A Slave to Your Phone…
My work schedule had prevented me from taking my youngest daughter to her weekly dance class for several weeks. She had been giving me updates and showing me all of the new segments that had been added to their recital routine, but I still hadn’t been there. A conference for my wife, and a shift in my schedule provided the opportunity to take her to class this past week.
We both shared excitement about this opportunity. As we arrived, she joined her class while my oldest daughter and I took a seat to watch through a window. As they warmed up, I took a few minutes to send a few text messages about a meeting the next day. When I finished, they were still warming up and hadn’t gotten to practicing the recital routine, so I took out my phone again.
After another ten minutes or so on my phone, I noticed they had transitioned to practicing the recital routine. I put my phone away and watched through the window. Within seconds, I caught her first peek. My daughter had flashed her eyes toward the window to see if I was watching. When our eyes met, she smiled, and I made some goofy face that almost made her laugh. This would not be the last time I caught her peeking to see if I was watching. After the second or third look, it hit me...what if she had looked and I was head down staring at my phone? How would that have affected her? As I pondered this question, I wondered if she had looked while I was on my phone during the early portion of her class.
I still don’t know if she looked early in the class. But I can tell you based on the positive reaction she had when she realized I was watching, that had I been looking down at my phone instead of watching my daughter dance, she would have been crushed.
Class ended and when she came out, big sister and I spent time telling her how great she had danced, and how excited we were for the recital. She was beaming! All it took to make my daughter feel valued and beautiful and loved was watching. That’s not hard.
As we drove away, I was struck by how foolish it is to allow a little device in my pocket to make a difficult task out of something so simple and meaningful. When presented with the option directly, I dare say no one would choose to look at their phone instead of encourage and build up their child. However, within the normal rhythm of life, this is the exact choice we make on a far too frequent basis.
I know phones have value. Technology has value. But men, we have GOT to go to war against allowing these things to become our masters. These devices are intended to serve us, and far too often the master becomes the slave, and we find ourselves bowing to every buzz and beep and ring that comes from our pocket.
It’s not worth it. That email, that text, and certainly that social media feed can wait! Be present. Be engaged. Be intentional with the real-life people and situations that are all around you. Your wife will thank you. Your family will thank you. Your friends will thank you. And you’ll be a better man because of it.
How about you? What steps or “guardrails” have you put in place to prevent you from becoming “enslaved” to your phone?
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In the arena with you,