I loathe my phone. My very expensive, cha-ching goes the piggy bank, iPhone. It has a huge screen similar to one of my very first texting phones from back in the dino age of cell services. That old phone, mind you, did not get on the internet, but was still the joke of all my friends. Yet, I thought it was amazing because the letters were all readily available to punch, send and save time…time I valued using for things other than a phone. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a good old phone that only did what it was meant to do and nothing more. Alas, those days are gone and I now have what was a really sweet gift from Husband last year. He gave me this gold colored device with it’s fancy screen because of my ongoing issues with a cell I refused to part with out of frugality. You see, I pride myself on being a Dave Ramsey loving, thrift shop wearing, penny pinching kind of gal, who doesn’t need (or want, for that matter) the “latest and greatest” stuff thrown at me via over commercialization. Even so, after a few years of dealing with lost pictures, videos and messages, we both agreed to bring my phone into the present tense. So, what’s the problem, then? The problem is I don’t want to have a problem!!
Everywhere you look people are captivated by the screens in their hands instead of what–and who–is right in front of them. It’s sad enough that children aren’t being taught cursive in public schools anymore, but now at home (and school) they are learning how to stare into space (figuratively) while ignoring staring into space (literally). Families can’t seem to sit through one dinner together without someone pulling out a phone. And that’s at restaurants and at the kitchen table–assuming they are sitting together at the table. There once was a time when parents would get irritated when solicitors called the home phone in the evenings because it was sacred family time. Now it’s the parents (and many children/teens) who are allowing the time to be stolen by reading, texting, watching what can and should wait for another time and place. Yes, this is a rant (per my usual custom), but I think it’s a valuable one. As a society WE ARE ADDICTS in need of an intervention.
It’s no longer how quickly you can type or how many languages you know that will be considered assets on job or college applications–but whether you can hold a conversation of depth while showing respect for the other people in your presence. These will be what are considered value-adds in the future. Mark my words. Most every seven year old can operate an iPad–but most seven year olds can no longer use their imaginations, tell amazing stories and create with their hands. Most can text, but they can’t read historical documents because they are in cursive. We are creating a generation of technologically functioning but not relationally flourishing human beings. Unless someone is in the hospital or you have a standing appointment that cannot be moved, leave those screens in a drawer when you are in your home. Teach your children and other adults the art of listening, responding and looking others in the eye.
I know I am to my peers what the Amish are to us, but I truly believe our dependence on technology is becoming our peril. It’s certainly become our idol.
If you think I’m going overboard, then see how many times today you pull out a phone or stare at a screen…and take extra note if you are a parent and have little eyes that are longing to look at yours without competing for the picture you are taking to then upload and share with whoever isn’t there. Remember (or learn) who you are without hopping online to download a new app, game, or whatever it is vying for your sacred and scarce time. Your kids won’t care how many followers you had on whatever gram–they will care if they considered you worth following as they grow.
Note: I’m talking to myself as much as anyone else. Today, I am purchasing a bluetooth phone with an old school punch pad for home just so my screen stays in the drawer when possible. I don’t want to miss out on the people in my presence. And as for the pictures–there’s a fantastic camera (not on my phone) that scores really beautiful shots too.
Here’s to Operation: Old School!