Yup. I’m guilty of it all the time. This post may sound hypocritical, but it’s not. I’m trying to get better at it every day. I hear my wife say it at least once every night. Put the phone down. Participate in the current activities happening around you and look at your phone later. It might even make you feel better and energize your life.
Last night I met some new people by going to a “Guys Group” bible study and the topic of today’s technology affecting your everyday life came up. One of the guys brought up that he’s recently joined Facebook again but feels like he was born in the wrong time period since he’s not excited about the technology that affects people’s lives today. Another guy said he’s recently started a new ‘rule’ for when he gets home from work – put the phone on the shelf by his keys and look at it later, after supper or after the kids are in bed.
The conversation led to some great points, some of which I’ve heard and others that made me think differently about getting lost in technology at home. I try not to be on my phone as much while Thad is still awake, and I fail quite frequently. The kicker is that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m picking up the phone! The previous idea of a place to put phones until a designated time isn’t new to me, but it’s something we might start implementing in our house ASAP.
Sometimes the phone and apps and emails, etc., can be very engaging, but for the most part, while scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, it’s a dead brain activity. We’re not always stimulating ourselves, we’re not always learning anything important. Mostly, we’re zoning out, maybe relaxing after a day of work. But while doing that, we’re not present in the moments of life going on around us. We’re being passive in our lives and not adding much meaning to them. Seriously, in 1, 5, 10 years, will you look back and think, “Man, I wish I would have spent more time doing…?” I know the same could be said for a lot of other activities. It’s tough and cliché, but start doing the things that matter, and the things you want to remember, today.
This thought carries more weight when you think about the time it takes away from your marriage, not just your kids or other life activities. (Sorry, if you’re not at this stage in your life, just think about being out with friends and looking at your phone the whole time and not even talking to them. It’s kind of the same thing.) It was brought up that some couples implemented a no phones in the bedroom policy. The reasoning behind it is that quite often, after the craziness of getting home from work, making supper and feeding the kids, and then playing with the kids and getting them ready for bed, couples don’t have much time to talk to one another until they are getting ready for bed themselves or lying in bed before going to sleep.
Think about that. If you’re married, do you go through your night without actually having a deeper conversation with your spouse other than necessary communication to get through the evening? I know Melissa and I had deeper conversations all the time in the evenings before we had Thad. We still have those conversations and quite often they happen while we’re in bed before we go to sleep. We’re just not as busy at that time of day.
These conversations about things other than just what needs to be done around the house to get through the day can keep you more connected to one another. Putting the phone down to have active conversations instead of passive scrolling on social media can make you feel more engaged in life. Besides, what you see online isn’t always real life. It’s actually amazing how NOT like real life it can be. But that’s a topic for another day.
If you’re reading this on your phone right now and putting off playing with your kids or talking with your spouse or friends – I’m sorry. Put your phone down. Or take one last scroll through Facebook, then put your phone down.
Again, I fail at this on a daily basis. It’s hard to make a conscious effort to be present in life after having the habit of being attached to a smartphone. At least I write the majority of these blog posts after Thad goes to bed. Makes me feel a little bit better, but I’ve got plenty of room for improvement.