I don’t know how I avoided it this long, but I couldn’t avoid it forever. I had always thought they were over-rated, over-complicated gadgets that the technologically uber-adept play with so they won’t have to make eye-contact with the general public as they zig-zag through the mall and other places where people congregate, or something pretentious people whip out so everyone around them will think they are important (news flash: they don’t). Friends kept telling me how cool, how convenient they were, but I wouldn’t listen. It sounded intriguing, but I still didn’t really want to take the time to learn to use one and I certainly didn’t want to pay for one!
Well, last year I could avoid it no longer – my work upgraded my regular cell phone to an i-Phone. I wish I could say that I still feel the same as I did before, but alas, I cannot. I’ve been brainwashed, taken in, captured by the extraordinary magic of what must be the absolute coolest, most convenient tool on the planet. I have literally almost everything I need, right in my pocket! There are apps for seemingly everything, from games to scanners to calendars, music, reminders, notes, books, and even a Bible in any version I want to read it in. Need a guitar tuner in a pinch? There’s an app for that, in my pocket, all the time. Who carries a guitar tuner in their pocket all the time? I do! Go ahead, try and tell me that’s not cool. And if I discover that I need something and don’t have it, there’s probably an app for that too.
Well, just like most anything, there’s a downside to the amazingness that is the smartphone. While these remarkable gadgets can certainly save time in many ways, they possess the extraordinary capacity to steal gaping chunks of it as well. Like so many things that can have detrimental effects, it’s a choice we make, but wow, what an easy choice it can sometimes be! Just watch the people in restaurants, stores, malls – it’s hard to look across any public place without seeing countless people with their eyes fixated on that irresistible, bright, rectangular screen instead of on those around them. When Kim and I go to a restaurant, we often see people who are obviously on a date… but apparently with their smartphones instead of each other. Wow…
I’m guilty too! I’ll find myself at dinner with the family, wanting to pull out my phone and check the game score, my email, or something else. Has something changed in the past 20 minutes that I just HAVE to know about right then, when my kids want my attention?
We only have so much time with our kids, with our spouses, with those we love. Besides knowing our eternal destination, the most important thing, when we leave this earth, are the relationships we leave behind. Despite what the average yuppie seems to think, smartphones aren’t a relationship. Like anything used in the wrong way, they can be one of the most dangerous weapons out there, a time-stealer that robs precious moments we could have spent making memories with the people we love. Is that game score, that article, that news or Facebook update really more important than Nathaniel’s day at school, or Abby’s loose tooth, or Grace or Hannah just wanting to sit on my lap and kiss my ear? When my kids remember their childhood with me I want them to remember Daddy’s eyes on them, Daddy’s interest in them, Daddy’s love for them, not Daddy’s annoying habit of looking away at his phone at every fleeting chance.
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