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How Do I?

Fr. Tom’s Letters


Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the life of the parish.





August 4, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

This letter is being sent home to the parents of all our children in the parish Faith Formation program and parish Catholic school.

Dear Parents,

We have passed the halfway point of summer and soon there will be talk of returning to school. This will be a special time for those going to high school and college for the first time. We pray for them and wish them well.

I am writing to all the parents of our students in parish Faith Formation and in the parish Catholic school. I encourage you in these closing weeks of summer before the return to school to do some parent reflection and have a conversation with your children. The topic is the appropriate use of electronic devices including telephones and all kinds of computers and tablets. In our schools today, many serious situations and damaging exchanges occur because of the inappropriate use of electronic devices. We now know that at times this misuse, mean-spirited, and undisciplined use of electronic devices by children and teens can have tragic consequences. We know that bullying by devices has led to the suicide of some young persons. We would be foolish not to discuss, educate, and offer discipline to our beautiful young people on this topic. To ignore it would make us irresponsible adults. And we know that the inappropriate use of electronic devices is part of our adult world. Inappropriate use can turn sinful when it expresses disrespect for the human person or another human being.

Importantly, we need to acknowledge the many good things that this kind of technology has brought into our lives, particularly the lives of our kids. Most notably:

· Our children and parents have quick access and communication with one another. This is true in times of emergencies, communicating family plans, and sharing information.

· Children have access to their areas of interest and can learn new and helpful information about these subjects and topics most quickly, helping them to develop and go deeper with their knowledge.

· These technologies offer new ways of learning that will be important to children as they further their education and prepare to enter into the complex world of technology.

· Children can enter into conversation with persons who live a great distance away. This includes relatives, family members, and those we described as “pen pals” in a former age.

· Used well and monitored by parents, the use of technology can teach the children another form of responsibility.

The “darker” side of technology devices in the hands of our children include:

· Possibility of addiction, never a good thing as it diminishes human freedom.

· Avoid person to person relationship and conversation leading to myths about real friendship.

· Isolation in the privacy of one’s bedroom as they spend hours on devices.

· Pornography, which is always harmful.

· Too much knowledge about the going-ons of others leading to “left out” feelings of rejection.

· Inappropriate communication with peers including bullying, vulgar, and profane language, and inappropriate pictures of oneself and others. Gossip and slander.

· Possible interaction with untrustworthy persons, adults with evil intentions.

As we move towards the beginning of a new school year, let’s try some positive efforts to guide, educate, and lovingly discipline our children in these areas of technology, devices, telephones, tablets, social media, and all related activities. I offer three suggestions:

· Have a discussion about the proper use of technology. A possible approach might include Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

Who are our children communicating with?

What are they communicating?

When do they use their devices?

Where do they use their devices?

Why am I using this device at this time with this person?

·  Inform your children about how you will monitor and discipline their use. Set measurable guidelines.

· Provide example for your children regarding the appropriate and timely use of electronic devices.

These suggestions for conversation between parents and children may prove helpful and lead to other topics of conversation. I would like to hear of your responses to this letter at tharold@drvc.org.

In the gospel Jesus always calls us to truthful, respectful, and helpful conversation. Gossip, slander, bullying, profane, vulgar, and untruthful conversation is opposed to gospel virtues and is described as sinful. May we help our children be aware of the good things that technology has brought into our world and may we help keep them safe from those who seek to do them harm in this electronic age.

Peace be with you!

Fr. Tom













The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.