Another one of those morally neutral, potentially wonderful but often harmful cultural phenomena's I couldn't wait any longer to write about.
Some of you already stopped reading.
It's because you like your phone.
I get it.
You don't want to be told what to do, and I won't. I promise. If you're still there, I merely offer my viewpoint as a friend and fellow human-being who loves to connect with other human-beings. And the chances are, if you like your phone...then you're just like me. Just someone who likes to connect!
The difficult part of this whole cell phone thing, (and you know what I mean...the phone never leaving the hand epidemic going on these days) is that it takes you out of where you are, and to another place, with another person who isn't sitting or standing right next to you. That "other" person isn't bad, nor is it terrible to want to connect with them...but how does the person across from you feel when your cell phone, either by text or ring, automatically trump any conversation you were currently involved in with the flesh and blood sitting within feet of you at the moment?
Years ago (and yes, I know I sound old) cell phones were truly for emergencies. Somehow the world survived just fine going out to dinner or coffee without needing to be reached within seconds by anyone else with a phone, 24 hours a day. Now, it's different. It's somehow perfectly "acceptable" to detach from the people you are around, to scroll through FB or check e-mail mid-sentence even. I wish I was interrupted more by "emergency" phone calls...it would make me feel a whole lot better about the whole thing, but when you're in the middle of prayer with someone and the vibrations from their "silenced" phone keep cutting you off, I really think it's time to explore some "boundaries" for your technology addiction.
Let me make sure I'm honest here... I have a cell phone. I use my cell phone daily. I even check it throughout times of the day to see if someone has tried to reach me. But when I am in conversation with someone, my little friend does not need to be next to me on the table as a third presence in our party. It gets silenced, and goes in my bag. I want the person across from me to know that I value them. I'm here for THEM. Anyone else I love that may be trying to reach me, can wait until my time with my flesh-and-blood friend right across the table from me at that moment, is through.
Whew. I hope that wasn't too intense. Okay, maybe I do. I'm pretty passionate about people knowing how deeply loved and valued they are...about people having real connection with those around them...and while cell phones aren't wrong, I think they can make people feel like they just don't matter as much as the information, FB feed, email or text-er on the other end of the line.
John and I are going through a phase right now in our parenting, where we're trying to teach our kids not to interrupt us when we're in a conversation with someone else. They can touch our arm, we'll know they are there and have something to say, but we make every effort to finish the conversation we are in, before hearing from them. That will be a very hard lesson for them to learn, if the cultural norm continues to become one where a person will stop mid-sentence to check an alert on their phone.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt devalued recently, and I also know I'm not completely innocent in the matter at times either, but if we make effort to value the people we're around, I know we can avoid interactions like the one this video so poignantly captured...(thanks to my brother for posting it...I haven't laughed this loud in a loooong time!)