Communication in the Information Age

While most girls grow up dreaming about their wedding day, I grew up dreaming about my marriage.  I am also thankful for parents who taught me what it was like to love in a marriage relationship, unconditionally.  Did they make mistakes?  Sure.  But they also set an incredible example for me to follow in my marriage relationship with Jason.  One thing that is especially important, and probably the biggest thing I have learned after 1 1/3 years of marriage (and still have TONS to learn), is communication.

Communication is probably the hardest thing any adult will face – whether in marriage, parenting, at work, or with friends.  People often don’t know what to say or when to say it.  People say things without thinking and then kick themselves afterwards for sounding dumb.  Worse, some people don’t communicate at all.  Communication is an art.  It takes time and skill to learn.  Communication is vital, not only in marriage, but in youth ministry as well.  Let me explain.

Today’s teenagers are bombarded with a crazy amount of information on a constant basis.  Facebook and Twitter are discussed most, but what about Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, numerous blogs, etc.  The list seems endless, and continually growing.  Many teens even struggle with making eye contact in a conversation because they’re so used to looking down at their phones or “off in the distance” as they do with video games, etc.  The effects of constant information is heavily debated in today’s culture.  Some argue that it is a blessing, because this generation is more connected and able to process information faster.  However, it is in some ways a curse, because this generation is also not learning how to communicate for all its worth.

It’s up to us, as parents, leaders, and other influencers in teenagers’ lives, to not allow this to happen.  I would argue that this information age is a blessing.  It is only a curse if we let it be.  We are setting the tone, whether we realize it or not.  Do you have a problem having lunch with somebody and not checking your phone?  Chances are, your kids are picking up on the fact that you are inseparable from your phone.  We need to learn to unplug and engage with people.

Not only are we teaching them by example, but we are teaching them by the way we engage with them personally.  If the only way you communicate with your kids or teens in your ministry is through social media or from the platform, then things need to change.  Take them out for coffee, or even pull them aside now and again.  Have a real conversation with them, look them in the eye, ask intentional questions, and expect in-depth answers.  How we communicate with our kids will effect how they will communicate in the real world – in their marriage, in their work place, and with their friends.  Lets set a new trend of true and open communication.  It could change the world!

-Alicia

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About onebeatblog

Our purpose is to equip, empower, and encourage those involved in student ministry!

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Cultural Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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