Should my 13 Year Old have Instagram?

19 Jan

Each time I asked my 13-year-old daughter what she wanted for Christmas, her answer was always the same: Instagram.  Every time she said it, my heart sank.  I told her it was just about the one thing I could not in good conscience “give” to her.  Instagram doesn’t feel like a good gift.  It’s the complete opposite–it feels like much would be taken away from her.

Her time.  Her attention. Her contentment.  Her presence of mind.  Her self-confidence.  Her brain-development.  Her relationships with her siblings.  Her sense of wonder in 3D world.  Her innocence.

With all that, you would think this decision is a total no-brainer:
not no, but HELL no.

Yet was so hard for me to say no for one big reason: kids these days are using Instagram for their primary source of messaging.  I do NOT want to cut my children off from their friends.  But—am I in a quandary?  Is this truly a difficult dilemma? 

When I stare at the laundry list of cons, why does that one solitary “pro” even appeal?


Giving our young kiddos full access to smartphones and social media goes against so much common sense.  We know it’s true.  Yet as parents, we are all tempted to just roll over.  Why?  It seems like the old “if everyone else jumps off the bridge, are you gonna jump too?” …on a societal scale.

The temptation to just go ahead and jump off this bridge feels so strong…it feels like we are being pushed and overrun in a stampede toward…toward what?  Why is everyone else jumping?  Why are so many of the other 13-year-olds on Instagram?  Honestly, I want to know.  If I need to be softened in this area, I am asking for counsel.

My children’s mental, emotional and spiritual well-being is the principal concern of my adulthood.  If Instagram threatens that, why is this decision so difficult?  My husband and I have put loads of energy into maintaining our kids-on-media game plan.  It’s a team effort…and it’s been a painfully unpleasant parenting challenge to draw a line in this sand.


Why is it hard?  For one thing, it feels like a deprivation.  And, perhaps I am projecting my own subconscious/latent fear of missing out.  Also, these devices buy us so much quiet, imminent peace and space–but at what cost to their growth?  Giving in, and giving them over to their juvenile longings is easier than listening the begging.  It’s also easier than feeling bad for them. 

Since I have said no to Instagram, I am digging for as many yeses as I can.  I gotta get creative!


My generation of parents have an infamous reputation for helicopter parenting.  But it’s crickets in this area.  It’s bananas.  Are we so busy looking at our own screens that we can’t be bothered to take measures to protect our babies from device and social media addiction?  Are we ignoring common sense because it’s inconvenient?

I have asked my friends about their standards for their kiddos’ smartphone/social media use, and I’ve gotten such a mixed response.  Generally, other parents’ main point is that their kids need to be able to call/message them.  Really?  That’s kind of a weak argument.  They need a smartphone for that?  There is a phone in every human hand: my kids can get a hold of me instantly, anytime.

And the fear that kids need to be up-to-date on technology?  Um, iPhones don’t take very long  to master.  I’m pretty sure they’re intentionally devised to ensure we all stay sheep…the whole scheme is set up so that we won’t have to apply a spark of brain energy to operate them.

It does, however, take years of deliberate coaching for a child to reach social and emotional maturityUnless…I find something on the app store that can advance a child’s self-control, identity and character. 

Man, when that exists, then I guess we will all be home free.
Until then, it’s still on me.


But this is good work.  It’s a long game, but not that long.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Hear my heart: If you don’t feel convicted against your children using Instagram, I understand.  These things are personal and I don’t believe one size fits all.  BUT, if you are like me and you do feel a personal conviction about this…I had to let you know–you’re not alone in holding the line.

 

Leigh

 

P.S.  We’ve not completely cut the kids off–they do have access to devices, but we have substantial boundaries in place.  I can let you in on the strategies we have chosen in a post to follow, if anyone is interested.

 

Homeschooling Mom of 4 Makes it to The Games

25 Jun

You heard me right.

If you’re following CrossFit games this year, zero in on Christy Runey. 

Holy Grail!!!   50 looks amazing…swoon! PC: @ctpcam

She’s about to be 50, has only CrossFitted for 5 years, and has no $1,000 certifications (yet).  

Christy maintains cast-iron faith; she’s a West Point Woman(class of 91), an Army Veteran, an Army spouse of more than two decades, a homeschooling mother to four.  There are undoubtedly countless other accomplishments I don’t even know about.

To top it all off, she’s on her way to Madison.

