Finding Faith in the Storm of Cancer

God says we must count it pure joy when we face trials of all kinds. What a challenge! In December of 2013, within the space of a few days, I went from being a busy mom and sales manager for JOY! Magazine, to facing a dreaded breast cancer diagnosis.
From the moment my ‘cancer’ journey began, the Lord spoke to me so clearly and I had no choice but to listen – He had captured my attention! I don’t know about you, but when my life skids out of control, I am all ears. Do I listen to the Lord, who I know loves me and has carried me through 48 years, or do I listen to the world and to the fears of my flesh?

Trusting in God and not my fears
At the time that I found the lump, and had to book the appointment with my GP, Jesus reminded me of a similar choice given to His disciples, when they were in the storm on the Sea of Galilee – fear or faith? I knew a huge storm was coming, even before the final diagnosis was delivered, but I knew that I had to choose faith – which was believing what I couldn’t see. Faith is seeing light with the eyes of your heart, when your natural eyes see darkness! It is knowing that this too will pass and that God will carry me. 

Waiting on Jesus and His Word
As I lay awake during the early hours of the morning, unable to sleep, I would put on worship music and just wait on Him. Every day, He would give me a Scripture to hold onto, or whisper a word into my heart. The power of knowing the Word of God is indescribable when you confronted with a trial. My anchor in the storm was Isaiah 41:10-16, which says: “Fear not there is nothing to fear, do not look around you in terror…” How the enemy loves to make us to look around – and then the fear rushes in. 
After the initial diagnosis, we drove straight to see our pastor, Steff, and our dear friend Cornel, an elder. They left a big prayer meeting to be with Dave and I; their prayers and words of encouragement made me feel so secure in God’s love and the elders’ love and protection was very comforting. The Word says in James 5:14: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” I believe there is much blessing in this act of obedience and being in submission to Godly leaders.
My first op, a double mastectomy
Within the next few weeks, I had to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction, because the cancer was invasive. I thank God for the most incredible surgeons whom He led me to; not once did I feel I needed a second opinion. During the three week wait for the operation, I had to undergo many tests and scans to see how far the cancer had spread. God used all these experiences to teach me to become totally dependent on His voice.

God is in control of my destiny
I had been given a date of the 14th November, which was the earliest my doctors could do the 8 hour operation. Suddenly, a week before this date, they postponed it. I remember being so angry; all I wanted was to get the cancer out. Why did I have to wait? It was while lying in a machine, undergoing a full bone scan for an hour, that God really convicted me of wanting things my own way.
I repented and it was on the evening of the 14th, that huge floods hit our area and the hospital, which I was to have been in, was under water and in chaos. All the patients were evacuated and ended up in hospitals all over the city. That night, I got on my knees before God, realising He knew all of this before and was in control of my destiny!
There were many instances like that, in which I was brought to my knees, thanking God for His greatness. Another miracle, was that “coincidentally” 6 months prior to my diagnosis, we had taken out a Gap-cover medical policy. This came into effect immediately and all the excesses were covered. God provided, without us even knowing what lay ahead!

Facing the reality of a second op
Just after my first op, further tests showed that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes; again I would need surgery. After much prayer, we decided to go on our Christmas holiday first. This was an amazing time of seeking God, whilst still in lots of pain and the darkness of the unknown. The Scripture, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,” was so real to me. I had no idea how far the cancer had spread, and had to go back and face the Goliath of another op and chemo.
During this holiday, I had my best friend, Maryan, and her family nearby. We prayed, laughed, cried and searched the Scriptures. I remember my plastic surgeon, a man of God and an incredibly talented surgeon, Dr Jonathan Toogood, speaking prophetic words of life over me, as I left his rooms to go on holiday. He had spoken in faith over me, probably without knowing it. How those words sustained me and gave me hope!

