Our family in todays world

No amount of growth in any field can substitute the warm relationship between persons.

If you have children or grandchildren, chances are you can’t help but notice what a different world they’re growing up in compared to when you were their age. There was a time when people didn’t carry cell phones and PDAs with them wherever they went, and when there were no such things as iPods. Wi-Fi Internet, You Tube, Twitter and Face book. The problem is, we are being increasingly overloaded with more changes than we can handle. So what has caused our world to change so rapidly in recent years? Ultimately, it’s due to technological advances.

Earlier, the industrial revolution brought about changes in lifestyle, family structure, culture and values. It began with a shift from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrial society. The computer revolution that started around 25 years ago sent the rate of change into its exponential rise. Today, scientific and technological changes are taking place at such a breathtaking pace that many have difficulty keeping up with them. The pace of life is speeding up. We have been cranking up the speed at which we operate, and life is becoming increasingly frantic.

Even if there is no need to hurry, “ faster” has become the normative way we do things today. We may find ourselves getting impatient and angry with slower drivers on the highway even when there’s no reason to be in a rush. Sometimes we don’t even want to compose an e-mail message anymore because that takes too long. Some people now prefer communicating through texting and “tweeting” because the messages are shorter and faster to compose and read.

In an attempt to get more done we ‘multitask”, always trying to do two or three things at the same time. So we may eat fast-food lunch and conduct business calls while we’re driving or checking our e-mail. More people are also bringing work home with them. Everyone is working long hours—not only because there’s a lot more work to be done, but also because of concerns about getting laid off if they don’t put extra hours . Working overtime, working weekends and being on call 24 hours a day are standard for employees at many companies.

Our lives are becoming increasingly complex. You have so many options, whether you’re buying a car, buying pet food, selecting a cell phone plan, making airline reservations, choosing a doctor or setting up a retirement account. More often parents do not even know what their kids are listening to on their iPods or what sites they are checking out on the Internet. So kids are not getting any kind of direction as to what’s wrong with these messages, and they go unchallenged.

Now parents are busy all weekend shuffling their kids to all different sports or other events they’re involved with ; in addition to running errands or catching up on housework that didn’t get done during the week.

Of course nowadays, even when family members are home together, parents may be too worn out to talk and may instead simply “veg out” in from of the TV. Kids are either on the internet or plugged into their iPods. In the past, you had to talk to the people under your roof and spend time with them, whether you liked it or not. Today family members can tune into their iPods or laptops and tune everyone else and ‘be with’ whomever they choose to be with.

There is much less time available for quality face-to-face time between parents and kids. In recent years we have become increasingly disconnected from friends and neighbors, and less involved with community organizations, civic groups, parent-teacher groups or recreation groups. This loss of “community” threatens educational performance, safe neighborhoods, everyday honesty and even our health and happiness.

One factor is that for many people, social networking sites, chat rooms and other online venues have become their “community” of choice. “Instead of socializing with others face-to- face, more and more people are spending their free time sitting in front of their laptops. Another factor is our busy lifestyles. With people working longer hours, often on weekends, we have less time for chats with the neighbors or for neighborhood barbecues

If you are old enough to remember “the way things used to be” that in and of itself can be disconcerting. Most of us don’t enjoy having to do with changes that are thrust upon us, especially if there’s lot of changes all at once. We prefer to stay with the status quo. That’s more comfortable. Of course, even if we find all the technological changes exciting, it can be stressful trying to keep up with all. And then the changes themselves can cause us angst – having too many pressures on our time, seeing morals deteriorate all around us, seeing how” family” has been redefined in our modern world. Or perhaps we feel disconnected from the people around us and wish we had more of a sense of community. May we grasp how change is speeding up and are concerned about what society will be like a generation from now? How can we possibly cope with these changes?

Yes, there is an answer to this: A big difference between previous times and today is that in the past people looked to God to help them through difficult times. But for many people today, that doesn’t exist as an answer anymore. Ultimately, though, our true source of stability is the one thing much of society has let go in recent years—GOD.

No matter how tumultuous or volatile this world gets, we can count on God to be our anchor and refuge.

God will give us the strength we need to make it through if we look to HIM and His word to guide us. (He is our refuge and strength. Psalm 46:1). Moreover, God in His Word has given us a wonderful vision of a better world that’s coming. It’s also important to remember that God’s plan and purpose for us will never change. His plans endure forever, his purpose last eternally. Indeed, we can face our rapidly changing, uncertain world with a truly positive and confident outlook—if we hold tightly to the God who does not change and whose eternal truths are utterly certain. That should give us confidence and peace of mind. What a spectacular future to look forward to!

– – – written by Mel. P. Oommen