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