The family IT revolution is the ‘Messenger’ whereby family groups meet each other with chit chat, photos, videos and the like.
Families keep in touch with each other instantly and with the usual banter and carry-on without an eye-lid flickering – it is the run of the mill family engagement in another form.
We have a family “Messenger” whereby Grand-ma and Pop (that is us – Delma and Mark) is able to watched videos of the grand children as babies, then as toddlers, then walking, then sounds and words, the older grand children doing their things from crafts and mountain biking and the like.
But it is more than that – ill health, hospitalisation, accidents, drama – it is all passed around the family immediately. We know what to pray for when these family events happen.
Then there are day care, kindergarten, primary school events are all recorded on video and our family all are being to see these immensely enjoyable situations with laughter and commentary.
This is family in action.
Then there are the more ‘other’ things put on the family “Messenger” - our family consists of members who lean ‘left’ and those who lean ‘right’ - and our family members have opinions. Let me repeat that.
Growing up around the kitchen table there was discussion time. Every one of us – 6 – was expected to offer their ‘two-penneth’ regardless of how full of wisdom it was or at the other end of the scale, ‘stupid-as’.
The family members talk about those growing up years and how valuable it was to them as they left home to Uni or business college to stand and give a more ‘accurate account’ of what was being discussed.
They’re all still good at it on the family Messenger or when we all get together and the kitchen table discussions are resumed - sometimes now one good thing that happened. Most revealing.
In addition to Messenger, when our eldest (now 41) left home for university in Armidale (we were in Moruya) I initiated a daily – family news – on Email. That was 1997 – only rarely in all those years have I missed a daily family news.
The daily family news consists of family news bits, events, ministry, people met, discussions and the like. Strange as it may be, I can now go back (they are all saved) and see what I did that day, what was on the agenda and when those who came against me I had on tap a clarity of evidence.
So not only has this daily family news got such evidential information it is a remarkable record of what was happening with each member of the family. One such occasion our fourth at business college happened to show a friend the ‘daily family news’ – unless it is 2-3 pages long it is unacceptable – and her friend was astonished at its length – and was bowled over when told this family news comes every day and often longer.
When our son lived in England for 7 years he read the daily family news with enthusiasm – he often says even today, he kept up with everything going on at home in Australia. It was like the family in the next room with all their activities.
Meanwhile the Messenger has been a step forward from a daily email to an instant family news feed with all the wonderful and delightful things of life - photos, videos and the rest of it.
This has included my art endeavours, ministry at the instant, the developments of the respite engagements and the like.
Such IT is a joy.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html