Read This If…
- the technology in your family is taking over.
- you need some practical ideas on how to redeem technology in your home.
- you’re looking for godly parenting resources.
Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. And it’s definitely not just about the kids.
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.
When it comes to technology, most of us are more like alcoholics than we are like sourpussed teetotalers.pg. 103
When I plucked this little book out of the mail from Baker Books
(thank you to Baker Books for the opportunity review this book) I immediately assumed that this would be a quick read with largely little to add to my knowledge. I’m a youth pastor after all! I harp on the use of technology in the home as a part of my job. I read about and study the effects that technology has on our sexuality, relationships, families, etc etc. I get it – technology is dangerous and as parents and pastors we need to find ways to guard our kids, guard our families, and put first things first. We need to talk more, be together more, explore more, and turn off more.
But this little book is far more than I realized. In fact, I think that the title betrays the robust content that is to follow in the 200 + pages behind the cover. While Andy Crouch does provide some excellent guidance on the use of technology in our lives and in the lives of our families, he also deals with this issue at the heart level – asking great questions about our values, our rhythms of life, and the the things to which we are enslaved. It is deep, biblical, honest, and insightful.
Crouch begins at the ground floor by asking the question: what is family for? His answer – . He specifically draws attention to the way in which family is vital in the formation of wisdom and courage. The remainder of the book highlights ways in which technology robs our families of growth in these areas and provides practical solutions for how we (parents) can bridle technology in order that it might serve us instead of allowing our families to be enslaved to it.
“Technology is good at serving human beings. It even – as in medical or communication technology – saves human lives. It does almost nothing to actually form human beings in the things that make them worth serving and saving”pg. 66
I deeply appreciate the honesty that Crouch displays. Reading parenting books (particularly Christian parenting books) can often be terribly discouraging. We read about what we should be doing and the reality that plays itself out in our homes each day makes us feel like utter failures. And while some of the ideas that Crouch prescribes may seem impossible, he offers hope that change can happen. At the end of each chapter Crouch assess how his own family is getting along as it relates to the specific challenge of the chapter. This helped me realize that this whole parenting thing is a marathon – not a sprint.
Another section that was uniquely challenging was the one dedicated to defining and exploring rest and work. Crouch details the differences between rest and leisure juxtaposed with work and toil. He notes that technology has played a significant role in causing our work to become toil (it keeps us tied to work long after our normal hours) and our rest to become leisure (we spend time vegged out in front of screens instead of growing our relationships with God and others).
“If toil is fruitless labor, you could think of leisure as fruitless escape from labor. It’s the kind of rest that doesn’t really restore our souls, doesn’t restore our relationships with others or God.”pg. 87
I don’t want to detail the entirety of the book, but I do want to draw out one more section that was especially eye-opening. Crouch explains that boredom is actually a result of being overly entertained. We have become so used to be entertain every waking moment, that we have lost the ability to be still, to enjoy solitude, and simply be quite. This is why – as soon as we have nothing to do, we immediately turn to our phones. This is why our children complain of being bored. They no longer need to exercise their imagination, learn to hold conversations, or explore the great outdoors. They can be entertained with the click of a button.
I have recommended this book consistently, have had excellent conversations about the content, and have even purchased it for a few friends. If you are a parent, this book is a must read – you simply should not be parenting in the 21st century without it.