Getting kids to think for themselves promotes cyber safety. James 1:5 tells us that when we lack wisdom and seek it with a sincere heart God grants it liberally without finding fault. This applies to our children. And the most important thing we can do is get them thinking for themselves, rather than simply going along in order to fit in. Over the past few weeks Jodie and I have talked about bringing clarity to key concepts that help us and our children maintain open communication rooted in truth: private and secret, brave and risky, and trust and faith. Today we are talking about clarifying what it means to forgive and excuse so as to help promote individual resiliency.
Choose to not allow what offends or hurts become your truth
In the social network and in the flesh, it is easy to be offended, and how we choose to respond to the things that offend us shapes our character as more secure or insecure. And when we are insecure, we know that there is a tendency to engage in risky behavior or become depressed or anxious about untruth. One example is that feeling of isolation or of being excluded when you read on Instagram that you are not included to attend a social event: the temptation might be to a) say disparaging things about the event or the people behind it, b) do and say things that are out of character for you but will get you in to the good graces of the group, or b) believe the lie that you do not matter and are alone. If we are not able to examine the things that offend us to learn from them and let it go, then it is difficult to grow and mature into a more secure individual.
To forgive and excuse are not the same thing
Clarify for your children the difference between forgive and excuse. Many people may think about forgiving as excusing bad or hurtful behavior, but it is not. It is making the choice to not be harmed and defined by what has happened. In this regard, forgiveness is the power to overcome the world in the realm of your own heart and mind, for my faith informs me that something is only true if you allow it to be so in your own mind – especially when the lie has become a real experience murdering the truth in the social network and in the flesh. So I have come to understand forgiveness to mean holding yourself and others accountable with a merciful heart – no judging. On the other hand, when we excuse someone, it is because we find there is a valid reason to not hold a person accountable for what happened –mainly because they were not in a position of power or control.
For more about cyber safety software and tools: Cyber tools and applications for parents
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.
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.