A decade ago, she took me under her wing despite my naivete and inexperience. And she liked me, she REALLY LIKED ME!!!  If only I could sit at her feet every week to soak up all of her practical and spiritual wisdom, life hacks, fitness and nutrition tips, and homeschooling guidance.

She exemplifies and embodies the premise of this entire blog: always stay in the prime of life.  This woman is one of my life’s all-time role models; it’s an honor to get to call her my friend.

She graciously answered a few of my questions to share with us.

__________

Leigh: Where are you training now, and what other boxes have you trained in the past?

Christy: Currently, I train at Crossfit Oyster Point in VA.  I began my CF adventure in Schweinfurt, Germany.  It wasn’t an official affiliate, we used equipment in a generic rec gym on post, and we were only allowed to call it “Functional Fitness.”  I joined my first real box at Fort Knox: the newly-opened CrossFit Hard Knox.  Our next move took us to Carlisle, PA where I trained at CrossFit Perseverance. 

__________

Leigh: Who is/are your coach(es): 

Christy: Right now I am with Becky Rogers from Training Think Tank in Alpharetta, GA.  I also consult Dani Kearns and Trey Steele at Oyster Point for additional coaching and feedback.  And a big shout-out to coaches James Hoffman and Fritz Chatelier who both told me I would go to the Games one day.

__________

LeighWhat fed your initial CrossFit addiction?

Christy:  My husband introduced me to CF in 2006 when really, you just got your information from the website.  He did it with the kids while I was homeschooling.  He put sand in the basketball, strung rings over a tree limb, installed a pull-up bar, measured running distances, etc.  I was fascinated but quickly dismissed it because of the various technically complicated movements I didn’t understand how to do. 

The necessity to perform multiple pull ups was intimidating–I couldn’t do one and never dreamed that I could!  How I wish I had started back then! 

It wasn’t until 2012 that I was ready to give it a try with coaches.  My Germany “Functional Fitness” group captured the heart of the CrossFit method: quantifiable physical improvement + magnetic community.  A powerful bond solidified with that original crew.  We had so much fun, we pushed each other, and we each made rapid and significant improvements in strength and fitness. 

This became my sport.  Now, every time we move, my first google search is to locate the best CrossFit box in our new area.

__________

LeighWhat has been the hardest thing about competing at this level?

Christy: Whew!  This is a tough one because there have been several hard things.  I usually train alone now.  So it’s harder to push myself, and there’s no one to cheer and push with.  Along with that, I miss the rich camaraderie and making some of those deeper friendships which come by experiencing sweat and effort together.  Also, the time commitment decreases opportunities of friendship and service that I would otherwise seek out.  

Finally, while I am at my all-time peak of fitness, I have far more awareness of my limitations and weaknesses in my body.  There are some niggles that keep rearing their heads.  It’s hard to know when to push through discomfort vs. pain or, whether it’s time to back off.  Obviously this is not an ideal season to do much backing off! 

Oh yeah, how could I forget…I’ve had to eliminate my need for regular doses of ice cream! 

__________

LeighHow much training time does the Masters prep really take? 

Christy:  The training has definitely changed from pre-game to now.  Prior to the games, I worked out 5 days a week, 2 of which had AM & PM work.  The other 2 days–complete rest.  I contacted my coach almost monthly in concern that I wasn’t training enough.  I was so sure that I would never improve enough to get to the games. 

My coach encouraged me to trust the process and that she didn’t want me peaking for the Opens.  (That made me more nervous!) Then when I made it to the Qualifiers, she upped the training a little bit more.  I still was afraid it wasn’t enough.  She assured me: trust the process…

Now, I am trusting the process!  Currently I still train 5 days a week.  But 3 of the days I have an AM & PM session, and one of my rest days I swim for “active recovery” (which is comical for me since swimming is anything BUT recovery feeling for me!)  

The actual amount of time I “train” averages 15-20 hours a week.  That includes warm-up and cool-down.  I also do stretching and mobilization stuff at home.

__________

LeighWhat does your nutrition have to look like to maintain this kind of training schedule?

Christy:  Optimum nutrition for performance does not necessarily equal optimum nutrition for the long-term.

Games training requires that I fuel my body quite differently.  In the past I focused on calorie consumption.  Now I must spend the extra time dialing in nutrition at the macronutrient level.  I do try to eat fairly clean.  I aim to eat as many vegetables as I can – lots of greens, some cooked, some raw, some fermented. 

