Last night’s SFA presentation by the Adlers contained such good information, though difficult to hear. While kindness moving forward is their emphasis, the road that brought them to the meeting was a very difficult one.
To summarize their journey, the Adler’s son, Reid, committed suicide after a girl posted a picture on social media which Reid should not have taken or sent to her. She had used the picture to harass and blackmail him for a year before posting it.
The Adler’s message as I received it is three-fold (they said it much more articulately):
· Keep open communication with your child, and assure them of your love. Do not dismiss ANY sign of distress or questioning of the value of life.
· Encourage kindness among children.
· Only through faith are they able to go on, forgive and help others.
Lord, help us benefit from the experience and the cross the Adler’s shared with us. If you missed the presentation, here is a news clip recap I would also like to share a couple parent testimonials from THIS WEEK.
When asked how his daughters are doing a father said to me, “They are doing well, we are holding fast to the rule of no dating until 16. It is not an easy road, but there are so many things the kids are involved in, but that is one non-negotiable.” Earlier in a conversation with the same dad, he said, “I signed up to have all her texts copied to my phone, but that’s not working at all, do you know how many texts they send!” I get buried!” I wanted to say, bravo to you for trying!
Another parent whose child received a caustic text from another came in to ask assistance with finding the app that buried the dad above. It isn’t easy, is it?
My heart is with you in this process. After listening to the Adler’s story, my mind jumped to some of the safeguards we have been promoting in our school after consultation with Fr. Kilcawley, mental health professionals, and our faculty and administration
· Covenant Eyes – Reid would not have been able to send that picture if he had Covenant Eyes on his device.
· Inaccessibility at night – the “Safe Box” on the counter with the timer that makes phones/devices inaccessible in the night. The process ensures phones are charged for the next day, and that kids get a better night’s sleep.
· Monitoring of material – do you have your kid’s passcodes? When that phone is in the box before the lid goes on at night do you occasionally look at text strings? That could work for the dad above that was buried by everything, he could occasionally check, but not have his phone clogged.
· Technology-free times – like the dinner table and family times.
· Dating – while 16 seems to be the accepted age to allow children to begin, even that seems young in our current climate which is putting marriage off until nearly 30. Consider groups of guys and girls in activities, rather than one-on-one. It sure takes off a lot of pressure.
· We are working actively to notify you of particular curricula used to promote sound formation regarding the human person. TOB, Safe Environment, programs like the one last night, and the one next Monday by Jason Evert. We also inform you of particular incidents that could be formative opportunities for you and your child, or are signs of potential danger. We appreciate the same if you have info we should have.
Sometimes it seems like we can never do enough, but instead of getting discouraged, just do the next best step. I pray for you as you navigate your family through the maturation process. Remember Jesus is Lord of All! He also has particular grace for you as a spouse and a parent. No one has the grace to make decisions for your specific family like you do. Call upon the Lord and ask for enlightenment, be open to His counsel, and continue to just love your kids.