The twelve-year-old boy sat on the patio staring into the yard. He was mad. Inside, his parents visited with extended family. He felt no connection to the adults and babies that filled the house, yet his parents wanted him to give up his I-Pad—his lifeline to friends—and visit with these people. He didn’t know which was worse, visiting with boring adults or watching babies do their thing—whatever that was.
He leaned back in the lounge chair. It had been a long time since he was in the back yard other than to help Dad mow and edge. He looked around. The fort he and his friends built showed signs of neglect. The three of them made it to get away from girls. Girls didn’t seem so bad now.
His chest tightened when he noticed the empty dog house. Man, he missed Bubba. Bubba had been in his life as long as he remembered. Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought about those final weeks of Bubba’s life and Dad’s trip to the vet to “put him down.” Dad asked if he wanted to go along, but he couldn’t. He tried to think more about Bubba as a puppy, but the picture of his limp and whimper right before Dad lifted him into the car would not go away.
Noah closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He smelled the honeysuckle vine behind him. Birds chattered from a tree in the corner of the yard. Peace settled over his body and mind.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” His mother made him memorize Psalm 46:10 years ago. Now he understood. He sat, letting God’s presence wash over him. He drifted in a peace he had not felt in a long time.
Startled by a noise from the house, he sat up and looked toward the door. Time to go see what those little cousins were getting into.
Peace cannot come to our children while they are playing with electronic devices. If we are to teach them the rewards of quiet time, we must build it into their schedules. Our kids need quietness for spiritual reasons, but they also need it physically. Our bodies, the temples of God, thrive in the absence of noise, pressure, and on-edgeness. Teach your children the value of spending time away from the world—including everything they see on a screen.