All the world's a stage and one TV in its time plays many parts. It's a distraction, a white noise generator, a frame on the wall above an empty mantle, a last-ditch, on-call, handle-it-all babysitting machine and surrogate parent.

When they're polite, people ask me what's so hard about parenting these days. When they're not paying attention, they just roll their eyes. And when they're disinterested, they pretend parents and kids don't exist. It's like those proverbial pink elephants standing in the middle of the room. "Oh, hasn't it been positively balmy this week? You have what? A kid? What's that? Isn't that another word for a baby lamb?"

I suppose having kids and making sure they live doesn't necessarily separate us from animals. Any idiot can have a kid. Anyone can put said kid in front of a TV, a computer, a Playstation. Anyone can give that kid candy when she cries, give in when she whines, buy when she asks, and settle for "I want" instead of "May I please?"

Being a parent is hard enough. The user manual got torn up, chewed and spit out as soon as Johnny grew teeth. So after that, it was all ad lib. It's just that the ad libs end up being shortcuts.

All I can say is it's hard. It's hard for all of us. Shortcuts aren't the answer. God never took one. He took the road straight through Calvary and never looked back. He said "this is how you do it. THIS is how you lay down your life."

I'm not saying I've succeeded. I've taken shortcuts before. I resolve not to and when I'm true to my calling as a Christian parent, my life gets 100% more complicated and difficult. But that comes with the calling, it's not an option like  a pick and choose package on a mini van.

I can only try to say no when TV offers its services as an extended care babysitter. . I can only hope that I remember the difference between "want" and "need." I can only pray that I do what I can and God will take care of the rest.


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