Refusing chemotherapy…
After the second operation, and with no trace of cancer, I was faced with the second giant – chemotherapy! The oncologists said it would reduce the risk of the cancer returning by 10% – and that this is normal treatment for cancer. In the the world’s eyes, I had no other choice, but God just whispered that He was my only absolute and my only choice was to trust Him. I sought him for 2 weeks, wrestling with the decision.
I knew the treatment would radically affect my life for the next few years, and weaken my body’s ability to fight the cancer. I am a busy wife, mom of four children, have lots of responsibility at work and many people and friends. I knew I would not be able to fulfil all those roles, for a prolonged time. At the end of January in 2014, I made the controversial decision not to have chemotherapy.
I knew it would be a battle of the mind not to doubt my choice, but God promised to sustain me. He sealed my decision the following Sunday. During worship, I felt Jesus standing next to me, connecting me to a drip, filled with His Blood, and attaching it to my veins. The oncologist had told me the treatment was nicknamed, ‘the Red Devil’, but Jesus showed me His treatment was the “Life-giving, Real Thing!’

Conquering my Goliath
That reassurance freed me from fear and condemnation, when people seemed shocked that I had chosen not to have the chemotherapy. I realised not having chemo is the second giant that petrifies people. When I read in 1 Samuel 17, that Goliath came out daily and the whole of Israel were terrified, I realised the enemy does that with cancer and chemo, but, like David, we know our God who has defeated the enemy.
The word says David ran to the battle line and slayed the Philistine. Wow! This is how we should face battles…run in faith toward them, not cower in fear.
God reminded me early one morning that this enemy, cancer, is an uncircumcised Philistine coming at me – but I resist against it in the Name of the Lord Almighty. This day, the Lord would defeat the cancer on my behalf, not by the sword or armour that the world uses, but by the Word of God. The battle is the Lords, the victory ours.

Grateful for family and friends
Throughout this whole battle, God surrounded me with people of faith. He never lets us face battles alone. My husband Dave’s strength, love and unwavering faith, as he guided our family through this, continues to amaze me.
My children and family were very brave. My mom daily cared for all of us, quietly facing the reality that I was her second daughter to have breast cancer. I know she wrestled with God about this, but without showing me her pain and fear! She has been a pillar and example of faith in God all her life, and I honour her. I have learnt to be strong because of her. I pray I will pass this legacy onto my children.
I remember the people who drove far distances to visit me in hospital ,the calls, the kind messages and the 5 weeks of meals. I am also so blessed to have walked this road with Erin Georgiou, a woman of faith who captains the JOY! Magazine family. She encourages me daily and gave me space to get strong. I thank God for her, another pillar in my life, and for countless others.

Moving forward in faith!
During the early days, there were many tears, and I know it was particularly difficult for my teenage daughters, as we have close friends who lost their mom to breast cancer. We were very open with our children from the beginning, chatting and praying through fears. We encouraged them to run to God, as we couldn’t expect them to stand on our Faith.
God taught us all how to cope when fear came visiting. We needed to walk through the fear, embracing all the ‘what if’s’ – even the possibility of death. The most liberating thing is to know that God is still there at the end, no matter what. This takes away the terror of the unknown, when we face it.
I have walked through the past year – sometimes much more slowly – but with greater faith and more love for Jesus, than ever before. The gift of faith spoken about in 1 Corinthians 12 is a spiritual gift given to us to fight supernatural battles. When we exercise  the gift of faith, we are an inspiration to fellow believers. It  demonstrates confidence in God and being convinced that all obstacles to the Gospel and to God’s purposes will be overcome. It becomes evident in all we say and do.

We are not survivors, we are overcomers
Every October, people celebrate “breast cancer survivor” month. For some reason, I was so reluctant to do this last year (which preceded my one year, cancer-free anniversary). It was during a sermon at church about broken jars and the art of kintsukuroi, that I felt the prompting to publicly testify to the congregation that, although broken and scarred physically, I am not a survivor, I am an overcomer. We are conquerors and overcomers – there is a huge difference. As Christians, we should not think we just survive through our crises and hope we survive next time! We overcome and are much stronger, for having been broken.

