A Facebook Milestone: Setting Some Guiding Principles for our Teenage Son

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Our family is embracing some new milestones this week.

Yesterday, Micah entered the social media world by signing up for Facebook.

Later this week, Micah begins high school. High School. I can’t quite get my mind around this one yet.

Both events are significant mileposts on the road to greater independence, greater freedom and greater responsibility.

John and I have made it a point not to set down rules and laws of behavior with our kids. We lean towards values and principles.

We’ve shared our family values many times. They provide a framework for us as we maneuver through the complexities of life and relationships. To review, for those who are not familiar with our family values, I’ll list them here:

We love God.

We love others.

We do what we can.

We celebrate failure.

We are available; leaving room for God and what He brings forward each day.

Before Micah signed up for Facebook, we discussed our family values again. In addition, we shared some values and principles for him to apply as he posts and responds to different things on Facebook. We desire for him to consider his conduct.

Paul put it this way, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (NIV, Philippians 1:27).

As Micah posts his thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we have asked him to think through the following questions:

Is it loving?

Is it kind?

Is it respectful and honorable?

Is it considerate of your relationship with Christ?

As disciples of Christ, we represent Him first and foremost. Whatever we put out there for others to see, read, and consider on social media, has the potential to advance the Gospel of Christ, demonstrate the love of God and the love of others. Now that Micah is on Facebook and headed into high school this week, he will have more and more opportunities to show others and to tell others about what he is all about and to Whom he belongs.

As I shared with friends yesterday about this new milestone, I confessed that our family will be learning more and more about how to interact with social media together. For John and I have the same responsibilities and freedoms as Micah does as we share on social media. Now that Micah is on Facebook, he is able to read what we write about in real time. John and I must remember to be kind, to respect, and to honor our son as well. Such an act is indicative of our values. We strive to model what we say and what we teach Micah and his brothers. For John and me, we are learning alongside of them. We are striving to conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

It is a responsibility, a freedom and a joy!

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