Sociable, Not Social

I once had the opportunity to take a river tour along a short stretch of the Colorado River. A recorded voice gave highlights of the history and geography of the area as well as stories about the nearby town. Two small children looked out the windows while their parents buried their noses in their cell phones. 

I felt sorry for them – what a missed chance to talk with each other, admire the beautiful scenery along the river and spend time together as a family. When did our mobile phones become more important than the people we love? We can’t really blame technology and we certainly can’t stop its progress, but it seems we do need to take steps to keep it from taking over our lives. 

It used to be easy to get away from electronic intrusions, but now it takes a concerted and purposeful effort to shut out the distractions. It’s not easy. One company made a series of advertisements showing what happens to a family when the Internet goes out. After seven minutes, the daughter plays piano (badly) while the others cringe. After ten minutes they find a restaurant in the phone book but there’s no review. The dad says he can’t eat there if he doesn’t know what people think. Other ads show them going crazy, trying desperately to get online, even spying on the neighbor’s computers. 

Some of us remember when the Internet didn’t exist. What did we do? How did we entertain ourselves? How did we survive? Well, we read books and newspapers, played board games and took walks. We looked at the sunsets and the stars. We even talked to each other! The art of conversation seems to be going the way of churning butter – no one does it anymore and some don’t even know how. 

Perhaps we need to reconsider our relationship with our devices and return to being sociable rather than just social. God, who created us for relationship with himself and others, meant for those relationships to be face-to-face, not face-to-screen. Let’s remind ourselves and our children to use technology, not let it use us. Let’s all work on having more face-to-face, eye-to-eye time and put the gadgets in their place – useful tools when we need them, but out of sight when a real, live human being might need us more.

Author: ttkach

Writer, cyclist, paper-crafter, mom, gardener.

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