Is it even possible to spend uninterrupted family time together anymore? Or, do we want to? With all of the push notifications and social media distractions calling out to us is it possible to unplug and engage face to face for even a few minutes?
Some Recent Research:
Highlights Magazine conducted a survey in 2014 called the "State of the Kids Survey," which found that "62 percent of kids think parents are too distracted to listen.”
A 2014 study published in Pediatrics observed that 40 out of 55 caregivers used their mobile device during meals at fast food restaurants and 16 used the device almost continuously. (1)
Even if we can silence the “technoference” in our lives our brains seem to still be engaged or at least hungry for the next pic or post. How do we turn it off, even if for a few minutes?
Like most things in life, it starts with a choice. Here are three choices I need to make before I can unplug and engage my family in a healthy way on a daily basis.
1. I Need To Stop Interrupting Myself
I need to stop interrupting myself so I can spend uninterrupted time with my family. If my heart, soul, and mind continue to spin or go through “technowithdrawal” while trying to engage with my family then I need to start from my heart and extend outward. A calm heart and wise mind is a healthy place to bring our outward situation to our inward condition, not the other way around.
2. I Need To Put It Down or Put It Away
Yes, I get it, smartphones and tablets are here to stay. I’m not against technology, heck, I am for it! And, I have it all! The iPhone, iPad, computer, yes, yes and yes. What I am asking here is are you open to putting the technology down or putting it away after a certain time? I have found that I need to put my technology down and away in order to unplug and engage.
3. I Need To Be All In And All There
Allness is about having a singleness of heart. Bringing all the parts to one whole. “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Mark 12:30-31a NLT. Four times in this passage the word “all” is used. Sounds like quite a bit of multitasking. doesn’t it?
Actually, the opposite is true. The word for “all” and “your” are from the words ”ek” and “holos” which means, “From out of the center, all parts are present.” We must love God from out of the center of our being and with all our capacities fully present, without distraction. AND, we are to love our neighbor, family, spouse, children as we love ourselves. The problem is our desire to connect globally has caused us to disconnect locally.
Is it possible that wherever we are, to be all there? Yes! I believe it is possible but not without a certain efforting on our part. An effort to willingly unplug and willfully engage in a face to face connection with those in our lives who are most important to us.
Photo Credit: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash