A couple waits hours for a table at their favorite restaurant. Their romantic dinner is finished before it even starts as his phone rings, and the rest of the evening is ruined by an hour of important business talk, not crucial, but more important than enjoying an hour of interrupted fellowship and food with his beloved.
A mom tells her 3 year old that it’s a perfect day to go to the park. Her daughter squeals with excitement as she runs to her favorite park amusement–the swings. The joyful squeals of anticipation quickly turn to frustrated and angry crying, as mom ignores her pleas for a push on the swing, too busy texting a girlfriend.
A family rents a dvd, pops some corn, then gathers around the tv for Friday movie night after a long week of work and school. The movie barely begins when a teen boy begins texting his buddies, dad reads the paper on his ipad, mom blogs, and little sister plays Angry Birds.
Many more examples could be cited addressing the ways in which we have allowed media to infiltrate and dominate our live, face-to-face conversations and interactions. Sadly, I’ve fallen prey too often (my husband’s warnings ringing loudly in my ears), instinctively answering the phone, reading or responding to a text, and not giving full attention to the live bodies in front of me. It happens with all forms of media–tv, telephone, computer, ipad, ipod, smartphone, smartwatch, radio, mp3s and all the rest.
So here’s my public confession and vow to do better. Here are some ways I plan to not allow media become hazardous to my relationships. Maybe you can benefit from some of these as well.
Electronic Media Etiquette
Lots of websites offer tips on proper electronic media etiquette. What seems to be consistent among them all is:
- live conversations ALWAYS take precedence over electronic media
- be discreet and don’t disrupt others
- don’t talk/text/play/read and drive
With all the warnings about discussions, distractions and driving, it may make sense to communicate with family and friends the old-fashioned way–the good, old telephone. And, if you really want to bear your heart and soul to a friend, how about-dare I say it?-write them a letter…on paper…with a pen…then put a stamp on it and mail it! There’s something to be said about the days of old.
There are a myriad of ways we can stay connected with family and friends in this technological age, most of them huge blessings from the Lord that have broadened our ability to reach the nations with the gospel of Christ. But with all these advances, there’s nothing like the old paths. God’s Word addresses our need for fellowship and togetherness. He shows us how to stay fully engaged with Him and with one another. Consider some of these ancient ways of staying connected in an already overly plugged in society.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is….Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV)