By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield

There 's an old saying in computers, “Garbage in, Garbage out!” What that means is your result depends on what you put in and the quality of what you put in. In truth computers only mimic what we as people do. This is a prime example.

Many parents wonder what difference does it make if my child plays this video game ? What difference does it make if he watches a certain T.V. Show ? After all, all his friends do. In moderation I'm not sure it does make that much difference. The question to ask is are you getting the right output. In computers if you are not getting the right output or result the first thing you do is check the input.

In terms of our children, are they growing into the kind of people who want them to ? If not then we need to check their input or in other words the influences around them that are affecting who they are growing into.

Moderation is a key factor. Are they passing up quality time with the rest of the family to play those video games ? If so how are they going to learn to be husbands, fathers, wives and mothers ? Call of Duty 1-5 ? Are they falling asleep in church because they stayed up watching some show Saturday night ? How are they going to feed a faith that will see them through the many challenges of life ? How much of their day/week is spent on each activity ? Does this show the right mix of priorities ? Childhood is in many ways an apprenticeship. Living a successful, fulfilling life is a craft that must be learned. Parents are the masters, who must teach and mentor children to become what they should.

Even the best parents must be wary lest their children fall victim to the ever present influence of friends, pop culture etc. This is an ongoing challenge, not one that is met and then you move on.

If your children are not turning into the kind of people you expect examine closely what they are being influenced by on a daily basis. What are they studying in school ? What kind of friends do they have ? What video games do they play ? What TV shows do they watch ? What are THEIR goals ?

In spite of today's busy, busy world, you also have to look at how much time you are spending with them. Even if its just minutes a day it can make a big difference. You also have to be careful not to be too heavy handed. Moderation is a key here too. In our thinking we have to take into consideration that our children are experimenting at who they are as individuals. Our goal is to guide this exploration not stifle it.

Each of us is a combination of everything we have seen, felt and experienced. It is up to us as parents to make sure our children end up with the right mix.

Author's Bio: 

Robert A. Crutchfield is a husband father and grandfather.He has also served as vice president of his local recreation board, and currently pastors a small church. He has worked with many children in variety of roles over the last 30+ years.