Ladies and gentlemen, please step away from your mobile devices.
I have to stop right here at the very beginning (a very good place to stop…?) and say I have been guilty of this too many times to count. So, lest I sound like a hypocrite and total jerk, I’m first preaching to myself. But this seems to be a great segue from my first 30 Before 30 post.
2. Put that iPhone in Airplane Mode.
Put your phone away and have real, genuine, personal interactions.
Life on life, y’all.
(There are exceptions to this, of course. FaceTime is a blessing to many who live or work far away. Again, technology is a valuable resource. It’s just abused too frequently to ignore this reminder. Starting with myself here….)
Technology has proven to be a major blessing in so many ways. And don’t get me wrong, smartphones make our lives easier and can even improve our relationships. However, they ought never to take the place of real human communication.
I wrote a post a long ways back about this subject with an interesting twist on a dinner game. Here’s an excerpt (and hopefully a gentle prod to not only be social, but also be the friend your friends need and want):
A millennial acquaintance of mine told me she and her friends would play a game during social outings. It revolutionized their friendship-building skills and crushed the stereotype of my generation. I’m sure it has an official name somewhere on the interwebs, but I think it could easily be called the Cell Phone Stacking Game.
Participants remove their pesky, anti-social devices and place them on the dinner table, forming a technology tower. No one may touch his or her phone, check social media accounts, or answer texts or phone calls. The first person to break this rule must pay for every person’s check.
What if we all made natural, non-creepy, compassionate, genuinely caring eye contact with the people we know and love. And what if we dared to take it a step further and even do the same with total strangers? (Did you know one brave, resolution-driven Instagrammer did this very thing? Watch the clip below.)
Say hello. Honestly inquire about people’s day and go beyond the typical “I’m good.” (1. No one is good but God; and, 2. That’s such an escapist answer. Even if life is progressing swimmingly, that’s not a reason to blow past developing a friendship.)
Show you actually care by being an active listener. Maintain eye contact. Already have your phone silenced or on vibrate. Ask questions to improve your listening skills. Ignore distractions.
Again, be the friend you need and want. Set the example. Would you want someone constantly ignoring you because their phone is more important than the words flowing from your mouth? Might as well talk to the hand or a brick wall.
The Bible talks an awful lot about love. God is love. He first loved us. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Oh, and love your neighbor as yourself. AND love your enemies! (1 John 4:8, 19; John 15:13; 1 Peter 2:17; Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 5:43-48)
There’s so much more to the love subject. I had no idea this was where my post would go, but it shows that something as simple and small as a glowing electronic touch-screen gateway to your brain and soul can impact so much more than a calendar invitation, email, or a GIF-and-emoji-laced text message. Lives are at stake here. Be an ambassador for peace, hope, and love.
Pack that smartphone away when people are near. It’s like Bilbo Baggins’ sword, it glows blue when souls are close. That phone will be there when you’re free to roam about the cabin; your friend (or that total stranger), however, might not.
Be real. Be human. Love your neighbor.