“But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by the sins of deceitfulness”Hebrews 3:13
My mind drifts back to halcyon days of summer as a younger man and a father of three young children. I would arrive home and the children would be playing outside in the early summer warmth. They would play the games that seemed to be immune to the passing years such as Hop Scotch, Jump Rope, Tag, Hide and Seek and the other joyful games that they would invent with their friends and play until Mom would call them in for dinner. Hi, Dad they would shout as I waved at them as I parked the car. “Don’t go too far, dinner will soon be ready”, I would remind them. “Ok, just 5 more minutes,” they would reply.
As dinner was being put out ready to be served, they would rush in, wash their hands, and join my wife and me at the table to eat our evening meal. They would spend time talking about their day at school and all the exciting things they had been involved in. Looking back, this was the natural and traditional way time was spent with our children and family members. Family meals were always eaten at the dining table and it was an opportunity to “catch-up” on what was happening in each other’s lives.
My children are now all grown and have children of their own so the following observation is what I see around me in restaurants, family gatherings, church gatherings, birthday parties and wherever people gather to be together.
Today’s lifestyles seem to be very different from family gatherings of the past. This is due, in my opinion to the massive onslaught of technology into every aspect of our waking hour.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is an important part of today’s life, as long as we control technology and it doesn’t control us. Unfortunately, it seems to me that we are being controlled by that which we should be controlling.
Christian Lous Lange said “technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” There are many examples of where we are ‘slaves’ to technology and it overtakes our Family time, our social interactions, television, social media, streaming movies, gaming, computers, the list goes on, but the BIGGEST scourge to social interaction, in my opinion, is the ‘The Smart Phone.’
Yes, I can hear many of you saying, ‘What’s he talking about? I love my phone, I would be lost without my phone, I need my phone next to me at all times, how would I know what’s going on without my phone…”
Well, we use to say the very same thing about our family and our family time together, that we would be lost without it. The difference was that when we met for gatherings and somebody talked to you, it made you feel as though they cared about you and what was happening in your life and the lives of those around you.
Today’s gatherings and interactions are all secondary to the phone. What is being said today, without words, when people meet is, ‘my smart phone is more important to me than my relationship with you’ if by any chance I receive a Text, a notification from social media, an alert that I’ve received and email, a Facebook notification, or even the remote chance I receive a call, I’m going to stop my interaction with you and attend to my beloved smart phone, even if that means looking at my phone while you are still talking to me. You cannot go into any situation today without there being the smart phone as the center of attention. I was once told the story by a friend who was about to leave a restaurant and he saw a family of four all with their heads bowed in prayer, ‘how great is that to see’ he thought to himself, it wasn’t until he turned to leave when he saw they weren’t praying at all, they all had their heads bowed using their smart phones!
Another very serious aspect of this Technology and the younger generation is the evil that can and does permeate the Internet and whether we invite it into our lives or not rest assured it is being seen by YOUR child. The ease of access to pure garbage is unheard of, people used to have to seek this stuff out, now they don’t have to invite it to their lives it invites itself. As parents we need to use discernment on how we limit what our children see and the amount of time they have with technology. Somebody said to me in response to my view on this issue, if the parents raise their children correctly, the children will not be subjected to this evil as they will not seek it out. When the Devil knocks, you don’t always hear it right? He’d rather sneak in an open door. He’s the destroyer and the accuser who will do anything to cover up God’s love and truth.
Technology has a purpose and a place in today’s age, it can be used for good, and it can connect us and help spread God’s work. Let’s get back to God designed Family Values, family meal time at the dining table, family interaction, talking, praying together, put away those smartphones and show the person you are with that THEY are the most important thing in your life at that moment.
Guest Discerning Dad