I know it’s easy for me to bury my head in the digital sand. If something more interesting hasn’t captured my attention my phone is lit up in my hand. What am I looking for?
This question goes beyond the surface of what app I’m using at that moment. My phone is a useful tool but it can also be an obstacle for living. A hammer is great for pounding nails and many other things, but if I never put the hammer down I’m bound to break something even if by accident.
What technology makes possible is quite remarkable. But with all that I’m getting, what am I missing?
Sure I can browse status updates of hundreds of people I know from a distance. I can watch thousands of videos that can educate, entertain, or motivate me. I can find the answer to almost any question I could ever possibly want to ask. I can play games to pass the time. I can read the news instantaneously from almost any source and with any bias I’m so inclined to hear. I can check the weather. I can avoid awkward silence, distract myself from my work, or even use my phone as a flashlight. This and thousands of other things I can do.
But what did I miss? For me it sometimes includes the funny expressions my kids make when they tell me stories. The chance to really hear how my wife’s day was. The play fight my son just tried to start with me. The beauty of a sunny afternoon. The frustration of my youngest son when I’m not watching his heroic acts in the living room. The minutes that washed away as I checked my email again and again before my kids went to bed. The joy of being present with my family.
I’m not getting rid of my phone because it’s an incredible resource. But it’s just that, a resource, unless I let it become more. I want to be more intentional about setting it down or keeping it in my pocket. I also want to be more intentional about when I pick it up. I don’t want to default to my phone when I can’t think of what else I will do. I don’t always want to be on my phone while I’m standing in line at a store, playing with my kids at the park, or walking down the hall at work.
Yes, I want to use my phone to it’s fullest potential, but I don’t want my phone to use me.
What are you getting and what are you missing?