A friend and I sat for hours visiting over dinner, laughing and enjoying just being in each other’s presence. During the few hours we engaged in conversation, I kept noticing the tables around us which were filled with older married couples dining together, families grabbing a bite to eat before heading home, and groups of friends hoping to enjoy a little social time. But the thing I observed the most was how disengaged all of them were by being focused on their smart phones. Parents didn’t interact with their children. Spouses didn’t say one word to each other. Friends kept texting instead of talking.
I left the restaurant saddened by how we give more attention to a device instead of the precious people seated across the table. We are inundated by technology, which can be good and bad. I’m not writing this blog to preach a sermon, spread guilt, or stand on my soapbox. It’s just a shout out to remind us to look up. So I sat down and brainstormed 8 Things to Not Abandon in the Technology Age:
- Giving someone your undivided attention Whether in a business meeting, eating lunch with a friend, or running into someone at the store, ignore your phone. A phone call or text message can wait a few minutes. Each time you use your phone, it signals that it’s more important than the person.
- Writing thank you notes If someone was kind enough to purchase a gift, make you a meal, or in any other way bless you, then the best way you can reciprocate is by sending your thanks in handwritten form.
- Taking your children to the library I love my Kindle, but there is nothing like entering the sanctuary of reading material, perusing the shelves to find a treasure, and sitting down at the wooden tables to read a book.
- Visiting with a friend over coffee I’m kept “in the know” through Facebook and texts that notify me of prayer requests and updates, but the greatest joy is to sit face to face, see a smile, and share your deepest heart with a friend.
- Attending church I watch many of my favorite preachers online. Nothing can fire me up like an impassioned message from Steven Furtick. However, there is something special about corporate worship, being part of a community group, and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Eating dinner as a family in a “no phone” zone Children don’t often talk about all that is happening in their lives, but they are more apt to share over dinner with family gathered and everyone chatting about their day. No distractions, no phones, no email – just great conversation and undivided attention.
- Making children play outside Neighborhood playmates. Fun games like “Kick the Can” and “Red Rover”. Scraped knees and dirty fingernails. Sweat and sun-flushed faces. Priceless.
- Playing games while traveling Traveling across country with my family, hours were spent playing license tag bingo, I spy, and a hundred other activities to pass the miles. We laughed, bonded, and created unforgettable memories. Video games, movies, and iPads are great time passers, but don’t neglect interaction or engagement.
These are only a few suggestions, but I challenge you to create your own that would make an impact on your life, your family, and those around you. I love technology! Give me my Kindle, iPad, Internet, and Facebook and I can have so much fun. I just have to remember to put them down from time to time and observe the world around me. There are some amazing things to experience without a device in my hand.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/