Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Read me through before you get upset......

Well..... here goes. Wasn't sure if I should post such a topic. You know, there are some things that should just remain silent, kept to ourselves.  It's a sensitive topic, one in which I've thought long and hard about. And one that I may need to remind myself of, if I happen to get addicted to it. I've got to be careful, or I could eat my own words.  Try as I might, I hope I don't fall into this dangerous habit that has afflicted millions world-wide.  I pray that my children will not get caught up in it when they are older, although I know that the influence of the media, friends and peer pressure will remain high, and could alter their decision making, and ability to lead productive lives.  Enter..... the SMART PHONE.  That darned piece of electronical technology that is driving me C R A Z Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And just in case you're wondering..... I certainly DO believe everything I just wrote in that previous paragraph.  And I worry for myself, that I might fall into the trap of this fast paced world in which we live, that has made us feel like we need to be updated on every little thing in a moment's notice, or faster, or that we can't wait for an answer to a question, but that we need to have it now or never.  

(Let me just say here and now, to all my friends and family who have smart phones.... I still love you, phone or no.  None of this is directed to any one person. Plus, I think very highly of you all, you're much 'smarter' than I am)

Okay, so it's obvious I'm not anti "new" technology, or "new" stuff. I'm on facebook, I have a blog. I do the books for my husband's electrical contracting company using sophisticated software on  a computer, and I DO have a cell phone, albeit a piece of junk that constantly dies, with the bare minimum internet access that makes it so not worth even using. However, I am glad I do have one, for emergencies, and that kind of thing.  I don't have a GPS in my car, but have many friends that say I should get one, that they really are awesome.  I'm not against that either, I just don't have one.  But is my life any less functionable without it? Without a Smart Phone? I still get by.  Just a decade ago, these things were either unheard of, or were in the baby steps of mortality.  And look where we are now?  Well, I can tell you where we are, most of us anyway.... WITH OUR HEADS DOWN STARING AT OUR PHONE.  (I know someone who sleeps with their Droid underneath their pillow every night....now tell me, if that isn't dedication, I don't know what is). (oh, and I should mention, it's NOT my husband).

I know that we are a very blessed generation to have such technology at our fingertips, LITERALLY.  It is an amazing thing to be able to scan a product at a store, with your phone, to see if it is sold elsewhere for cheaper. Wow, who would have thought?  Not me, certainly.  And I realize that the world we now live in demands us to be more accessible to our families because of the dangers of society.  It is very much a different world now, than it was when even I was a child.  I get all that, I do. I also want to state that I'm not saying Smart Phones are EVIL.  I know they are amazing devices used for much good. I know plenty of contractors, where it is an amazing tool to have to run their business, and what a blessing that is. It would be like saying computers are evil just because of the access of pornography, or that television, period, is corrupt, because of some pretty nasty shows that are out there. But there is this thing called the remote control and parent lock, and self discipline.  The benefits of the Smart Phone, the computer and television, far out way the cons. I am not against any of them. 

So what's my beef with the Smart Phone?  Well, like I said earlier, I realize I could very well fall into the love affair with these phones if I'm not careful myself. But I suppose that is when I should reflect and make sure I know my limits.

So here goes............... 

*  there was a time when the dinner table was for eating dinner as a family, and engaging in conversation with your loved ones, instead of listening to uninvited guests blaring out of that little black rectangle.

*  it used to be that when someone wanted to talk to you face to face, or was just trying to have a conversation with you, that you actually looked like you were listening while you were manipulating the phone.

*  it seems to me that if you have lived in your place of residence for years, and know all the restaurants on the back of your hand, that you could just figure out where to go without making everyone "shush" in the car while you spoke into your phone and asked "Restaurants in....." and waited for a response.

*  why do I need to get the GPS woman to speak to me on what the best route back to my home is, FROM a place I've traveled for years?  I'm pretty sure none of the roads have been demolished and new routes put in place.

Yes, yes, yes.... .these things are cool.  And I hear these particular phones come with a bazillion apps.  You name it, you can have it.  Cool, I suppose.  But not for everyone I guess.  I know someone in particular, that wonders why it's just simply not a big deal to me.  Will there be a time in our world when we will HAVE to be dependent on such devices to even just barely get along or make it in life? I certainly hope  not.  I understand that to a certain point, we need to be current on what is available and up to speed on everything that is offered, especially if we want to compete in the market place, to simply be able to progress with work, etc... etc.... I truly do get all that.  

But I am a child that grew up in the era of watching Little House On The Prairie every Monday night at 8 p.m.  Oh how I loved that series.  I think the reason I loved watching it, and still do to this day, is because it was a simple life. Not simple physically for them, but socially.  Life seemed much slower paced, content with what they had, and family was important, it was everything, as well as hard work.  I think they came with a lot more patience too.

