Tag Archives: technology

This Technology Debacle is a Mystery?

OK, I know Jason is not God.  Nevertheless there are similarities between how we had to trust Jason and how I need to trust God.  Jason was here for a couple days and was frequently in the inner bowels of that mysterious little closet holding our computer servers.  He usually came out with a pleasant look on his face which perplexed me a bit.  I’m used to having a clue about what people are up to.  Even in things like auto work with all its computerized parts, usually I am only removed a few steps from some sort of understanding.  Not in this.  He and Mrs. Noble have used more words I’ve never heard before in the past few days than I remember in recent history.  Though I really don’t get it, I trust they are making progress.  And you know what, just before lunch they told us we are almost restored to where we should be.

God does things in each of our lives.  I don’t get it sometimes, He goes into the depths of my life and adjusts things.  Sometimes I don’t like it, I don’t know what he is doing.  He comes out of making adjustments in my life with some sort of look of love on His face, and I am perplexed.  He uses events that I don’t understand.  Though I don’t get it I trust He is making progress.  Sometimes He reveals what He was up to, other times I will need to wait to understand.  In the end, He will not just restore, He will far surpass anything I could imagine.

Thanks, Jason, for the reminder to trust in the Lord.  Mary sure had to trust during that original Advent.  Some things don’t change.  Jesus I trust in You, help us to do so well.

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Presents vs. Presence

When I was a little girl, each Christmas we received one new family game, encouraging us to play something together.  That’s a present that leads to presence.

Presence wins over presents very often.    How many of you that have a child in kindergarten or first grade came to the Christmas program yesterday?  Was it necessary?  Could you have simply told your child that you would have someone tape them singing and would watch it later at home?  Kids love to have someone come watch them…..What a joy to see their beaming faces in person and knowing that they are watching for you to watch?

Watching that program in person was a real treat.  (And I’ve seen lots of Christmas programs!)  I was present to see a couple little ones up front put their whole hearts into the songs.  I was present when “Mary” got up the courage to go back on stage after she had stage fright.  I was present to experience the utter delight of children and parents alike as the students held their elbows to the side for what seemed an eternity before they skyrocketed upward as they sang, “We………………………..WISH you a Merry Christmas!”  You wouldn’t have wanted to miss that program.  Yet, so often there are obstacles to genuine presence with those we love.

070Recently I was talking with a parent who said, “I’m quitting Facebook, I don’t use it much but every time I do, I feel like a rotten spouse and parent.  People only post their “A game” items.  Those don’t happen every hour or even every day.  We see their “A game” and feel like, ‘Aw, gee, I never make those cute little treats for my kids…..etc, etc’“  She said the technology was not helping her in the long run so she was finding ways to step back.  She is working on presence to those closest to her.

I’d like to follow-up with last week’s note and give a few more compelling reasons for stepping back from technology with young children.  Last week we noted the correlation between technology use and a decreased ability to self-regulate and an increase in tantrums and impulsivity.  Further reasons:

2) Delayed physical development likely caused by decreased movement which enhances attention and learning ability.

3) Sleep deprivation fostered by 75% of kids having technology available to them in their rooms.

4) Mental illness, specifically depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, ADD, and a host of others, associated with technology use.    Adolescents are experiencing a similar experience to the mom I spoke to in paragraph 3.  In summary they are led to think, “Look at all the fun things every other kid gets to do and here I sit at home……”  Little do they know what a blessing home is for them.  Kids need to learn to handle boredom.  Figuring out how to stimulate our minds or finding some activity which I enjoy, constitute essential parts of maturation.

I had better stop there as one can only handle so much of the quagmire.

Jesus stepped into our quagmire to pull us out of it.  He also sends grace to help us figure out how to make our way out.  May this Advent bring you the openness of heart to accept these gifts from our loving Father, for which He sent His Son to earth.

Thank you, children for bringing to life the joy of Christmas.  We could see joy and heartfelt love so clearly on your faces!

May His decision to be present among us enable us to be more present to each other in His name.

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Building Mushy Brains?

