It Must Be Love…
My son could play Dinosaur Hunter without blinking for years, until one day he finds his long, white beard is covering the screen and realizes that he’s very hungry. Whereas, my daughter will probably need casts for her rapid-fire texting thumbs by the time she graduates. And we’re considering iphones? Even my husband comes home from working at a computer all day just to wait in line for one of their ipods. What’s the deal? I still like Pong and Mario, so I probably wouldn’t understand.
I suppose I shouldn’t cast stones since I spend my free time messing around with photos on the computer and watching wifi netflix late into the night (lately it’s XFiles.) I really can get the addictive nature of apps. But there’s a time and place for everything, and I’m afraid my family can easily lose perspective on exactly what and when that is.
Everyone falls into it easily enough, but too much of the ADD/game/phone/facebook/tv/music thing just makes me and the kids more cross with each other. My father -in -law once told me about a book called “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” I haven’t read it, but it was just ominous enough a title to get wedged in my sub-conscious. As I walk through the house and see various people I love hunched over their screens like in the images below, I hear it in my head: amusing ourselves to death. Let’s face it, it’s the perfect little anesthesia for keeping us from thinking outside of ourselves to the people around us, and what God has for us to do that day. It also keeps us from evaluating ourselves. I’m talking to myself here, too.
So, we have a few ground rules- like no electronics at the table, no texting during conversations, and a limit of 30 minutes of video games a day after homework, chores, and rooms are clean. There are also screen free days. Then, I try to lure the kids outside for a phone free walk, bike ride, or something done together without electronics- even if it’s just cooking supper . Things they would never choose to do, but will probably be grateful for later when their brains aren’t as fried and their attention spans aren’t completely shot.
But, this stuff is repeatedly challenged and really has to be enforced. Guess who gets to be the enforcer?
Sigh. Why must mothers be the voice of reason? The proverbial brake pedal to the rest of the family’s gas? Everyone knows that “Voice of Reason” is really just another way of saying “The Bad Guy.”
One day your children will remember how you tried to show them the world beyond their flickering screens, and will appreciate you. I have to admit though, that your post resonated with me. I think I am addicted to my iPhone. I have to stop myself from checking email during lulls in the church service. I check it repeatedly while out to dinner with my husband. I even hate that I'm doing it but I can't stop. I agree with you that these sorts of things are total distractions from God's voice, God's plans for us. The devil is the master at deception and distraction. Lord, help us all.
Very true, Gail. Once in a while I find myself in a rare moment of quiet and non-activity and a thought will come to me that changes how I look at someone or my life, and I think, "How much more of this could I have if I just turned stuff off?"