Forming their Pickerouters (Part 3)

Great efforts to build a positive social network, create a positive parent-child bond, and develop a personal faith formation can all go to pot if parents ignore or are in denial of the impact of technology and the culture.

I love Act One founder Barbara Nicolosi’s analogy of “Cave-dwelling Catholics” and “Teflon Catholics”. She says Catholic can make two errors in interacting with the outside world. The first is becoming “Cave-dwelling Catholics” staying in a Catholic sub-culture associating only with other “perfect” Catholics. This approach makes our response to God’s command to spread the gospel challenging, if not impossible. As a Eucharistic people we are not designed to turn inward and stay there; we are commanded to be Christ’s hands and feet to others.

“Teflon Catholics”, on the other hand, believe the culture and technology are impenetrable and expose themselves freely without considerations of spiritual, emotional, and social consequences. “Teflon Catholics” don’t want their Catholic schools, for example, to be–you know–too Catholic; they lean toward worldliness. They see little to no need to invest extra effort into spiritual growth efforts, and consequently, end up with dulled consciences and lack of empathy towards others.

A good approach for parents responsibly managing the culture and technology to create kids with great pickerouters is to have a personal, coherent philosophy they consistently implement. This philosophy, avoiding the two extremes I mentioned above, can vary across the many equally devout Catholic families as it expresses the personality of the family and the gifts of its members.

In our home we value being well-formed, agents of cultural change through excellence as a means to bring more souls to Christ. We strive for our kids to responsibility use technology, socialize, achieve, and develop their gifts to turn the heads of both religious and non-religious. Although our kids are in Catholic schools, we are more of an “in-the-world” type Catholic family than a homeschool family may be.

My husband and I both want our kids to be adept at navigating Christians and non-Christians and to be well-informed so as to be able to beat the worldly forces at their own game with charity. Because we are more plugged into the world, we try to monitor our kids more closely so we can quickly correct when things get out of balance. We pull back when letting our kids be too immersed in the culture–for example with too much screen time (TV, computer, video games)–becomes evident with problems with respect and charity.

The key is to have your philosophy about the influence of the culture and technology, implement it, monitor the results, and adjust it as necessary.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Meditate on your philosophy of managing culture and technology on your children or yourself.