Put It Down

This past weekend, got a chance to connect with some closet friends and had a great time with them. And while the iPad did make a solid appearance, and had its own space to be part of the show; the benefit of things was the fact that I was able to put the devices down.

Mobile devices are indeed something well entrenched into the fabric of many of our social moments. There’s calling people, sending pictures and messages, checking in to social networks, and even getting information about things going on around you. In some respects, mobile can play as that extended appendage.

And then there’s that other side of it where mobile is a distraction. You know, you are in that big quiet room and then someone’s mobile goes off. Or, you are in that family gathering and just the appearance of a mobile during that time sends the conversation and eyes of those around you into a sour place. Mobile is an extension, but in some places, that muscle better not be stretched so far.

The latter aspect of mobile was noted to me this weekend by a teenager. She likes her mobile, she likes what mobile can do. But she expressed how her parent’s use of mobile sometimes makes her feel as if she doesn’t count. I can remember being told similar by frinds when I’ve been too attached to my mobile and so it made me stand up and take notice. I started looking at how the parents used their mobile and it was definitely a mirror moment.

What was the reflection? Mobile is a solitary experience. There’s no amount of social networking that can take away from the feeling that others around you get when you dive into that small screen and take care of whatever it is that you want to deal with – but isolates you from those who desire/need you attention.

What causes us to go into that space and not even realize that others are being left out of our lives? The spiritual answer is pride, but I’d rather stay away from that for the moment. I’d like to ask about the perception of the user. When you are using your mobile, do you have any recognition of people around you? Do you pay attention to those times you are diving into your mobile where others are invested into your attention or time?

I know several project mangers who have spoken at length about this and it was simply hard for them to recognize initially. They were focused on a task that reached over into another place and time, and lost focus on the right-now. Many times, when they got back to that place of recognition, they realized all the time they left from loved ones. All the time they missed getting things done because they simply wanted to answer a notification and got lost soon after.

The solution is simple. Pay more attention to your surroundings and make the decision to put your device down. Just put it down and pay attention to your family, the fresh air, your congregation, your business… to God. Fathelessness can also happen when you are sitting right beside your daughter, more entrenched into Twitter than you are into them. Hope this blesses you.