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Don’t Be A Copycat

The world is not what it was back in the 80s and 90s. Gone are the days of being out until the streetlights came on, drinking from the hose, endless summers in the pool getting sunburned, and cooling down with a pitcher of Kool-Aid.

Our biggest concern was getting home to hit the record button so we could see our favorite show on repeat with our trusty VHS tapes and pleading with our parents to take a trip to McDonald’s for dinner.

These days, people pull into their garage, shut the door, and the outside world is closed off from our view. Kids are immediately in front of their screens to “connect” with their friends, more readily sliding into a digital conversation than in person. Isolation is a real thing, and as parents, sometimes we feel hopeless to course correct not only our kids but ourselves.

I know for me, this is frustrating beyond measure. I find myself going down the hall and opening the closed doors of elusive teenagers, and much to their chagrin, I try to engage in conversation.

Grumbling, they trudge out to the kitchen to help cook a meal or put away the dishes. Much to their surprise, not mine, a conversation usually begins, which leads to staying out of their rooms to continue telling me about their day. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I have found that our parenting must be much more intentional these days. We didn’t have the distractions and the pulling from all sides when we were kids or teens. Will this take more of our time? Absolutely. Is it worth the investment of time and energy? Absolutely.

There are so many things vying for our kids’ attention; why can’t we be the main one? We have our children’s best hearts in mind, whereas social media, so-called influencers, and digital platforms have the sole purpose of persuading these malleable young minds to think as they do.

We need to model love, joy, compassion, humility, and faith when worldly things come knocking and keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

In the conversations I have with my 13-year-old, I am left speechless by what is happening on our school campuses. We owe it to God and our children to be open to discussing these things but also teach what Romans 12:2 is telling us.

We choose to be different because that is what Jesus asked of us. He is our partner in raising our children, and that alone should give us strength and determination to do what is right. It’s like the group projects that we had at school; we don’t want to be the one that didn’t do the work and have the Teacher question us.

I encourage each of you to be in the Word daily. His Words will protect us from the enemy who has nefarious deeds in mind. Let’s focus on Jesus, the One we know will always be there.


  • Jennifer Norton

    Jenn is a Pastor on the Lake Forest Mission Team focusing on local mission/ministry efforts and discipleship. Her heart is for those who are hurting and feel they are in the margins. She wants them to know they are seen and loved by their Creator. She is a creative writer for several online platforms and is working on her first novel that will offer hope to those struggling in their faith. After marrying her Prince Charming, Brandon in 2004, God has blessed them with two adopted daughters, each with a unique and amazing story. Loki is their rescued lab/shepherd/snuggle bug mix who keeps them very entertained and well hugged. Jenn earned her BA in Non-Profit Management/Public Relations from Chapman University in 2001 and graduated from Gateway Seminary in May 2023 with a Masters in Theological Essentials. An enteral optimist, she is an expert at seeing the sunshine in most situations and is always looking for a way to brighten your day with a funny quip or a big smile. A little known fact, Jenn used to be on an Improv Comedy troupe and was involved in many acting projects back in the day and would love to find a way to combine her love of performing and Jesus to spread the Good News.

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