I still have a telephone with one of those long curly cords. But it seems I’m in the minority. Cords are out. Wireless, mobile technology is in. Just ask the 52% of American households who no longer have a landline telephone. By relying solely on their cell phones, they’ve declared themselves free of restrictive cords.
But are they really free?
Wherever I go, I see people tethered to their cell phones. Of course, calling it a phone is outdated—telephone calls are just one way people use their smartphones these days. Email, surfing the web, texting, and playing games are a few more tasks the phone can perform. When we add features such as an e-reader, stopwatch, barcode reader, flashlight, and alarm clock, I wonder…are we really free or have we exchanged one tether for another?
I’ve seen couples out to dinner, sitting at the same table, each riveted to the technology in their hand. I’ve watched moms at a softball game, presumably there to watch their children, while their thumbs fly across a miniature keyboard as they connect with someone miles away. And I’ve been guilty of checking emails in the car while my husband is driving, instead of using the time to engage in meaningful conversation.
Why is it so difficult for us to live in the moment? Missionary Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
Imagine what it would mean to the children around us if we gave them our full attention, mentally and emotionally, while we are with them physically. At the very least, we’d be communicating their importance to us. When the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul to exhort us to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), I wonder if He looked down the centuries to a time when our most significant relationships would be with technology instead of the people we love?