{Jon Acuff} Bringing Dinner Back Week #8 – The Rewind Button

Jon AcuffWeek 8 of the dinner challenge is here, which means two solid months of focusing more on getting together as a family or couple! Some weeks, our family has knocked it out. During other weeks, the push and pace of life has pulled at the seams of our dinner commitment. This week, I was reminded of why it’s important to keep focused on our family.

What we learned: There is no rewind button.

Last week, I asked my 7-year-old daughter L.E. at dinner who Justin Bieber is. She crunched her face up in concentration and replied, “I think he’s a singer.”

I didn’t ask her that because I don’t know who he is. Clearly he’s an adorable Canadian one boy, boy band. It’s difficult not to know who he is. I asked L.E. that because I wanted to take her “pop culture temperature.”

You see, although I’ve got nothing against Justin Bieber, culture is always trying to speed up the age of our kids. The window to be a child, to be invested in dolls and crayons and princess castles is getting shorter and shorter. There’s a rush to adolescence that starts years earlier than it used to. And I bumped into that when our five-year-old daughter started to hang out with other five year olds who were watching Disney shows about teenagers.

I used to think that I wanted to raise a “cool kid.” I used to think I wanted them to be culturally savvy and able to talk about the cool stuff with other cool kids at school. But bumping into the situation with my younger daughter really threw me.

As I’ve shared before, those shows her friends were watching weren’t created for a five-year-old. The entertainment she wanted to watch was not written for a girl two years out of diapers. It’s got boyfriends and girlfriends and topics that are way out of her understanding as a little kid. And she might love it. She might sing all the songs and have a blast doing it and fit right in with all her friends. But if I encourage her to do that, if I push her toward that, I fast forward her through childhood. I speed her up from a five year old to a 10 year old. And although I make about 47 dad mistakes a day, I have learned one secret about childhood:

You can fast forward childhood, but you can’t rewind it.

I wish I could but I can’t. Childhood only goes one direction and I want her to stay a little kid for as long as she can. There will be plenty of time later for her to think boys are cute and interesting. I promise.

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11 thoughts on “{Jon Acuff} Bringing Dinner Back Week #8 – The Rewind Button

  1. Lynn

    Like most parents, I think the shows and music of my youth are much cooler than that of my children’s. So, I decided to arm them with pop culture from other generations. My kids know about Star Trek, Elvis, Gene Kelly, Bugs Bunny,… They may not be able to hang with the cool kids, but the teachers and other adults love them and think they are cool. If I want them to develop good personal taste then I have to give them some base line to start from.

  2. Scott Hatfield


    I agree wholeheartedly. My daughter just turned 9-years old this past Monday & it blows me away to think about how fast our time has flown. I am a devoted Christ-follower that really longs to fix the broken baton that I was handed from the dysfunctional family that I grew up in. I believe that God calls us to evaluate, to celebrate the good & to grieve the pain and allow God to heal us as we invest deeply into these gifts that God gives to us. That window of time before adolescence is so critical and as a parent you only get one shot! It’s not about putting our children in this weird protective bubble…it’s about cultivating our children’s hearts and allow them to swim in water where the current is not too steep for them! I’ve used this statement several times, “That water’s too deep for you.” She understands the metaphor and I know that we have to be near them in the water as the current picks up! Andy Stanley says even though our parenting styles will change as our children grow up. We must seek to invest & cultivate that relationship so that we are in the seat of influence in their lives. And as they get older…the states are higher, the decisions are greater, and the fallout more painful! Our goal is parenting is to help our kids…Love God, love others & leave home! Our goal is not producing “great kids” but investing intentionally in them so that they become “great adults”. My prayer for my 9-year old is that she would fall in love with Christ and walk with Him all the days of her life! I pray that she becomes a dangerous woman of God who does, says, goes everywhere that God calls her to go! Thanks for the reminder today about the importance of loving our kids (provide & protect)! Got to see you in California for Catalyst! Thanks for your heart for God’s church and our role to engage our culture and give away the greatest news on the planet!

    Blessings to you & your family,


  3. Donna B.

    My girl IS the cool kid because she thinks it is ridiculous that girls even care about Justin Bieber. She just turned 11. I heart her!

  4. Aimee Kuelling

    Thank you for the great post. It’s a nice reminder to not rush through things… I am always telling my son (10) to enjoy the age he is, he only gets a year to do it and there is no going back.

  5. Amy

    Thanks for this post Jon. Love it. Is it just me, or is there a t.v. programming void for kids who are past Dora and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but are too young for iCarly and The Suite Life? Wait, I know it’s not just me that feels this way, because I just polled my office pals. We all agree. There’s very little out there on the popular kid networks like Nick or Disney, that is fitting for your 7 to 12 year old. It’s either Special Agent Oso or parentless 14 yr olds roaming a cruise ship.

  6. Chamaine Bjornson

    I cannot thank you enough for this post. Just last night I was trying to explain to our 4 year old little girl why she couldn’t just skip being 4 and be a “big teenager girl”. I’m glad to know we are not the only Christian family feeling like they’re combatting every bit of culture to keep our children just that, children.

  7. Tyson

    Wow – thanks Jon. I’ve been wrestling with this issue a lot recently with my wife. See, I really want to get my 5 year old son an iPod touch for Christmas this year – he’s so good with technology, he’s a well rounded little boy, and extremely smart for his age – but she thinks it’s an age inappropriate gift. I know he’d love it, I know it wouldn’t be an issue (he has a DS and a Wii and follows all of the rules I’ve set up to control his consumption; in fact he pretty much limits himself! “dad, I only play my DS in the car – can we wrestle instead?”) however, after reading this article I’m starting to look at the iPod as a teenager toy – not a little kid toy. I know he’d be great with it, but it does seem like I’d be stealing from his childhood by giving him control of that sort of technology – and forcing him to grow up a little too quickly.

    Thanks for this insight!

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