I will testify of His goodness all the days of my life
Am I finished with this battle? No, I’m sure I’m not. Having a cancer diagnosis hanging over you is a constant fight. Just last week, I had pain in my ribs and went for a scan. Is God in control? Yes, He goes before me. When people ask me if I’m healed and if the cancer is gone, I always say Yes! I don’t know how I will die one day, or how long I will be here on earth – but while I’m here, I can sing, “It is well with my soul”! The fear of cancer and dying has already been faced. I love Psalm 55:18: “He ransoms me unharmed from the battle raged against me”. I can surely testify to that!
Jenny is available to share her testimony. Email

Myles Munroe – Remembering a Transformational Leader

At the end of last year, Dr Myles Munroe, 60, and his wife Ruth, together with several other ministry aides, died tragically in an aeroplane accident. The news shocked the Christian world, and though we mourn their passing, we rejoice in the legacy he left on earth, and the fruit of his life’s purpose, that will continue to blossom in many people’s hearts for years to come.

Prepared for greatness
Curiously, before his plane went down, Dr Myles had previously had a dream about leadership transitions he believed he would see in the Bahamas.
In the dream, a track and field athlete was lying in his coffin, clutching a baton. After he awoke, Munroe said he understood the message of the dream: “It was about people dying with a baton, instead of passing it on. I was thinking, the young person who’s supposed to lead next, has to go to the casket, pry the baton out of the dead man’s hand  just to take it to the next leg. Great leaders pass [the baton] on before they die, and they live to see the other person run. Hopefully, we will get to see that in the Bahamas.”
Soon after the news of his death broke, tributes poured in from leaders around the world, including presidents.
His presence is still missed, but his legacy continues to be remembered. Below is a tribute by his publisher and friend, Steven Strang, who offers some insight into this influential leader:
Five lessons Myles taught me
“I knew and admired Myles since we first met at Oral Roberts University, in the 1980s. He was a recent grad, but his Bahamas Faith Ministries International, which he founded only a short time earlier, already had become successful. Over the years, I brought him in as a consultant for our media company, published several of his many books (three are still in print), had him as a guest in my home, visited his church on numerous occasions in the Bahamas and spent hours talking about the things of God.Here’s what I learned from Myles before he was tragically taken from us:

1. He loved his wife, Ruth
Theirs was an example of a healthy Christian marriage. One of the first times I heard him speak, he called her to the podium and told the audience how beautiful, smart and beloved she was.
Myles and Ruth seemed to have a wonderful marriage, during the three decades I knew them. How sad that they died together in this crash.

2. He was passionate about leadership and transition
Ironically, Myles was on his way to a conference talking about that very subject when the plane went down. I remember a meal we had together, where we talked about how to pick a successor like Jesus.
I had never really given any thought to who Jesus’ successor would be, because Jesus is alive. But as a successor on earth, I suppose I would have said Paul. But Myles said Jesus’ successor was Peter – the one on whom Christ built His Church. Myles said Jesus asked Peter: “Do you love me?” Always pick someone who loves you to succeed you, he said. Otherwise, your successor will beat your life’s work into the ground – something I’ve never forgotten.

3. He influenced others
Myles brought unity, by founding the International Third World Leaders Association; he was well known and respected by the highest levels of leadership in the Bahamas [and even had a state funeral – the highest honour].

4. He was a great communicator
Not only did he write more than 40 books, but he also was sought after internationally, as a speaker. And when he spoke, he held the audience’s attention for long periods of time.

5. Myles was a deep thinker
He was a keen thinker, with deep insights. He taught on leadership in practical ways. He emphasised “knowing your purpose” in sermons and several books.
As a Bahamian, Myles was used to a system that respected the role of the King and Queen and the way the population was subject to them. He felt that Westerners sometimes felt the church was a democracy – like their governments. It’s not – it’s a Kingdom and Jesus is King.

