This is Day 14 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.

JPG_7047The Teen Room

“Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing; if we are ignorant to say so; if we love our friends to let them know it.”  ~Virginia Wolf

It never fails.  Every time I head out for a run, I get about a mile down the road and one of my girls calls or texts. It’s usually about food—what should they eat, why can’t I bring Chick-Fil-A, etc.  The point is, if I never run a marathon due to phone call interruptions during training, that’s on them.  The truth is, I like it that way.  This past Saturday, I was out for  a 7 mile run and fielded no less than 3 phone calls about what they should have for breakfast and what show they should watch and did I remember the name of the condo where Taylor Swift lives.  You know, life-threatening, run-interrupting stuff.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Anytime the teens and tweens wanna talk, I’m all ears.

But often, my phone is not a bridge from me to others.  Often, it’s a barrier.  I LOVE my iPhone and I have a plethora of apps that make it nearly impossible to put the darn thing down.  I can almost run my whole life from my phone.  I do mobile banking, read my Kindle books, pin like a crazy woman,  stalk you good folks on Facebook and Instagram, and listen to all kinds of good tunes.  That’s one handy device, there’s no doubt about it.  Everyday, I marvel at the ingenuity of and creativity of that little handheld computer. But, it’s so easy to become a slave to it—to use it as a barrier that shields us  from true communication, to prefer the mindless surfing to actual talking and connecting.  It’s so hard to keep it in balance because they are so addictive.

And that’s why I sit on the bed.  They like to tell their stories and they love hearing mine.  Maybe what happens in the next few crucial years will depend on how many hours we sit on the bed.  The phone, as smart as it is, can’t help me here.  She needs me, in the flesh and undistracted. I hope I have the courage to sit a good, long while.

**********************

I constantly have to ask myself if I’m using my phone or is it using me?  Here’s a few tips that help me use it better.

  • Ask anyone who’s ever tried to reach me on the weekend.  It’s not very easy.  I often leave my phone in the car over the weekend, only to discover a host of missed calls on Sunday or Monday.  I don’t always even do it intentionally, but I love old fashioned weekends, full of good books, good food and less technology.  Try it.  You might like it.
  • I keep a daily to-do list/journal and often will write down a friend or two that I want to try to connect with during the week.  If I’m not intentional about it, it usually doesn’t happen.
  • I don’t take my phone to bed with me.  I charge it in my office, so I’m not tempted to start and end my day with it.
  • I often intentionally leave it in the car when I’m going somewhere so I’ll be able to connect with real live people and not be tempted to constantly check the phone.

Challenge Day 14:  Carve out some smartphone free time or space in your day.  Ask your spouse for an honest evaluation of your smart phone usage, then together create a few smart phone policies to implement in your life and family.

communication

Be sure to read Ruth’s post, Less Smart Phone.

22 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 14 {More Communication}”

  1. Yes. Our phones are addictive.
    And, you’re right. Those phones can’t help us with loving our kids and listening to their stories. They need us in the flesh for that.

    When we were in college ministry, the students would literally text each other, while in the same room.

    I’ve found myself putting my phone on the table, when I’m having coffee with a friend, just in case my kids need me. It’s a BAD habit and one I need to break.
    Challenged by your words again, Edie girl.

  2. Truth!

    I love that you sit on the bed and talk to the kids. And that you leave the phone in the car and/ or office. I do too. The latter is one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t realise just how much time I spent looking at the darn thing. And I’d rather spend my first and/ or last hour of the day journaling praying, reading, talking to my husband than staring at a screen

  3. It was hard enough to get used to the kids and young adults whose phones always had to be out and in sight. But I almost can’t handle seeing all the middle agers who now have to have the phone within eyesight.

    Our children (even the young adult ones) will survive if the text or call and we don’t reply immediately (Gasp!). Or maybe I’m just jealous because mine are very self-sufficient and seldom call. 🙂

  4. I am so glad you addressed this! I, too, have a hard time parting with my phone, but after being ignored by well-meaning friends who text/email/check instagram while in my presence over coffee, I have now definitely created boundaries with my phone: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. We are missing out on REAL life while we are constantly checking in to see what we MAY be missing and most often, we are not missing out on much if we put away our phones for an hour or two to build relationships. Also, when my teen daughters friends come over, I ask them to put their devices on the kitchen counter – they are there if they need to check them, but not a barrier to being together.

  5. such great, common sense ideas! when a boy can be killed on a san francisco bus because every single person had their eyes glued to their phone and didn’t notice him waving a gun around…we have gone over the edge with our phones! so sad!

    m ^..^

  6. Thanks Edie. This has been a real problem for me, especially because of a new group of ladies that I met several months ago. They are great gals, but they are in constant communication via text and Facebook. I feel like I have become a slave to my phone for fear of missing out on something. My husband does not like me having my phone on me all the time and that is no secret. I am turning over a new leaf today! I want those tangible relationships. And I want to tend to those I already have. Loving the insights from you ladies!

  7. Love this. Your tips on this are completely awesome and a definite gut-check for me to see how much I’m on my phone. Love the idea of connecting with 1-2 friends per week; that seems totally do-able. Also love your thoughts on life with your girls- I’m a good stage behind you with two girls- toddler and baby- but I think so much about my hopes and desires for our relationship 10-15 years from now. Being an ever-constant presence in their life and willing to sit and listen and talk seem so important to making my hopes a reality. Never too busy, never too distracted; they know they are always first. Thanks for showing me a good example of that.

  8. I also leave my phone in the car when visiting others so I won’t be tempted to use it. I love the idea of charging the phone somewhere else in the house. I am very guilty of starting and ending the day by looking at the phone. I love the idea of connecting with 1-2 friends during the week. The days fly by and you definitely have to be intentional about making that connection. 🙂

  9. You are so right. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’m curious how you handle this issue with your girls. Even though I may have turned off my phone for the weekend our young teen and tween are still distracted and can easily get consumed with their devices. We’ve put guidelines in place to help but I would love to know how you handle this.

    • Our girls are pretty busy, so they usually save the screen time for the car. We don’t have hard and fast rules, though. I guess at some point we may need to do that, but they don’t abuse it right now.
      If I notice it’s getting to be too much, I take them for a day or two and that usually cures it, but I’ve only had to do that once or twice.
      Hope that helps!

  10. I love this post! I walked my kids to their classrooms everyday even if they seemed to old for it. I did it because the moments of childhood are fleeting, it’s an extra 5 minutes of being next my child and connecting with them. Sitting on the bed, walking them to class, what in the world is more important? Nothing.

  11. Hey Edie,
    I’m loving these posts and just now catching up from a weekend away from FB! It felt good to “unplug” for a few days! I have a phone that has no internet; only text. I’m afraid of what I might do if I ever get one of those “smart” ones. Ha! 🙂 Just love how you “sit on the bed” with your girls! My girl is 30 yrs. old with 3 babies of her own, now. We use to talk forever about anything and everything. Oh, how I miss those days. Life gets busy and they grow up and things change sometimes. Please, don’t ever stop talking to your precious girls…even when life gets busy and they get older. You never know when things might change. I’ll always cherish my “talks” with my girl! Always!
    Blessings my friend,
    Cindy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *