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Keeping Up With the Joneses

Julie Hawkins, Director of Children & Family Ministries, reflects on Rev. Daniel Humbert's sermon on Sunday:

Thank goodness May is over because May is one pressure-filled month! May means the end of the school year, nightly concerts, award ceremonies, school programs, more award ceremonies, and graduation. May also means that my Facebook feed is full of brilliant, high-achieving, talented, amazing kids. Like me, every other parent in town has spent the month attending these ceremonies, milestones, and events.

The pressure to keep up with "perfect families" is immense in our community. Even though we all know that no family is perfect, social media can make us feel otherwise. It's the new version of "keeping up with the Joneses," only the Joneses aren't just next door neighbors; they're everyone on Facebook!

Sometimes I don't have straight-A kids. Sometimes I attend award ceremonies and clap for every kid on stage but my own. Sometimes my kids aren't super athletes, brilliant musicians, or all-around super stars. And sometimes they are. I often wonder, if I only post their achievements on Facebook or social media, am I placing more importance on these events than they merit? Am I just feeding into the culture of fake perfection?

I came across a verse one morning that hit home this award season.

"Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can do with your own life." Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)  

Another version of the same verse says, "Each person should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves. They won't be comparing themselves to someone else." (NIRV) 

I think both versions apply to parenting and posting during awards season. Am I posting those pictures of my kids because I'm a proud mom or because I feel the pressure to keep up with the crowd? As Daniel said in his sermon on Sunday, "Is this post necessary?" For me, the answer is no; it probably isn't necessary.

But as my step kids were honored with the rest of the graduates at Trietsch, I wanted to share that moment. It's about the relationships in my family and with my church. Daniel made me stop and think, was I trying to connect or was I seeking attention? I realize most students in our community graduate high school. But today, most of our family was together to celebrate our three graduates. That was something I wanted to celebrate and share!

This week's sermon has inspired me to stop and think about why I'm posting to social media. I don't think Daniel was trying to say, "Stop sharing about your families." But I do think it's time to stop and reflect on our motivations behind each post. How will this post make other parents feel? Is this post necessary to let my kids know I'm proud of them?

If you missed Rev. Daniel Humbert's sermon on finding God in social media, check it out:

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