The legacy lives on
Please pray for the family he left behind. Imagine the horror of losing not one but two family members in this tragedy. And his ministry must move on, too. The people must be reeling from shock and grief, although Myles Munroe left a firm foundation. He left leaders in place.
I believe his ministry will go on. His influence will continue for years to come, due to the many books he left behind, as well as his teaching videos, but mostly by the thousands and perhaps millions he influenced in a very deep way, including me.

A touching tribute from one of Myle’s Munroe’s spiritual sons
“Dear friends, thank you for all the messages and calls over the last few days. I am humbled to read that, in some way or another, you associated me with my parents in the faith, Papa Myles and Mama Ruth.
The last few days have been very hard for me, and I cannot even imagine how the family of all the victims must feel. My heart goes out to every single one of them. I have been searching for answers and did a lot of reflecting over the last few days.

Papa Myles, a mentor in the faith
The first time I saw Dr Munroe speak in public, was in October 1998 in South Africa  at a local church, where he taught on ‘Discovering Your Personal Leadership’. Little did I know that destiny would pull me to the Bahamas, Dr Munroe’s home, eight years later.
The bank I worked for in Switzerland asked me if I would relocate to their office in the Bahamas. Needless to say, I did so in June 2007, and one of the very first questions I had when I arrived in the tiny island nation was, “Where is Dr Myles Munroe?”
That was the beginning of a relationship that significantly shaped the purpose of my life.
Over the last seven years, I was privileged to spend extremely valuable time with a man that was an example in all spheres of life. I remember our trip through Africa, last year; the mentoring times in his study; the last lunch we spent together, enjoying our favourite fish; the last flight we spontaneously took to Canada and, finally, his last email to me on Friday, 7 November (two days before his passing), ending with “Love you son, Papa”.
I realise now, that he did everything he had to do, said everything he had to say and wrote everything he had to write.

A glorious homecoming
A very close friend of mine wrote me the following on Sunday night:  “We’re all afforded a blank mosaic to paint of what we’d like our lives to be. Albeit Mr Munroe’s tragedy – he has painted a masterpiece.”
I went back to my emails from January this year and read again what Dr Myles believed the theme of 2014, the year he went to be with the Lord, to be. Here’s what he wrote:
“2014 brings us into a year of a season of fulfilment, completion and perfecting of our goals, desires and plans in the Kingdom of God.”
This year was HIS year of fulfilment, completion and perfection of a life dedicated to serving others. His departure was of epic proportions. In the twinkling of an eye he left this world, together with his wife and soulmate whom he loved so much, as well as with the other extraordinary leaders and friends he cared about, who were on the plane. No pain, no suffering. A glorious homecoming after a glorious, victorious life.
In her last email to me, just days before the accident, Mama Ruth wrote: “I am sure only time will tell the impact of the Kingdom message on the persons who have heard it.”
Dr Myles and Mrs Ruth Munroe finished their race and kept their faith, they transformed thousands of followers all around the globe, especially from the third world, into leaders.
I am convinced that these new leaders will continue to shape the world and their countries. They will continue the legacy. The race is not over. A new lap is starting.
Last, but not least, I wish to thank the people of The Bahamas, for allowing me to share these profound 7 years with this extraordinary Bahamian leader. And finally, I wish to thank Chairo and Charisa Munroe, for sharing their mom and dad with me and the rest of the world.”