I eat most of my simple carbs (least fibrous) around my workout session.
Most of my fats away from my workouts.
I spread my protein evenly throughout the day.

I need way more carbs than I thought.  I increased carbs through the opens, then had to increase again during the qualifiers, and again pre-games.  I eat less fat now than I normally would. 

I’ve never done CrossFit for the aesthetics.  But right now, my body fat is lower than it’s ever been. I am okay with that as an athlete getting ready to compete.  But after the games, I look forward to more dietary flexibility and establishing a healthier percentage of body fat.  

One size definitely does not fit all.  Dialing it all in may require consulting a nutritionist, even if for a short time.

__________

LeighAny advice for hopefuls in the Masters category? 

Christy:  Take your Open scores and see how you would have done in the next age group up.  You might be surprised and motivated that you actually have a really good shot to be competitive when you promote into the new age group. 

That is what happened to me last year after the Age Group Online Qualifiers…after doing a little comparison research, I realized that I had a serious shot to make it to the Games in 2018!

Just do your very best whatever level you’re at.  Have fun performing better now than you could when you were younger!  It’s amazing to keep hitting new PRs while you are aging!

__________

LeighFavorite motivational saying? (i.e. “Sweat’s just yer fat cryin!)  Yours is probably something less shallow than that. 

ChristyKatrin Davisdottir said 

“Success is giving full effort knowing that was the best I was capable of… “  

For me, this means that I don’t have to worry about the things that are out of my control.  I can know that my good, heavenly Father is in control.  He cares as much about the shaping and prepping of my heart as He does my body. 

How I respond in the daily moments of joy, heartache, bodyache, stress and challenge is an important part of this journey. 

He desires that I would give my very best for His honor and glory, and leave the results to Him–whether I am #1 on the Leaderboard or if nothing goes as planned.  Either way, I can trust in His goodness knowing I gave my all. 

The results are His win or lose.  THAT will be enough for success. 

__________

Quick-Fire Q & A: 

Hand protection or calluses?  Recent convert to Victory Grips for most bar work. Wodndones for Bar Muscle Ups, and still prefer bare hands for Ring Muscle Ups.
When you WOD: Makeup or morning face? Only a little mascara (otherwise I have no eyes)
Leggings or shorts? Leggings in the winter and all rope climb WODs, shorts in the summer
Reebok or Lulu? Ack – both?!…and Nike.  I’m not a purist.
Better Hair Day: Washed hair -or- sweat + dry shampoo? Whatever time constraints allow has gotta be my ‘best’ hair day
In the Box: Metal or Rap? Oooo…rap, if we must.
Cheat meal: Pizza or ice cream?  My two favorite foods usually go hand-in-hand…Pizza + Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk = slice of heaven and a big double cheat…which I haven’t actually given myself yet (only cauliflower crust pizza + Halo Top Oatmeal Cookie!)
Television or scrolling?  Scrolling

__________


Did you hear that folks?  Her **
cheat meal** is caulipizza + Halo Top.  That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff.  

Christy confirms the vast physical possibilities for our “middle” years.  Age doesn’t have to take you past your prime.

Christy, thank you for sharing with us!
Good luck, be safe, and have fun!

Leigh

Christy, your family is gorgeous–in spirit and in looks!

A Broken Spirit is not Despised

6 Jun

So there we were, my two littlest girls and I, creating another batch of playdoh cookies.  The girls were happily mashing discs of colorless playdoh together to make “oreos” while blissfully singing another round of Baby Shark, Space Unicorn. and Spaghetti Cat;  I sat across from them.  Sobbing. 

I am not talking about a loud boo-hooing, ugly cry.  This was an ominous, reckless torrent of silent tears.  They continually brimmed, poured over my eyelids, ran down my face, collected under my chin and pooled onto the plastic craft table.  Brimmed and poured.  Brimmed and poured.  I had to use a kitchen towel to sop it all up.  This was for about the fifth day in a row.

Crying while playing playdoh just means that I am a high-functioning malcontent. 

–Or–maybe it signifies the return of my malady.


Is there a healthy way to battle depression?

How do I get through this tunnel?  It seems so so long.  I don’t know.  But when I am in it, I am sick.  Truly ill, and recognizing that makes me feel a little more free.  I know I have done everything in my power not to feel this way, for it not to be true, to reason my way out of it, to ensure I have the right nutrition and chemical balance. 

