Tuning Out so You Can Tune In

14 May

Last week, I came across a link to an article entitled “How to Miss a Childhood“. The writer, very persuasively painted a picture of the dangers of being too plugged in to our devices, namely the phone, at the expense of relating to people who are most precious to us, namely our children. I think her points can relate to any device and any relationship. For me, the article provoked more thought on a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot about lately. I’ve noticed my tendency to always want to have something to look at, to read, to listen to, to be entertained by. In any moment of calm, whether I’m riding an escalator, paused at a stoplight (yes, I know it is not legal to be on your phone while driving and this is not something I’m proud of!), or just sitting with family members at the dinner table, I will pull out my phone and look at something. Anything. Twitter, Facebook, quick email check, a perusal of a few sites I regularly read, and then whatever I can find to pass a few moments. Why do I do this? I don’t know. I am still not entirely clear as to what I think I’ll find when I tune out of what’s going on around me. Whatever it is, it has often left me feeling that I am wasting precious moments. The idea that we are bored and therefore need to find amusement at any moment of the day when there’s a lull or break from some activity, is a misleading thought. Rather than use phones, computers, the internet, or TV as momentary and controlled activities that have minimal impact on our time, I find that if I’m honest with myself, they often consume my time!

This thought about how much we’re all tuned in has been hitting me much more over the past few weeks. I’ve noticed how bad I am at conversation. I find that rather than being truly interested in what people are doing and saying, I’m easily distracted. I think I can attribute that to the training I’ve been giving myself in finding quick, easy-to-access information and distractions. What will happen to us if we continue to let ourselves become consumed with our technology? Will we loose out on building important relationships in exchange for meaningless time consumers? Will we forfeit time that we could be using to do things that are more helpful, and more productive? Will we be setting an example to our children and to those around us that what is most important is not people but stuff?

These are just some questions I’ve thought about and want to address, not avoid. We can each assess our own habits and practices and ask the Lord to help us see if there are any ways that we’ve neglected those around us. And we can make choices to not allow our phones, TVs, and internet to consume our time. Just a challenge- would you consider along with me going on a fast from some sort of media? Maybe it’ll just be a day without Twitter, or a week without Facebook, or mealtime without the cell phone, but whatever it is, we can pray that instead of letting the things in our life rule our time, we can resolve to withdraw from them and tune in to what’s going on with the PEOPLE we care about. I know that for jobs and family communication, it’s impossible to completely let go of all our connections, but this is just a suggestion to get you thinking about ways that you use your time. I’m looking forward to getting away from some things and being free from that overwhelming pull to always be in touch with what’s happening outside the home. Instead, it’s time to start making sure I’m tuned in to what’s happening here. Do you agree that we’re all too “plugged in”? I’d love to hear some thoughts, maybe personal experiences of ways that you’ve lost out on opportunities because of things like cell phones or TV, and even stories of successes in drawing away. Feel free to share in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: