) something is only true if you allow it be true in your own mind, and 2) in order to succeed, you must apply yourself.
Let us consider that as primary teachers for life, parents have the genuine authority to impart their spiritual wisdom to their children by honoring their intellect and will as God does. We know this as a historical fact; a handful of people declared that one benevolent Deity, one God, grants individuals intelligent life and free will – and this is power, to worship as you please or not worship, that cannot be taken but it can easily be surrendered – so stand your ground! It is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, that makes civil liberty possible. Hence an atheist can declare in the public square that there is no God, because a handful of people acted on this mustard seed of faith that God grants us this power to choose what to believe.
So when I talk about faith and freedom, I am referring to this mustard seed of faith that makes a free society possible and that also engages the intellect and will of our children so we can impart wisdom which includes your own particular religious faith be it Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or atheist. And then it is up to the child to decide what to believe as we offer instructive experiences to communicate how our faith makes it possible to take responsibility for our own lives and pursue happiness.
The new demand for the modern parent is to govern the cyber-powered home with authenticity (fearless) and with the confidence of the mustard seed of faith that makes a free society possible. To this end, Banana Moments Foundation has created a training curriculum called, Fresh Start Family Culture Builder for Household Executives, which is currently offered at training events and will soon be available through on -line purchases.
Learn more about creating a home environment characterized by open communication and individual resilience, go to: Fresh Start.
Make a donation to expand BMF capacity to share this message of reclaiming our hearts and minds at home and confront with confidence the power and control issues of the hyper-connected world.
Proceed to next article: Is your family wiser? Connecting cyber safety to groupthink
*** NEXT EVENT***
Symposium on Meeting the Spiritual and Mental Health Needs of Modern Youth and Families – June 13, 2015, in Citrus Heights, California
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.