To Text or Not toText
By Tracie Miles

“Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.” Proverbs 22:15 (MSG)

To text or not to text…that is the question. My husband and I struggled with this question when our two daughters entered middle school. Some how they convinced us that we would be better parents, and they would be safer children, if they were given cell phones. We fell for it.

Since then, they have come to believe that texting is one of the four primary food groups which sustains life as we know it.

I am a strong believer in random text checks. On occasion, I will pick up my daughters’ phones, without warning, and skim through their messages. Something in my spirit told me it was time for a random check. I immediatately glanced at the conversations taking place in her private world of texting. As I read through the messages, my heart sank. I was devastated at the conversations she had been engaging in. Although her responses were not entirely inappropriate, the things that were being said to her were. I was disappointed that she would allow boys in her school to say such offensive things, and crushed that she had not stood up for her faith and distanced herself from people who obviously did not respect her.

As I sat there, feeling like a complete failure as a parent, I received an email. My friend Mary Beth had posted an entry on her blog regarding texting problems among teenagers, and thought I might be interested. I immediately linked over to read it, and praised God as I wiped away the tears from my eyes. Through a simple blog entry, God communicated to me that I was not alone. He used Mary Beth’s words to reassure me I was not a failure as a parent. We live in a corrupt world, and the enemy will use whatever means he can to pierce the hearts of our children and gain control of their thoughts and actions.

Although I trust my children, I had to recognize that even good kids make mistakes. Even good kids, from good families, raised in Christian homes, can get caught up in the trappings of this world, and pulled into ungodly actions. It is our job as parents to help our kids set themselves apart from the fads of today’s society that are not healthy for them. If we allow our kids the privilege of their privacy so much that they are living a life that parents are not a part of, then we, as parents, have gotten pulled into the trappings of this world as well. As my mom used to say, just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean that you have to do it. This also applies to us parents! Just because other parents allow their kids to have cell phones, unlimited texting, and completely private lives doesn’t mean I have to! Mary Beth said it perfectly when she wrote, “Today, I realized that our position on cell phones is “weird” by our kids and the rest of the world’s standard, but that is okay. If it means helping our kids emerge from the teen years holy and healthy, I am willing to be weird.”

My husband and I made the difficult decision that we would not only block texting from cell phones but the phones would be temporarily, if not permanently, taken away. Did that win us the parent popularity award? Absolutely not. Did our daughters expend all of their energies trying to convince us they would be social outcasts in society? Yes. Did they use scare tactics, like something might happen and they won’t be able to call us? Yes they did.

But do we believe we are doing what God would have us do to protect our children and teach them what is holy and just? Absolutely.

If need be, are you willing to be “weird”?

Dear Lord, parenting is hard. Please guide me in making difficult decisions that are in the best interest of my child, even if they don’t agree. Please wrap your arms around them and keep them safe from the evils of this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Be the Parent by Kendra Smiley

Visit Tracie Miles’ blog

Teenagers and Cell Phones, by Mary Beth Whalen

Application Steps:
Do a random text check today on your teenager’s phone.

Be willing to take appropriate action to protect your child, even if it is not a popular decision.

Am I unaware of my children’s world?

Am I affording my teenager too much privacy?

Am I being the parent?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 19:18, “Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” (MSG)

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJ)

© 2008 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.


Blogger Rhonda said...

It is hard as a parent who has raised their kids in a loving Christian environment, to let go of the kids as an adult (18yo) and not feel like a failed parent when they make choices that you have raised them not to make . I feel like it is a judgement on the parenting when the kids step away from their upbringing. All I can be comforted in is Prov 22:6 and know that God loves them more than me. And maybe this stepping outside is really the m trying to find their own faith instead of hanging on to the coat tails of their parents faith.

sorry this is such a rambling, just dealing with all this right now and felt compelled to share.

it is good for us to know that we are not alone in this struggle.

God Bless

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your devotion today brought back many memories from my parenting days of the seventies and eighties. We, of course, had no cell phones therefore, no "texting" problems. We were one of the few families who had only one TV and that was where it could be monitored by Mom or Dad. We also had other limitations on our children. Were we the most popular parents and did our children consider themselves "social outcasts"? Yes and yes. However, I have four of the most wonderful adult children who love the Lord and are raising their own children with some restrictions. We have to BE THE PARENT!.

Stay true to what you believe.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to make a correction. The answers to the questions are NO and yes. Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never leave messages it has touched me in away that I cannot explain! I have just been through this exact thing with my 16 yr. old son. God brought me here today! He knew what I needed!!! GOD IS GOOD!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tracie: You're doing a great job as a mother!! Keep drawing your strength from Jesus...He'll give you the confidence and reassurance you need. I remember as a teen, I made some very poor choices that affected my life in a horrible way. I was raised in a Christian home and my folks did all they could, but I still had a will of my own. God was/is faithful in that He saw me thru my choices as well as the lingering consequences many years later. I did indeed find my own faith in Him, and was able to see how my parents restrictions were for my own protection, not punishment, nor trying to take away my fun. I remember telling my mom that I hated her for something she had done, again in trying to protect me. She was crushed, but she held to her "guns" and did not back down. Years later I apologized to her and thanked her for sticking to her convictions.
I think being a Christian mom can absolutely be the toughest job on earth!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could have written this myself just over a year ago. Thank you Lord for showing this to me today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog today. SO MANY times I have been a "snoop" for the sake of my kids welfare. It has made me question myself and feel foolish or guilty...but in my heart I knew that it was out of loving my kids (even if the love was imperfect). There are SO many things that can try and take hold of our is a constant battle in this world. I am thankful that GOD is very aware of this and will give us insights at times. He also is working behind the scenes in our children's lives. A scripture that I sometimes think of is: For this reason I also suffer these things , but I am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day .

Although the context of this passage may not exactly be about children the precept is the same...God is trustworthy...and He entrusted my children to me...and I have entrusted them back to Him....He is faithful!

God bless you--moms one and all!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have laughingly called myself "the mean mom"....there are times when I have to buck the trends and say "no" to things that many others seem to allow for their children. My adult children are now beginning to thank me for taking a stand against the "norms".

Cling to God and do what you know to be right in your heart....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God for adults who are being parents and not letting their children live completely private lives. But Proverbs 22.6 is not God's promise to parents that we can claim. It is a principle that encourages us to be diligent in training our children.

Thank you for this devo. It has helped me to pray for my adult children.

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