He enters the living room and sits on the couch. Phone out and in a constant exchange with friends and girlfriend. We talk about a few things, but he isn’t really listening.
“What was that,” he asks?
“Nothing,” I say.
Twenty minutes later he gets up because he has to go.
While good to see him, I think I would have rather sat in the room by myself than to be ignored.
Fading Quality Time
We’re all sitting in the living room together. Each person has their phone within 6 inches of their right hand… if they’re not already holding it.
A buzz. A chirp. A ding. A ring.
Always interrupting our thoughts, our conversations, our time.
That damn phone gets 10x the quality time with its owner – always getting priority attention over the others in the room.
“Just a second.”
Probably the most popular phrase I hear many nights when we gather as a family. Something buzzed and demands our immediate attention.
“Just a second” means, “hold on, this other person that texted me is more important.”
We all watch a show together while they simultaneously watch their personal screens.
Oh what a great memory we have created as a family here tonight.
While good to see everyone, I would have rather sat in my chair and enjoyed a good book than to be deemed of no great concern.
I Recognize My Part
My stock continues to decline and it feels like I’ve lost another eighth as interest seems to be less and less compelling.
A couple people that were a part of my former business life, John and Nadya Melton, said, “Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”
I recognize that all this is probably my problem. I am not the person I used to be and do not do enough to make people want to have some QT when we are together — rather than want that special quality time with their phone.
- What we value gets the lion’s share of the attention.
- We have created a culture, an environment in our homes, where we devalue and disrespect our time together.
I have quickly come to absolutely hate my phone. There is no greater thief of the things that are most important than our “smart” phones. It has become a life where we mutually sacrificing the very best times of our lives.
Essentially, the definition of the word “sacrifice” is to give up something of greater value to receive something of lesser value.
And we are definitely settling for something of lesser value.
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I recognize my part. I’m on this blog after all…
I guess I’m getting old.
I’m just tired of settling for less.
Hmmmph… After I typed these thoughts out, I took a drive, and reflected on what I had typed.
Once again I realize I am the problem. Others around me who seem to be preoccupied with their telephonic connections are just doing what they’re doing because that is what has been modeled.
- I had my head buried on my 5 inch screen playing Clash of Clans for the last several years and other phone games.
- I failed too many times to make those I am face-to-face with my priority.
- I didn’t give the attention that I now wonder why I don’t receive.
A lot changed this last summer when I was hospitalized with the coronavirus. So many things became unimportant. So many things became a renewed priority.
It has taken some time to sort out and verbalize the things I have felt since then.
But once again, change will begin with me.
It begins with an apology. As Allie Colleen sings, “Forgiveness ain’t some line you cross. It’s a road you take.”
And maybe one action step to take – no phones allowed in the living room when we are gathering together as a family.
Huh… not a bad idea!