It takes discipline to resist the lure of constant distractions, but it is possible to build good habits in both pups and children which help them stay on track.

In this edition of what Guide Puppy Raising taught me about raising kids, our third pup definitely excelled — in the wrong way. This wonderful pup’s name was Scooter and he was a fun-loving black Labrador. Scooter was a bundle of energy and loved to explore (even when he was supposed to be training).

A question lots of people ask about Guide Dogs is how they get their names. With the association we were part of, each litter of pups was assigned a letter of the alphabet where all the pups’ names started with that letter. For Scooter, his litter was the letter “S”, so all his siblings also had names starting with “S”.

Lesson 4 – Distractions

Just imagine you are a blind person walking to work one day with your guide dog leading you and this trusted companion sees some flowers in a nearby garden he would like to smell, so he takes you on a slight detour through a garden to smell the flowers. As much as I hate to admit it, this is an actual true story about Scooter.

In Guide Dog training, it is important that the dogs remain focused while they are working, as they literally have a person’s life in their hands — no, sorry, paws. During training, the pups are subject to a wide variety of situations where they need to avoid distractions. Trips to the supermarket and walking down the meat aisle, walking past food on the ground, walking past other dogs, sitting in restaurants and coffee shops are all situations we took our pups through regularly; as time went on, their ability to ignore these distractions grew.

Overwhelmed

Today’s world is so fast-paced and full of distractions for us all. Many people are time-poor because of the pressures of work, involvement in after-school activities with the kids, weekend sport and hobbies. We also live in an age where we have an unending flow of information from around the world that floods through on social media and news feeds.

Go to a coffee shop or restaurant these days and look at what couples are doing. Many are on their phones checking out the latest news, or catching up on social media. Many families eat meals in front of the TV; kids these days have mobile phones (with access to social media) from a young age.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian adults spend 13 hours a week watching TV, and a report from Nielsen indicates that the average Australian household has 6.6 screens from which video content of some sort is viewed.

A report from the Cleveland Clinic indicates excessive screen time can impact a child’s development in both academic and relationship areas of their life. They become isolated and have few real friends — maybe they have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but few real friends.

While we need to ensure we and our kids keep up to date with technology because that is the world we live in, we also need to make sure it doesn’t become an obsession that takes us away from some basic social interaction.

Good Habits

As a family, we decided to eat dinner at the dining room table and no phones were allowed. We also encourage discussion while eating dinner, no topic was off-limits. This led to some interesting discussions at times, but it also created an environment where our kids could discuss anything that was on their minds.

Smart and appropriate use of technology is also important. The online world can be a great tool when used correctly, but can also be a very dangerous world as well. If you are looking for some resources you can use with your kids, try reading the Diary of Elle book series by Nina Du Thaler.

So, what are some practical things you can do as parents?

  1. Firstly, look at your own screen time and behaviour. I was visiting some friends the other day and while they were playing with their two-year-old, one of their phones beeped. The parent immediately picked up the phone to read the message and the child quickly responded with, “Put the phone down, we are playing.” Kids take a leaf out of our books and we need to set the standard.
  2. Determine as a family what is an appropriate use of technology in regard to the amount of time it can be used, what happens at bedtime and where and when the kids are allowed to use their phones.
  3. Have a balanced life of social, outdoor as well as screen activities.
  4. Above all, educate yourself on what is the safe use of technology, so you can show your kids how to be safe but also lead a balanced life.

Now go and change the world, one child at a time.

___

Photo by cottonbro.

Published On: July 1st, 20221 CommentTags: , , ,

About the Author: Jeff Boundy

Jeff Boundy has been married to Christine for over 40 years and they have three wonderful adult children. Soon after his salvation in 1990, he became a lay preacher and got involved in Children’s Ministry (serving on the NSW Uniting Church Synod Task force for Children’s Ministry). In 2003, they connected with Randy and Lisa Wilson in Colorado Springs (Generations of Light Ministries), who conducted an annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. Over the decades, Jeff Boundy has been actively involved in men’s ministry and assisted in youth ministry in the churches he has attended. Jeff is passionate for men to take their rightful place as servant leaders for their families, setting the example of how God is a father to us. He believes the family unit is the cornerstone of society and strong families create strong communities. He says, “When a father's love is tangible within a family, the kids grow up feeling loved and not searching for love in other places. We all have this same desire to be loved and when we ourselves experience the pure love of God, we men can model this same unconditional love to our wife and kids. All children of this world deserve to fulfil their God-given destiny, and the best foundation for that is through a strong family unit with a loving dad at the head.”

One Comment

  1. Milton Caine July 3, 2022 at 7:49 am - Reply

    There are times when the distractions are welcomed in a person’s life as things that are too reglated can be a real downer on the reason why those who are the parents got to gether in the first place. The estlishment of the mantaining of the relationship as being viberant and spontanious is good fort he long term health of the relationship, yet stability is also essential somewher out there we must find a balance that may be quite movable from time to time.

    It takes two people focused on the valueof a relationship to work for it to remain secure. God in Genesis was focused on the relationship but Adam and Eve strayed by wondering what alternatives there were available. At the time ther was only one alternative and that ws the tree of the knollege of Good and Evil. It is history what has happened since then!

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