My son went back to school a couple of weeks ago, starting the second grade. Parents are supposed to drop off their kids at the door; they are not allowed to come in the classroom. Apparently, some parents were taking the start of school a bit hard and broke the rule, coming in to make sure their kid was settled or to get one last hug or kiss. The second graders, at least the boys, got together and decided there needed to be a punishment for parents breaking the rule. I said, “Great, did you come up with one?” His immediate response was, “Yes, we take away their iPhone.”
I laughed… at first. Then I started to realize how accurately these 7 and 8-year-olds understood what was actually important to their parents. I heard a man talking on NPR recently, and he said, “I think we will see a huge drop in cell phone use in the next generation, because it is a sign of the abandonment they experienced in childhood.” You see it all the time. We have made a big deal out of the group of junior high boys walking together all on their phones texting someone else. Heck, sometimes they texting each other! But we have failed to mention the parents who are on their phone while the family is at dinner. The husband and wife who are together at home or in the car, and both are on their own phones. The fact that we fill every spare moment with checking the news, or email, or facebook or twitter.
If you think this isn’t you, try to make a note every time you get on your phone. And notice how long you’re on it. Maybe find someone that will hold you accountable. A person that will notice when you’re on the phone. If you’re really brave, tell your kids you don’t want to be on the phone as much, or at certain times. I promise they won’t fail to mention that you’re checking your phone at dinner… again.
It makes me wonder what we used to do with that time. I think we might have listened. I think we might have slowed down to think about things. I think we might have noticed what was going on around us. What’s going to add more to your day – slowing down to soak in the beauty of God’s creation OR checking the 140 character updates that have updated since you checked it last? Do you need to know a breaking piece of news or notice that your kid is growing up and soon probably won’t want to talk to you because they’ll be on their own phone? I wonder what God did with us when we had time to listen to Him.