Remembering a couple passionate about Jesus
Myles and Ruth Munroe, and their ministry, have been our long-time friends for well over 35 years. Dr Munroe was a man of the Word of God, a strong and gifted leader in the Body of Christ, with an anointing to minister to ministers and teach and train leaders to be leaders in Christ Jesus, in the things of God, and in the victory that we have in Jesus Christ. His lovely wife, Ruth, was  an equally powerful minister of the Gospel.
Of course they will be missed. And, of course we miss the strength that God placed in them. But, we don’t mourn their passing; Scripture says sorrow not, for we are not a people without hope. We know, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that Myles and Ruth Munroe just stepped into the presence of Jesus, and thanks be unto God, He always gives us victory over death. He bought it, He paid for it and it is ours!
Their ministry, Bahamas Faith Ministries International Fellowship, will not diminish. It will not go away. It is strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. It will continue. It will grow. It will continue to preach the Gospel. And all of the leaders that this man of God has taught and trained in the Body of Christ, and in businesses and Christian enterprises all over the world, will continue to reflect the Good News of Jesus Christ, because of the richness of Dr Myles Munroe’s spirit and his strength and integrity here on this earth.
We’re blessed to have had them among us for these many years. It won’t be long until we see them again. Soon, Jesus is returning, and forevermore, we will be with Him.
In closing, I remind you of Hebrews 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
We take great comfort in these words. – Kenneth Copeland

Middle East Crisis – End Time Revelation by John Haupt

As far back as the First Century, the Apostle Paul foretold that perilous times would come upon the world in the last days. Jesus said that they would be so frightening, that fear and panic would cause men’s hearts to fail them. Those who may have scoffed at such prophesies in the past, no longer do so – not since witnessing the terrible acts of terror and devastating natural disasters of our time.
The resultant insecurity brought about by these acts of terrorism, has not only stunned the world, but also changed the way the West views Islam. There is a good reason why many people believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict lies at the heart of it all.
An ancient conflict
The deep-rooted resentment between Arabs and Jews was revived with the rebirth of modern Israel in 1948, and has continued to escalate ever since.
The ongoing violence in the Middle East has dominated world news reports more than any other matter. Even the tragic events of 9/11 were somehow linked to it. The never-ending strife in and around Israel may be perplexing to politicians and the world in general, but not to those who know and believe the Scriptures.
Spirit-led Bible students are able to discern the signs of the times, in much the same way that the sons of Issachar were able to do so long ago. Their insight and foresight enables them to comprehend certain things must come to pass in order for God’s Word to be fulfilled.
Israel is the focal point
On the other hand, it is shocking how ignorant nominal Christians are, when it comes to the things that still lie ahead. Nothing seems to have any prophetic significance for them. It is becoming ever clearer to those who search the Scriptures that Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, will become the focal point of history in the days ahead.
As we approach the end times, all countries are being drawn into this conflict and forced to take sides. An alignment of nations is taking place right before our eyes. Bible-believers the world over are becoming increasingly alarmed, as they see their governments turn against Israel. Even America is proving to be less of a friend than anyone could have imagined a decade ago. Anti-Semitism is surfacing again in many different forms. This time, it includes calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The Second Coming is imminent
History records that God intervened in the affairs of mankind 2 000 years ago, by sending His Son into the world. There is good reason to believe that He is about to do so again, in a dramatic way. In the meantime, He is using every means to get man’s attention. It is His declared will and desire to bring as many people as possible to salvation, while the door of grace is still open.
Understanding the root
The Middle East conflict – as well as the Islamic terrorism which it spawned, needs to be examined from a historical, geographical, spiritual, political, religious and military perspective. To fully comprehend any dispute, one has to delve into the past, to establish how and why it arose. Only once the source of the disagreement has been pinpointed, will its complexities start making sense.
Brother against brother
This is especially true of the Middle East conflict. Its duration and intensity will continue to defy all rational explanation, until a thorough study of its root causes is undertaken. The Scriptures, which provide the most accurate record of man’s history prior to Christ’s first advent, are most enlightening in this regard – as indeed they are all in matters pertaining to life as we know it.
The more one ponders on the Middle East conflict, the harder it is to believe that the two foes have a common forefather in Abraham. But it is so. The great controversy between Islam on the one hand and Judaism and Christianity on the other, arises from who each side holds up as the child of promise (Isaac or Ishmael). Ishamel and Edom’s descendants still covet the land and blessings God gave to Isaac and Jacob’s offspring.
Never before have we seen as many nations gang up against the Jewish state, as right now. She is the pariah of the world and nothing less than her total destruction will satisfy the Muslim world.
Seeing the Messiah from afar
The history of mankind cannot be separated from the Biblical expose of Israel’s Messiah. Any sincere enquirer who takes the trouble to compare the unfolding of the Old Testament revelation of His coming with the course of history itself, will soon conclude that they ran concurrently for many centuries, before converging.
As the prophets of Israel peered down the corridors of time, they foresaw and predicted many historical events that no amount of human wisdom or imagination could have conjured up.
Centuries later their amazing prophecies were literally fulfilled. Often the accuracy of the details given by them, were truly remarkable.
False prophets abound
All other religious writings claiming to be divinely inspired, are questionable testimonies of deluded individuals, and will not be able to withstand close scrutiny. None of them have been validated by history, archaeology and fulfilled prophecy like the Bible has. They are thus easily exposed as fraudulent works of false prophets.
Only those whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this world would dare to question the Bible’s divine origin, or dispute that Christ has come in the flesh. How anyone can still refuse to acknowledge the now obvious convergence of human history and divine revelation, is hard to comprehend.
Sin produces strife
All human conflict can be traced back to Adam’s original sin and satan’s role in causing it. It is the source of all disobedience, pride, prejudice, envy and hatred. Man was suddenly capable of thinking and doing un-imaginably wicked things. Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, became a murderer and the whole earth was filled with violence in no time at all. Every generation thereafter has witnessed the havoc wreaked by this deadly affliction. It is a fact that whenever satan and his demons are active, sinful deeds and feuds are inevitable, Because of this, strife has been the order of the day throughout the course of human history.
A choice with eternal consequences
The day is approaching when every man will have to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and bend their knee to Him. It is better to willingly do so now, while choices that have eternal consequences can still be made. 
When this blessed time of Christ’s return comes, divine law and order will prevail. The Middle East conflict which features so prominently in Bible prophecy, will then come to an end. So will all hostilities on the earth, because the Prince of Peace will see to it. 

