Expand Your Bubble

boy on cliff with backpackI’m the mother of three active boys. They’re teenagers now but when they were little, I made a point of only consuming my news online or via radio and TV when they were not around. As a work at home mom, I was constantly around my kids, so staying informed was tricky.

My goal was to protect their young impressionable minds and hearts from all ‘the crazy’ in the world. That’s what a conscientious mom does, right? She acts as a filter for her kids, keeping them in a safe bubble, of sorts.

Well now that the boys are big (literally, they tower over me), I realized that they need a different bubble and in some cases they don’t need that bubble at all, especially as they near 18 and I gently nudge him out of the nest.

During the last couple years, I’ve made a concerted effort to expand their proverbial bubble. How, you ask? I watch and listen to a wide variety of news outlets, even when they’re around. Sometimes, especially they’re around. And I’m intentional about engaging them in conversation about what we’re hearing or seeing in our world. As a Christ follower, I make a point to include current events in our family prayer time. I couch things in a Biblical world view while being careful not to only look through the lens of any one political party.

My oldest son, the most vocal of the three when it concerns current events and politics, pushes back sometimes. “Why are we praying for a country of terrorists,” is a typical response from Conspiracy Brother (my nickname for him, a rip on the 2002 movie Undercover Brother). His in-your-face attitude makes for some difficult conversations at times but he’s sharpened my skills of debate and research. And I think I’ve sharpened his skills of critical thinking and compassion. In essence, we’re expanding each other’s bubble.

Baby boy has keen skills of observation and reasoning. And he likes to gab so chatting it up about the world, science, politics, religion, sports, music, etc. around him is easy. But not so with middle son. Half the time, I’m not sure he’s even tuned into the topic at hand.

That is, until a news report about women in Saudi Arabia being granting the right to drive (Sept. 2017). Middle son stopped what he was doing and said, “Whoa, I didn’t know that [Saudi women] couldn’t drive.” To which, I said something short about the differences in the rights women have around the world.

In that teachable moment, his bubble was expanded. How about you? In what ways has your bubble expanded recently? What or who brought about the change?

I believe we, as parents, have an obligation to help expand our children’s bubble but also to enlarge our own. What and who is in your bubble?

Photo by Cameron Stow on Unsplash

2 Replies to “Expand Your Bubble”

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you are helping your children to learn to think critically. I wish more parents would take time to do the same. If you only expose your children to one point of view, yours, especially without reasons for how you arrived at that point of view, chances are they will at some point rebel and take the opposite view when they get to college, if not before. That’s usually when young people begin to reexamine all they’ve previously been taught. That’s when those critical thinking skills become so important in helping them sort truth from falsehood and make good decisions about what ideas are most valid.

  2. Hi, Barbara. Thanks for your comment. You are spot on; young people do tend to rebel when they get to college. They test out everything they were taught. I know I did. Without some critical thinking skills, they can be tossed in the wind during such a pivotal stage in their lives.

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