First Third Conversations

Raising Children: Fostering Faith in a Digital Age

Many parents feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the digital wizardry of their own children.  Kids as young as 8 and 9 can master an iPod and download apps that their parents haven’t even heard of, not to mention the popularity of the Wii, PS2, and various other gaming platforms. The almost immediate embrace of every new technology by children and youth leaves parents struggling to keep up.

The digital age raises particular challenges for parents, grandparents, pastors, youth workers, Sunday school teachers, Christian education directors, and others who care about the Christian faith formation of children and adolescents.

This First Third event, held March 4-5, 2011, and hosted by Luther Seminary and Solomon's Porch, provided the opportunity to address questions and challenges with an address by Craig Detweiler. Craig is a noted filmmaker, film critic, and professor, and he has recently turned his attention to the growth of video gaming as a primary mode of storytelling in youth culture. His approach to raising children (including his own) is one of critical hopefulness. That is, while he sees and acknowledges the dangers inherent in raising children in a digital age, he also sees opportunities, particularly for the formation of children in communicating the Christian story

Craig's perspective on story telling, especially the Christian story in digital media, movies and video games provided those in attendance with a new lens through which to construct discussions, confirmation classes and Bible Studies. Craig also gave great advice on interacting with teenagers and children using the language and stories that are most familiar to them. By engaging in the stories that youth and children are engaged in, parents and church leaders can begin to bridge the gap between "church language" and the language of the games and movies that characterize the lives of young people.

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