Monday, June 30, 2014

In or Out?

Compare life to just ten years ago. Yes, we had cell phones, but they weren't 
quite the seeming necessity they are now. It's not just cell phones that are
our constant companions, there are any number of "devices" one might
consider their life line to the outside world. 

Now go back twenty or even thirty years (if you haven't been alive that long,
use your imagination), how things have changed, for the better in many ways,
but not in others. The advancement of technology, while beneficial has brought 
new concerns to parenting. 

When I was a kid, we had no gaming devices, were allowed one hour of 
TV per day, and were ordered outside daily. The backyard became another
world, and our imaginations went wild. Household chores weren't even
safe from being exactly what they were. I can't remember all the details
(although I'm sure my younger sister would), but for example, one would
be Cinderella toiling away, the other an evil step sister demanding 

It's all too easy to "plug in," to a device, whether a game or some form of 
social media, and escape reality for a while. It's seems to me, however,
that too many may be plugged in too often and too long. And although
one may envision a younger individual with a device seemingly surgically
attached, I fear it spans all age groups. 

Now please don't misunderstand. Social media sites and games aren't 
by any means evil, but they do tend to be addicting. I noticed this in 
myself a while back, I had to check Twitter multiple times per day. My
day started with checking Facebook to be sure I hadn't missed anything.
While social media are a great resource and way to stay connected to 
friends and family near and far, my caution is that they are not the only  
connection. Let's be sure to have conversations whether on the phone
or face to face, to have play time with our kids, to go on dates with our
spouses (no phones/devices allowed). I'm talking about face time, eye 
to eye, heart to heart, connecting to those closest to us. Yes, I'm speaking
to myself as well. 

I challenge myself and you. If we must "plug in," let's plug into our 
families. If we must escape, let's escape into our backyard and get lost 
in a big bug safari. Let's remember the wisdom of our parents, banishing 
us to the backyard. Let's be aware of those around us and take the time 
to make a difference in their lives. Let's not just be, but be present
investing ourselves in our loved ones. Are you in, or are you out? 

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