A Christian Science perspective: In a world full of 'connectedness,' I wanted to be sure my daughter stayed connected with God.
Connecting through Facebook is a natural segue for college kids who honed their keyboarding skills in high school while instant messaging with friends in the evenings. Facebook users keep in touch – not just once a day, but, according to statistics, multiple times a day.
I checked with my own source, my college-aged daughter, and she confirmed and raised my estimate of six times a day to a dozen or more, explaining, "I have to check my Facebook wall frequently to stay connected with what's going on."
At an earlier point in her life I became concerned about a sudden upsurge in my daughter's "connectedness."
She'd just begun high school, and along with constant computerized communication, there were movies, parties, sports events, late-night telephone marathons, and after-school get-togethers. A warning light flashed when chores began to happen haphazardly and family dinners were missed.
One night I talked to her about balance, pointing out that staying connected with friends was great, but it was not the only priority. After a few discordant words, the conversation ground to a halt.
Alone in my room, I turned to God for an answer. I asked, "Father, what is my role? Am I supposed to sit back and let her learn some hard lessons?" I was asking God, my Father and hers, for help.
Before my daughter's birth, a British friend had shared this wonderful thought: "Remember, you are only the landing strip for His own little nipper." He knew God was her Father, as the first line of the Lord's Prayer, given to us by Jesus, makes clear. It opens with, "Our Father which art in heaven." My friend was reminding me that God was also my daughter's Mother, as Mary Baker Eddy interpreted that first line: "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 16).
These opening lines, which so many people pray daily, offer a connected starting place for parents and children. As I prayed, I lifted up my thought of my daughter, claiming her heritage as the child of God, recognizing her inseparability from – her connectedness with – God, her Father-Mother. She was still in His care. And so was I. I knew that she had always loved to think of God in this way. In fact, her knowing this had always both kept her balanced and helped her make wise decisions.
Before turning in for the night we talked again, and although my daughter listened quietly to my thoughts about balance, she was seriously questioning the merits of not having so much fun.
Unexpectedly, her puzzled expression changed to one of alarm. She'd just remembered that after school she'd come home on the bus with a bunch of her friends, and, laughing and clowning as they climbed off the city bus together, she'd forgotten to pick up her purse.
Suddenly she wanted to talk about God fathering and mothering her. She wanted to be still and quietly listen to thoughts of His care and protection. She wanted to know that He was in charge and took care of every detail. As I prayed out loud, she was with me all the way, adding her own affirmations of God's love for her and for everyone, fully connecting with these quiet thoughts of inspiration.
Although it was midnight, we drove to the subway station where the bus finishes its run. The ticket taker could not have been more helpful. He, too, seemed to be seeing everyone as part of one family and encouraged my daughter to check the lost and found the next day.
This gave her the opportunity to spend some time valuing quiet prayerful thought and her connectedness to God. Even though the purse had been left on a crowded metropolitan bus during rush hour, it was found intact, with her money, identification, and cellphone all in place.
She instant messaged her friends that evening and told them the good news.