Fireside chats were the staple of a presidency and of a generation. Families would gather around the radio for FDR’s periodic evening addresses to the nation. A couple times during a given week they might sit by the box to “watch” a baseball game - The announcers were that colorful. In the 1960’s televisions began to infiltrate the home and families would gather around the new box to watch “Gunsmoke” or another popular show together. As televisions became more affordable and networks expanded to offer a variety of entertainment, family members split off to watch their favorite shows. Today there is an average of 2.2 televisions per home with 65% of homes having at least three sets. The television rarely pulls families together today.
The advent of the personal computer in the 1970’s introduced another new box but this one was designed to be used by an individual. There were no family gatherings around the computer. Technological advancements began to make laptop computers affordable and popular in the 1990’s. By 2004 over 70% of adults in America owned a desktop or laptop computer. The iPhone was introduced in 2007 and today over 68% of Americans own a smart phone, the latest new box. In talking with a dad recently who is also a computer forensics expert commented that “these boxes are killing us.” The constant distraction and associated isolation have taken their toll in family and the workplace.
Outside the Box: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46-47. The Way was all about relationship in the 1st century. Believers needed to band together to strengthen their faith and encourage each other in the face of persecution by the Roman Empire. It is the same in the 21st century so isolation is a tactic the devil uses to inhibit relationship in marriage and family. As the family goes the church goes, so marriage and family are the enemy’s key targets. Christians must think outside the box to recognize the enemy, face down his tactics in the power of Jesus the Christ and continue to meet together in family and as the Church.
An encouraging trend recently is the number of households where dad and mom have instituted an open-door policy - no televisions, computers or smart phones are allowed behind closed doors. In many homes cell phone usage contracts are signed by the kids and phones are turned in and charged centrally every night. With this kind of initiative, family time is back on the increase and the devil’s scheme of isolation is kept in check.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the giftedness of individuals that brought forth the technology we benefit from today. As with many things, what was developed for good has at times been used for bad. Forgive me for spending too many hours in front of the television and on the computer while ignoring relationships You have blessed me with in family. Equip me to identify schemes that work to distract and isolate me in prompt fashion and grant me boldness to face down the enemy’s tactics in Your powerful name. Help me be the man, husband & father You call me to be, that the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father thinks outside the box, rebukes the enemy and stands firm in Jesus.