John Haupt is an author, speaker, tour guide and missionary. This article is an extract from his book, The End of the Matter. To order or for more info:

Our Childrens Counterfeit World

A few years ago, we were visiting my husband’s family and he was bonding with his younger brother by playing video games, which they played for hours on end.  Afterwards, they came upstairs to have dinner. The children and I were both happy to finally have Greg back from the trance he had been in, and also that he had some special time with his brother.
After dinner, Greg said, “Hey we’re going to go back and finish the game. We are just about ready to conquer the world.” My cynicism kicked into full gear and I replied, as he was heading down the basement stairs, “Don’t forget that when you sit behind a TV screen all day, you do nothing to conquer the world. You get the feeling of conquering the world, while doing nothing for it.”

Living in a fake world
My husband laughed, knowing I was half joking, but also knowing just how true my statement was, in a larger sense. This video-game, social-media-addicted culture is settling for the counterfeit, without even knowing it. Boys sit in their homes, behind computer screens, feeling as though they are conquerors, protectors, champions, fighters, great sportsmen, and even musicians, without even a drop of sweat exiting their bodies or without ever touching an actual football or instrument.
Men are sitting behind screens, being sexually aroused by women they have never talked to, dated or married. Girls sit behind screens, where they write posts and Tweets, or upload pictures to so-called friends they have never met in person.

Is our culture becoming counterfeit?
Conquering the world, means getting off the couch, walking out the door and having the sun beat down on your face, while you literally do something to conquer the world. One cannot conquer a world without engaging the people within it.
Seeing a naked woman, should take work. It should require meeting her in person, getting to know her, asking her on a date, buying her ice-cream, meeting her family, sacrificing for her, becoming vulnerable, asking her to marry you and getting married. And, your nakedness with one another should be a time without shame, secrecy, or deception because you have committed yourself to this person and this person only, to love them fully, totally, and faithfully.