I can hear some of you now, thinking that I'm insinuating that we are not family oriented, that we are not content with what we have.  Well, I'll be honest, I think that is true for many people in the world today.  I, myself, need to be reminded of the treasures that I have, to not take them for granted, and am always needing to learn to be content with what I have.  But what I HAVE noticed, is that something as small as a rectangular device that we hold in the palm of our hand can take too much attention away to what is staring at us in the face, and we'll only know who/what they are when we're looking UP.

p.s.  please forward this post to me if I become a smart phone geek :-)


  1. Hey Shelley, I really liked this. I think that technology CAN be a great tool, but like most "tools", carry inherent danger with them. Just like fire and water which we could not live without, in excess they are deadly or at least destructive. I think it's funny when my daughter (almost 17) asks to use my cell phone. She COULD use the home phone to call her friend, but is so much in the "texting" mind-set that CALLING seems alien to her. HUH? I knew girls who over-used the phone as teenagers and would get grounded from it. So all tools/technology can be harmful. I'm starting to notice that I don't feel like the day is complete unless I've checked facebook. And when I'm there it's so easy to lose precious hours. So many distractions plus so much to do....I feel like there is a conspiracy out there for every second of attention. So we need to be examples for our children in not banning all technology, but using it carefully, wisely....sparingly. A little bit can go a long way. By the way, a funny thing about GPS: I use my phone's feature for work because I visit numerous high schools on the days I am out on appointments. Even if I've been to the school before, I may need help getting there from a location I'm not as familiar with as before. So I really depend on it, it's nice not to have to be looking down at a map, and so forth. However, a few months ago, I was just south of Chicago and needed to turn onto a major road. My gut and common sense knew I needed to go south, but my GPS told me to go north. I had barely enough time to get to my appt at that time, so I really couldn't risk getting lost. So I listened to my phone, which works well for me 95% of the time. BIG mistake. The further north I went, the worse the neighborhoods became. I was scared. My phone had taken me to an empty lot in what was basically the slums. I knew that turning off the main road was a bad idea, things get worse off the beaten track. So I flipped a U-ie and prayed to find a safe place to stop so I could call the school for directions. I found a safe-looking grade school parking lot...called, got help, and high-tailed my way back the way that my gut had told me to. Long story short, it turned out to be my own fault for accidentally omitting a zero when I had punched in the address, but the consequences could have been deadly. I learned a lot from that experience, I'm sure you can too. "Smart" technology is not to be relied on more than our God-given smarts and instincts. I was late for that appointment, but you have no idea how very safe and lucky I felt sitting inside that Catholic boys school after that experience! I literally had to recover from the shock of that kind of stress.
    Well, sorry this is so long....I certainly had no idea that I would share that story when I started this comment! Hopefully, others can learn from my mistake. (I have also been able to apply it to my testimony...when we are lost and needing to be rescued, even when by our own mistakes and shortcomings, Christ and His church is there for us...if we just ask for help. We shouldn't be embarrassed to get help when we are lost/stuck in a bad situation.) As always, thanks for sharing your musings! You express yourself so well.

  2. Great post Shell. I remember when Lance was 18 months old; I took a picture of him with an old disposable camera because I had a few pics left on it and wanted to get it developed. And after I snapped the photo, he came over and grabbed the camera, turning it around to see the "picture" on the back of the camera. He was so confused about why the picture wasn't there. It occurred to me that my kids will never know a world without digital cameras and digital everything. Perhaps our ancestors lamented the same thing: that we would never know a world without automobiles and television.

    I have no issue with the smart phone in particular. And my GPS recently saved my kids and I when we were trapped during a flood in California a couple months ago at 3 a.m.. But the part in all this that bothers me is that our current generation of youth are growing up in a world of instant gratification. They are used to having everything NOW. Example: When we were growing up and there was a song we liked on that radio, we would take our tape recorders, patiently wait by the radio until the song came on, and then quickly push the play/record button (hoping the DJ wouldn't talk over the whole thing). Now when kids want a song, thy instantly download it to their iPod. Many of them feel entitled to have everything NOW. And the smart phone, ect only feeds into this.

    Yes, we can live without it. But I admit... it's nice to have around sometimes. Gotta find the blessings in it, and remind ourselves not to become too dependent.

  3. I loved your post- glad you decided to write about it. I have an older phone which they used to call a smart phone however I dont know if I would consider it "smart" compared to whats come out more recently. However I have never had internet on it and really don't desire to. I enjoy(yep that's right; i said it!) ignoring peoples calls during dinner (or any other meal): It gives me a sense of a freedom I still have. I will say that I enjoy it when Keo uses his smart phone to help us out. I dont really know how to work it and try really hard not to learn that way I dont desire one as well. What ya dont know- you cant wish for!