My family spends many hours in the car during the summer, just like many of you - heading to soccer or basketball tournaments, visiting the grandparents in Palm Desert, or simply a quick trip to the beach. I love these times because the kids are in the car and we have (or can get) their undivided attention, and we take advantage. One of our rules is that each person only gets to be on their phones about half the time, and the phones are put away completely for short trips.
My kids actually enjoy it, even though they pretend they don’t. Tammie and I hear the funniest conversations as they talk about something that happened at school, or point out a kid picking their nose in the back seat of the car next to them. What I appreciate the most is when they open up and ask profound questions about politics or theology, and not because they are so brilliant, but because the distractions have been removed (and they go to Horizon Prep, which fosters deep thinking and discussion!). Who are Gog and Magog in the prophecies about the end times? What about people who live in Muslim countries and don’t know about the Bible, do they go to hell? Who is Antifa? Oh yeah, it’s a scene. And I won’t even bring up when someone has to roll down a window.
When we have our kids captive in the car, we try to remember to enjoy the journey of life, and not just focus on the destination. That may sound sacrilegious since as Christians we anticipate eternity with our Lord in heaven. But our risen Savior Jesus Christ seeks to walk with us daily now and to live a blessed life today. Recall the words from the hymn, “He Lives.”
I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He's always near
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart
Regardless of how the basketball games turn out on a given weekend, the Konsmos will still get back in the car, have great conversation while on the road, and stop for some favorite foods on the way back. And I think Jesus laughs when someone has to roll down the window.
I’m thankful for summer, when the kids and I do not have to be at school morning, noon, and night and we have time to do some other things. Road trips provide our family memorable moments to laugh, reflect on life, and connect much better than when everyone is staring at their phones. Have fun making memories with your family this summer!
And as a quick side note, parents looking for guidance regarding smartphones and kids/teenagers, read When Social Media Becomes A Distraction or look through Focus on the Family's list of great resources. Several insightful articles will pop up that give parents tips on how to handle this element of 21st-century life that is not going to disappear. Although Emma, our 10th grade daughter has informed us that she will never allow her kids to have smartphones because all they do is cause problems. Everyone is a parenting genius until they have kids!