A few weeks ago, I read an article in Newsweek about a family of five who decided to take a long road trip. I was intrigued by the descriptions of each family member's connection to their myriad electronic devices and consequent isolation from each other. Five individuals traveled from New Jersey to Florida on five separate journeys and only happened to share the common space of a vehicle for convenience.
Of course, I couldn't help but reminisce about how different my family's road trips had been. By comparison, our children's travel experiences were spartan; they were devoid of electronic gadgets, and some years, when air conditioning wasn't available, we sprayed each other with squirt bottles. We were not a high tech family, but we were a family. And we were connected.
The Newsweek story started me thinking about more than a road trip; it reminded me how thankful I am for the journey our small family has taken over the last few decades. The contrast is remarkable and I am left to ponder the differences: How did we raise children to be aware of their surroundings? What are the influences that lead children to become "global citizens," rather than children who are so focused on their means of entertainment that their immediate environment is at best irrelevant and at worst an inconvenience?
I did not look forward to becoming a father. As a young man, I felt awkward around little children and feared the responsibility of raising my own. Fortunately, my wife, Mary, was both gifted and experienced in relating to children, and she managed to rub away a bit of my fear when we married thirty seven years ago. But I was still concerned. In the context of our surrounding culture and its forces that seem to move children toward self absorption, I did not feel confident to help shape little human lives into persons who could rise above those forces and love God and others as much as themselves.John Frankhauser, father of Katie Frankhauser (2003 Krista Colleague), is a professional classical singer with a rich baritone voice heard in Spokane's civic theater, First Presbyterian Church, and other musical and drama venues. His wide range of leadership experience in the development of Christian service and justice organizations includes Habitat for Humanity-Spokane and the Anuak Justice Council, for which he currently serves as treasurer and webmaster.