But it just is.

Do you see how everything starts with the word “I”?  I this, I that.  What a shamefully selfish place to be.  I am so self-involved.  Jarrod Jones wrote about this in his Ten Ways to Support Someone with Mental Illness.  This is an inherently selfish disease, but what disease is not?  You can break your pinkie toe, and the pain will take over everything in your day, become all you can think about. 

Depression is much the same way.  I can’t think about anything else, I just want it to stop.  And so I have to wait.  I must wait well. 

I wake up in the morning and think–am I going to be better today?
Let me get my coffee and hopefully this fog will vanish.

It’s still here.
Is this real?–Is this in my head?–Am I making a choice?

I have found some freedom in resignation, akin to moving on in the stages of grief.  I don’t like this about myself, and I scratch to get away from it all.  But it festers like a nasty emotional infection.  I can’t undo any of this with all the positive thinking in the world.  So I wait.  I am not going to try to hash it out anymore.  I am going to just settle.  Just be.

I do everything I can to wait with my dignity and grace intact:

I talk less.  I do less.  Plenty of good comes from doing and saying less.  I take comfort in that.  I relish the quiet time with my husband.  There’s nothing more to discuss about all this.  If I can’t change myself, he certainly can’t change me.  So we sit quietly.  He sits next to me shoulder to shoulder.  Holds my hand.  We enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.  A funny episode of TV.

I fall asleep earlier.  The storm in my head makes me tired.  I crave silence and wear earplugs to block everything out.

Am I being mean to my family?
They deserve an upbeat mother who throws parties and is a cheerleader.

They are getting quiet-me.

I am still functioning.  Doing laundry, making all meals, making sure they are all bathed and fed.  I make lunches and make sure everyone gets hugs and kisses even if I feel like an empty ghost.  I get up and take the little ones for an outing.  That’s worth something.  They have quiet-me to take them around. 

That has to be better than couch-me.

I still attend my bible study groups.  I still host my brown bag lunch group.  Even though I feel utterly disconnected, I go through the motions, and the motions matter.  I won’t stop trying.  I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That is what I am doing for my family.  They have to know that I am doing everything I can.

I say “I love you” to everyone.
That’s everything I can do, regardless of how I feel


What will people think? 

There are recognizable triggers for my crashes but I don’t need to unpack them here.  

My mindchaos makes no sense to people who see my happy marriage, five healthy children, an “adventurous” life, my health, and the myriad of other blessings I enjoy daily.  People in my closest circles, with whom I have privately shared my struggle, have literally recoiled before me.  It’s bewildering when someone reacts to me that way.  

Yet one of my darkest seasons taught me that there just are people who can not handle pain.  I have to forgive them for that.  

I have begged my family not to share my situation with anyone…because I don’t want to be labeled “a negative person” and then written off entirely.  I don’t want my cyclical melancholy weirdness to interfere in friendships or cause someone to feel rejected.  So, in a rather desperate bid to be understood, I’ve started selectively telling my friends about my struggle with this.

But what if they don’t believe in depression?
Transparency is risky. 

The most crushing reality of all this mess is how I feel untied from my husband.  I see the look of helplessness on his face and another layer of guilt grows.  I can see how my hurting hurts him.  I best get myself together, and quickly before the tide turns, and *he* just can’t anymore. 


A broken and contrite heart the Lord will not despise.  

This scripture I’ve read 100 times before, but it came freshly alive in the midst of all the quiet and fear and darkness.  It was sheer light breaking through.

  • Am I broken?
    Yes.  A thousand times yes. 
  • Am I contrite?
    I wake up and empty out my pockets to God every day.

I know the twofold root of my mess:
1.  A messed up (sinful/selfish) heart.
2.  Not being exempt from the disappointments and maladies of our broken world.

Still, brokenness overcomes me and whittles me down to the bone.

But all this: the feelings, the anguish, the spirit of confusion, the quietness…
NONE OF IT IS DESPISED by God.  

What breath that is for me when I feel like I can’t find air.   

I’ll continually pursue healing, and

  • He
  • won’t
  • despise
  • me
  • like this.

He can when everyone else can’tSome people have no grace for this, but His grace is sufficient for me: I don’t need validation from outsiders.

God is here–He is near to the brokenhearted, saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18)

He won’t recoil.  

pc: Hannah Daroczy

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