A year or so ago, Sam was home on break and sitting with me on the sofa. We were chatting about everything that was new in his world, and I was delighting in our conversation, but found myself increasingly frustrated with his continued texting as we were talking. I’m sure I said something, but he continued to do it. (He knows that I think texting has pretty much interfered with normal human relations across the planet.)
Later, at the dinner table, he continued to text and he continued to read every text that came in. Setting down his fork every minute to answer someone’s (probably mindless) comments was really grating on my nerves. I said to him, “Why do you think it is necessary to be attached to this telephone? What is so important in life that cannot wait for 20 minutes until we are done eating?”
He answered, “I need to be accessible to my friends.”
In the spirit of Heathcliff Huxtable commenting on one of his son Theo’s legendary illogical schools of thought, I said to my son, “That is about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Even if someone died, would anything change if you didn’t know about it for 15 more minutes?”
The phone was put down for the duration of the meal and Mom’s Dinner Table Rule #2 went into immediate effect. (We’ve gotten by with only 1 dinner rule in 20 years.)
That evening I sat down with Sam and talked to him about being “fully present” when he is with someone. We talked about the importance of being earnestly tuned in to another person in every human interaction, professional and personal, and that it makes one seem juvenile, rude and disrespectful when he/she cannot refrain from texting or talking on a cell phone when in the company of others. He completely and totally “got it” and I have to say that ever since, we have not had a cell phone claim center stage of any conversation, game, or meal. Sam is now the one in any group of his peers that is talking to everyone while the rest are eyes-down on their little phone screens, half-listening to the conversation around them.
I’ve had to swallow my own advice the past couple weeks during my devotional time. Not because of a phone, but because of my brain which lately has gone overboard with streams-of-consciousness. I open my Bible and get a good 10 minutes of study in, then find myself thinking about my grocery list or the pictures I just ordered to go into the scrapbook. I go back to my study and prayer time and get another good 10 minutes in, and then I remember that I forgot to empty the dehumidifier downstairs and run and do it. I might get sidetracked downstairs in the laundry room and then I get back to my time with the Lord. Lately my brain is firing on too many cylinders.
This happens every fall when we move home. It seems like I have so many things to re-organize or repair or catch up with that I have a hard time focusing. I know this is temporary. It always is. But it is no different to God than if I was texting during my prayer time. Talk about a slap in the face to the One who loves me more than any other and wants my undivided attention and worship every day.
Bottom line: I need to be better at being FULLY PRESENT with my Creator and Savior. I need to corral my thoughts when they wander astray and not let myself lose my focus of Him.
Today I was remembering that talk I had with Sam and knew that the memory was to help me as well. I guess there are few object lessons that we teach our kids that we ourselves cannot benefit from as well.