Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fair Warning - This Will Be A RANT

I wrote this post a few weeks ago and didn't get it posted to my blog until now. After this evening I thought it was the perfect time. 

As we visited the children’s museum the other day I could not help but notice all the people on their cell phones! The vast majority of them were texting.There were SO many parents who had young children there playing and yet the parents were on their phones! There was very little interaction with the children. Yes, I realize it's a museum designed for children but there are so many great opportunities for fun and teaching and imagination moments in this museum. How sad that so many of the parents missed out on those special moments with their kids. 

During that same weekend we attended several basketball games. At half time of one game I went to the bathroom and upon returning I looked down on the crowd as I was walking back to my seat and again couldn’t help but notice all the people hunched over their phones! Heads down, fingers texting an obviously extrememly important message. **insert sarcasm here**

Today, after church, we went out for lunch and sat across from a table consisting of mom, teenage daughter and young son, maybe twelve years old. There was no interaction. I mean NO interaction. Each person at that table had their own phone and each was enthralled with the phone and not the people at the table. At one point I heard talking and thought they had finally begun a conversation but when I looked, the mom was talking to someone on her phone! So there they were – mom talking to someone on her phone, sitting across from her daughter and next to her son and yet no one was talking to each other! Literally. What in the world is happening to the ability to just talk to people? We're losing the basic art of conversation. Not to mention the basic art of family time.

After my grandson's soccer game tonight we stopped by the playground for a few minutes before heading to the car. There was a little girl, approximately 5 years old, going down the slide head first and on her back. At the bottom of the slide she couldn't get herself turned around so she was 'holding up traffic' as the other kids came down. The adult that was with her (I later found out it was her mother), was hollering at her to get off because there were kids coming down. The little girl was doing her best but needed some help. The adult said she couldn't help her much because she only had one arm to help with. Her arm that was "unable" to help her CHILD was holding a Cell Phone! Yep!  When the adult said she only had one arm to help the little girl hollered, "Then put down your stupid phone!" Mom answered, "No. You get to play so I'm playing. You're at the playground and this is my playground.", as she proceeded to continue to text. Myself, my daughter, grandsons along with a few other people at the playground were very close by, obviously close enough to hear this entire conversation. Sadly, this didn't concern this mother one bit. Grrrrr. Now seriously, who in the world could she have been texting that was more important than spending a few minutes of playtime with her own daughter???

I realize that people use their phones to communicate with family/work/friends but it has become much more than that. People have their cell phones attached to their ears or have their eyes glued to the screen afraid they may miss a text. Is it really worth it? If it’s not a true emergency do you really need to answer your phone? Let them leave a message. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy the moment you’re in when your eyes are on the phone, waiting for someone to call or text you.  

I remember the day I dropped my phone in the toilet. True story. I panicked. I had no way to communicate with the outside world! Oh gosh, was the phone store open today? Surely it was! I would call to see what their hours are but wait....I have no phone! I’m completely shut off from civilization! I jump in my car and drive the 30 miles to get a new phone. Please let the store be open… please let the store by open. As I pull up to the store I see an “Open” sign and a weight is lifted off my chest. I can breathe easier now. I’ll have a new phone soon. This new phone will clearly make my life better. I can post directly to facebook now right? I can tell the world that I’m eating ice cream at the Life Is Good cafe as I’m sitting on the red chair facing the window. I can answer any question that comes to mind by googling it instantly. Need the definition of a word? Just a minute, I'll google it. I will become infinitely smarter. I will now be a true member of the elite smart phone family.

When did I realize there was a problem?

Maybe it was when I began taking my phone to the bathroom with me because I might miss a call while I was pottying. 

Maybe it was when I found my husband had fallen asleep while checking emails; the phone clenched tightly in his hand, him snoring.

Perhaps it was when I find myself thinking I heard the sound of a text coming through and I rush to the kitchen to see who sent it. 

Or maybe it was when I went to town and actually forgot to take my phone and I felt a bit of a panic come over me. I even thought about turning around and getting my phone just in case I needed it. 

Or when I wake up in the morning and immediately check my phone to see who posted what on facebook; in the middle of the night.

Or when I was stopped at a red light and checked to see if I’d gotten a text since I left the store five minutes ago. 

Or when I’m reading the news on my computer and have my phone right beside me in case it rings.

And then -- when I realized I was checking my phone before reading my Bible.

This imaginary fallacy that this little box will change my life. How is it helping me be a better person? A better wife? A better mom? A better grandma?  To create a deeper love for Christ?

 As handy as it is to text my kids, I want to actually hear their voices. I love their voices. I enjoy talking to them.

Communication, verbal eye to eye human communication is becoming a lost art. One which I hope we can all try to practice more; especially with our families. 

*******Thought for the day ********

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
Joseph Priestley

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