“The American Academy of Pediatrics….states infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010).  Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010).” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/ Ten Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

Reason #1 to Limit Screen Time – Rapid Brain Growth of Children

Over exposure to technologies has been shown to be associated with deficits in executive functioning and attention, cognitive delays, impaired learning, and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

There are a few research based bites of evidence. More reasons coming up soon…..for now I’d like to focus on and anecdotal example of self-regulation, or rather its lack.  Recently during a meeting a very busy mom sent her preschooler (borderline toddler) to the area adjacent to our table with a hand held electronic device of some kind.  A few minutes into the meeting he wailed as though he had been injured and came running to his mom with the device.  She pushed a couple buttons and he immediately became quiet and went back to the game.  Are little children soothed by human interaction or by devices?  The prior has many advantages over the latter.  Soothing of children by a consistent significant other (typically their mother), results in secure attachment, and is a good start for sound development.

George Williams, a friend of mine who generally gives sound advice regarding children and has a Pediatric Practice for Family Therapy, believes that technology is impacting children and their families in significantly negative ways from a social learning and in neurological aspects.  He and the dozen professionals in his office are asking that young children below school age have no computer screen time, and no more than two hours of TV.

Rather than using technology, children should play outdoors frequently and with toys that foster building, creativity and imagination.  Our children are more impatient, nervous and fragile than they used to be.  Let us build on the goodness of family life and foster a life of faith and resiliency for our children.  It can be as simple as sometimes letting the children have time to get bored, and to work through the boredom on their own.  Opening the gates to wonder at God’s gifts comes at a price, and occasional boredom at a young age sure helps.  May the Good Lord and His Blessed Mother help us maintain peace in our hearts and homes during these days when that can be more difficult.signature with links


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Gaping Wounds

I wish this newsletter was not needed. I wish we were not prone to sin.  I wish children could easily remain free and innocent.  Strike three, I’m out.  Therefore, I write on.strike-out


Next Tuesday at 7:00.  Come please, right here to St. Peter gym.  Fr. Kilcawley will help us to know how to bandage the gaping wounds of our children, and of society.  When your child stumbles into inappropriate content in the media, handling it well as a parent has massive formative ramifications in your child’s life.  Here at school we have no less than 20 exterior doors that are locked to keep your children safe.  We have 99 computers or tablets with filtering to help keep their minds pure.  Nevertheless, we too, need to learn and know how to help foster goodness in a society that is forgetting what it looks like.

I will be there and I pray you will, too.  Parents of preschoolers are certainly not too young, nor are parents of adolescents too experienced in their parenting to benefit from Father’s presentation.

Fr. Kilcawley, the presenter for the evening, is one of our very own diocesan priests who travels throughout the country to give these presentations, as a matter of fact his assignment here in the diocese is part time, to allow him to travel to other places with this essential message.  We are blessed to have him come here, join us please.  Yes, I am begging you to come.  If we are to team together for the good of the children, this is possibly the most important meeting of the year regarding your child’s formation.

Hoping and praying you are able to join us Tuesday, October 18th at 7:00 in the gym.

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Commandments in Second Grade and Technology

Second graders are learning the Ten Commandments.  Some of the young ones are learning them well and are making applications outside the academic setting!  Learning the commandment and recognizing it in the wild are sometimes not related.

This from Sister Regina Marie, with names changed to save identities.  “A second grader returned after being out of the classroom and said to me, ‘Joe asked if he could have my pencil sharpener.  I told him no, and he told me I couldn’t be my friend anymore. I’m worried about him, because I think he’s breaking the 10th Commandment.  He’s coveting my goods.’”

I found it noteworthy that he was not concerned about the goods, but about his friend!  Here’s the pair of them!  (with permission of their parents)  I asked if they get along okay with that type of interaction, she said oh yes, they are great friends.  This picture was quite natural for the two of them.


In another conversation about the children and their interactions, a parent was recalling a party to which his eleven year old grader had been invited.  At the party the boys pulled out their phones and most of them messed with the technology.  He said it wasn’t a very fun party.  I’m wondering if the host’s parents knew that was the main activity.  I can’t imagine that being true.  I don’t think there’s a parent around who would approve.  But many of us might not think that would be on their radar, so I wanted to put it out there to be sure it is on your radar.  Have any of you had success guiding children’s use of technology?  Please share ideas you have.

Sister Mary Michael



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