Jim’s eyes kept roaming from my face to something in the distance. Before your mind goes to the wrong place, here’s what my husband was looking at.
A woman sat at the table with her two sons and what could have been her father. None of them were talking to each other. That’s what had caught Jim’s eyes.
He watched them for quite a while before he looked at me and said, “You should write about this.”
The older man looked dejected. The two boys looked dull and bored. The woman never looked up from her cell phone, not even when the food arrived and the others began to eat.
We take these things everywhere
Cell phones are not going anywhere. In fact, they are going everywhere. This is not an article about the evils those small, electronic devices are bringing to our lives. This article is about using them to do great things instead.
- You and your kids can keep up with one another, anywhere in the world, because of your cell phone.
- You and your kids are more connected to the world’s information because someone invented your cell phone.
- Yes, there is a ton of “junk” on our phones, but there is a lot more on our phones that is not.
- There is a LOT of ministry that happens every day because we have cell phones.
Are you reading this on yours?
Use it well
If cell phones are here to stay, how can we use them as a benefit to our families and friends?
You know you can get apps, downloads, articles, podcasts, etc. that are for your good. All of us who work at ChristianParenting.org try to provide those things for you. But, that isn’t what I want to talk about this time.
If I could sit down with that woman today, this is what I would tell her:
- You will miss your dad one day. You will wish for a lunch where you could touch his hand, hear his stories, and see him smile. You will ache for the chance to hear his voice or his laughter one more time.
- Your kids will own a cell phone in just a few years. You are teaching them, right now, how to use it.
- You will miss your kids one day. They will grow up, get busy, and have lives of their own. You will wish for a lunch where you can touch their hands, hear their voices, and see them smile. You will ache for the chance to hear their voices and their laughter.
Those words are not to make anyone feel guilty about using their cell phones. They are written to help you use it for a higher purpose.
A higher calling (pun intended)
What if that mom had looked away from her phone, put it away, and grabbed her dad’s hand?
- Her kids would have learned that parents are important people in our lives and worthy of our attention.
- Her kids could have been included in a conversation that might bless their lives as a memory of their grandfather.
- Her kids would have experienced love at the table instead of boredom.
What if that mom had looked away from her phone and focused on those boys?
- Her kids would have known they were more important than a website.
- Her kids would have known their mom was choosing time with them above anything else.
- Her kids would have known she loved her dad and cherished spending time with him.
- Her kids could have been included in an important conversation.
Cell phones aren’t going away unless you make them. They can be a distraction and a diversion, or they can send an important message to your family.
Use your phones:
- To say, “I think you matter more.”
- To show people that you are more interested in them than other interests.
Your kids know you love your phone, need your phone, want your phone, feel lost without your phone. Put it away on occasion. When you do, you will say all of that to them and about them.
Don’t take my word on this. God’s is much better:
- “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
- “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32).
- “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17–18).
We love our phones. We need our phones. We are keeping our phones. We ought to use our phones to tell the people around us that we love them and value them.
You’ve got that opportunity—every time you hear your phone buzz or ring. Use your phone to send some great messages. The people around you will be happy to receive those!