Real friendship
Having friends, likewise, should include an actual face-to-face meeting, or, at the simplest, a voice-to-voice conversation that lasts more than the effort it takes to write 140 characters or a short post. Friendship requires a time-testing element – where there is a demand for trustworthiness and honesty.
Friendship demands a commitment to being inconvenienced: like when a friend needs to talk to you in the middle of the night and you wake from a much needed and desired sleep, to take the call; or, when a friend is doing something wrong and you have to speak an uncomfortable truth to them, hoping they will receive it well and the friendship will be strengthened. Friendship isn’t about one-liners and telling people what they want to hear.Friendship involves intimacy.
Our hearts desire to be in communion and union with others – but the more “advanced” we become, the less we know and feel known by others.

Fake relationships, fake feelings
The youth who are being brought up this way, are being deceived. They aren’t experiencing real relationships and real emotion. I see the effects of this brokenness all the time, when I speak to them.
The best place to institute change is in our own homes. A six-year-old, who knows my son, tugged on my clothes the other day and I turned around. He said, “Mrs. Pritchard, does Michael have a DSL or Wii? And what games does he own? Brady doesn’t know what games you guys have at your house.”
This cute little boy was looking up at me puzzled, wondering how my son didn’t know the names of the games he owns. I said to him, “Oh, we have a Wii, but we only play video games together as a family, just like we play board games, and the only ones we have right now is a sport game and an adventure game.” Then this child looked at me even more puzzled and said, “I spent the whole weekend playing video games by myself, in my room.”

Children spend too much time alone
Am I concerned about that child, sitting by himself, at age six, in his room behind a screen and playing a game that isn’t real? Not necessarily. I mean, most childhood play isn’t real. But what concerns me is the teenager or adult he may become, if he is allowed to settle for the counterfeit, throughout his growing years. I’m concerned about him learning that it’s okay to sit isolated from your family, in your own room, behind a computer screen, where no one is watching. I worry that he will find so much satisfaction in the feelings he derives from playing these games, that he won’t exert the energy needed to form real encounters and relationships.
I’m concerned, given that the average age when children first  view porn is about 8-9 years old, that he will one day transfer this behaviour of seeking excitement behind a screen, to viewing pornography behind that same screen  – and deriving pleasure, in the secrecy and privacy of his bedroom, while his mom and dad assume he is just in there playing video games.

Spending time together
There are a few things we can do, to help our children become authentic-experience-seeking and relationship-building adults. We rarely play video games in our home, When we do, we play as a family. We play, talk,  encourage, compete, learn good sportsmanship and grow in relationship, playing video games like we do playing board games. We have one TV which we all watch together.

We don’t have portable devices that the children can take to their rooms and isolate themselves with. Occasionally, as a special treat, I allow the children to play a game, or see something on the IPad, while I am in the room.
We have our children’s’ friends over often, to give them ample opportunity to play and engage others in real relationships, where they have to learn how to get along and where they see the benefit of  imagination and creativity.
I firmly believe that a parent’s role is not to constantly try to entertain and fill their children’s time, in case they get bored. I want my children to get bored – because this is when they end up having to fill their own time. What they come up with, is better than any movie I have ever seen or video game I have ever played.
They end up becoming producers of creative and imaginative works of art, music, and play, instead of mere consumers of what someone else has come up with in a video game or movie.

Connect to the beauty of life
Simply put, we make an intentional effort to disconnect, in order to connect with real life, love, and people. The sacrifice is challenging, while living in this technologically enhanced time. Yet, it is worth it, knowing that what we are attempting to do, will help our children form real relationships with people, living life to the full, as they actually play sports and music – and personally encounter the beautiful places in this world.

Melanie Pritchard is an author and speaker and Executive Director of the Foundation for Life and Love