We were at Steak & Shake one day during Spring Break. As we sat down and started looking over the menu, I caught a glimpse of a father and teenage daughter sitting at a table across the restaurant. They were sitting at a 4-seater, diagonally from each other. Not straight across from each other. They gave each other space.
I kept watching them quietly. He was talking on his phone and she was playing on hers. After a few minutes he hung up… and she put her phone down, looking up hopefully. But before long, he was back on his phone again, texting, emailing, or maybe scrolling Facebook. I watched her face as she sat there, waiting for him to stop being busy and pay attention to her. She looked so sad.
Finally, the sweet girl gave up and dropped her head. She picked up her phone and the two of them engaged in connection with others in cyber world. They missed an opportunity to connect with each other.
It’s easy to do, isn’t it? Conversation stops for a minute and we grab the phone and proceed to scroll Facebook, seeing the same posts over and over again. Mindlessly existing. Maybe we check an email or text a friend. We fill the time with superficiality instead of having meaningful conversation with the real flesh and blood that is right. in. front. of. us.
Friends, whatever is on that phone is less important than what is right in front of us.
It’s time for us to recognize how far we’ve fallen as a society. We replace conversation over coffee with text messaging. We hide behind our text/computer devices, where we can more confidently confront without being face-to-face, and we are becoming more and more insecure and judgmental everyday.
But real life is lived in flesh and blood… it’s not lived by sitting at a screen in some false reality where we have tons of twitter and Facebook “friends.”
Here’s a Monday challenge for you… This week, whenever you have family/friends time, put the phone completely away. There is nothing so important that it can’t wait until after you spend time with the people in your life who are yours. The ones who will be there and love you even when it feels like the rest of the world has decided you’re not good enough for them.
Make a commitment. Today. Every day this week, as soon as you sit down to the dinner table or as soon as you leave the house to go on a family outing, put that phone away and don’t get it back out until your family time is over. It’s a small challenge to start… see how much it improves your family interactions.
And see how much more joy you have in your heart.