Thursday, May 5, 2011
Technology and gadgets have made a tremendous impact on our daily lives. This impact has been an improvement in some ways, but in an ever growing trend they are becoming completely consuming. I fit too easily into the later category of technology's impact. You should see what becomes of me when the television or computer are on and running. I'm instantly wide-eyed and stopped in my tracks. I absolutely cannot focus on anything other than the flash and sound of the screens. This isn't an uncommon response as I see it when I'm in the company of others with these and other media turned on. I've reached the point where for the most part technology and it's gadgets are more time-wasters or distractors than they are aids.
In our last residence we quickly grew into a habit of ending the work day plopped on the couch in front of the television. We would eat dinner and chat about whatever the programming or commericals fed us as converstation topics. The nights often ended that way. The morning brought another draining work day for each of us, and another mere existence in the evening routine. It was all we had energy to do after our demanding jobs. Somewhere in the push for survival, we shut down in fully living. The occasional dinner table meal was largely silent. We were in love and newly married. We were best friends. How did we lose the ability to communicate beyond the topics of work, the To Do list, and future plans?
I believe this is all too common of a scene for many families and friendships. We're so in tune with the world that we're out of tune with our relationships. I must confess I have a bit of a pet-peeve list, and watching television or using cell phone (or other mobile devices) while in the company of others is on it! We've had guests stay with us on a few occasions at our current house. Our television receive more use during their visits than any other time at our home. I was infuriated that they would travel to visit with us and then stare at the television. Why is this done? Is it because time spent with nothing in between would be awkward? Perhaps behind the shout of silence is the message that we need to be investing in deepening our relationships. Do we know how to converse outside of work, future plans, children, or other people? How do we minister to others when we know so little of them personally? Genuine relationship require personal investment. I suggest turning off the television or other media, and getting to work! It's time to tighten our relationships to our family and our friends.
Being constantly plugged in not only distracts us from our relationships but it can limit the work God has called us to do. I feel completely called to the home and as such I should consider my role with great importance. There are things to be done here, and I know that if I stop for even a moment at a screen the day will be gone. Even still, I'm prone to getting sucked in to distractors during my day. My husband lovingly reminds me that these things take practice. Practice makes progress afterall. It's a comfort to know that I'm in practice for these good habits, and if things don't go as planned I don't fail but get to try again tomorrow.
Being fully aware of my tendency to be stopped and be drawn to the screens, the best methods for me to get a handle on wasting precious time is to develop a routine and set a timer. I need to set aside purposeful times for these activites. We no longer have cable television, but we maintained internet. Therefore, it is important for me to set aside a certain amount of time to check our budget program, email, facebook, blog etc. Beyond that specified time, I know I need to just turn it off to not be tempted by it. Same thing goes with the cell phone and other mobile devices. Use these devices when the work is done and when not in the presence of others. Time together should be spent with our full attentiveness.
It's remarkable how much is gained by simply unplugging. When we first moved in our current home we didn't have any services while waiting for them to be set up. It was such a peaceful time! I was able to get so much done in our home and in reading books on my list. I've back tracked a bit since then, but I'm working towards getting back to being more productive and purposeful with my time. What do we do when there isn't something to entertain us constantly? Below is a few that I've enjoyed:
*First, TALK to one another! It's alarming how little we interact with one another in person. I've been so inspired by the ideas of hospitality and deepening relationships thorugh opening doors of the home. Yet, it's surprisingly difficult to get people to accept an invite. Is it not sad that our friendships are stuck in the realm of text messages, facebook, or instant messages? I think so!
*Second, begin to exercise. I once was an avid tennis player, but since the days on the court in college my level of exercise has diminished drastically. I know that if I'm not wasting time, then I do have the time to get out and get active again.
*Third, grab a book! I've found such wonderful inspiration and encouragement in the words of others written in books. As Christians we are to seek wise counsel, and some of that is found in reading. We must admit to ourself that we don't innate know or can handle everything, and therefore we ought to be wise enough to seek the advice of other Christians.
*Fourth, clean that house. Hospitality is something that makes me so nervous because my house seems to remain such a mess. I'd be so embarrassed if someone came over. Again, when I don't waste my time then I can get those floors clean and laundry folded.
*Fifth, develop a craft or hobby. Do something that makes you personally come alive.
I could continue the count and ideas because there are so many possibilites. In all of them is the choice to give up something in order to gain something more that has true worth. It may sound crazy for me to choose to be out of the loop with television, cell phones, and other gadgets, but what I gain in family is an asset I cherish. :)