As we were headed out the door, I yelled out to my girls, "Ready ladies?"
"Okay, let's roll."
Disappointed, long faces headed out the door. Why? Because I said, "No devices"? Simply ridiculous. Albeit, we had an enjoyable car ride talking, laughing, and singing along to songs on the radio. However, some changes have been made with regard to device usage; the whole exchange set off an internal alarm within me.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but if we are not careful with how we use it, our ability as human beings to establish and cultivate healthy, mutually satisfying relationships, practice self-expression and emoting, as well as walk in love, compassion, and empathy will be lost.
As parents, grandparents, foster parents, God-parents, caregivers, etc. it is our responsibility to train our children up (Proverbs 22:6). It is prudent for us to model the art of engaging with our youth, who are very technologically savvy, but very often disengaged socially. Communication is a skill that involves eye contact, active listening, and responding appropriately. It cannot be learned through a machine. It's learned through interaction. Adults teach children through modeling and demonstration. Have you ever observed a toddler fully engaged in conversation on a toy phone? Or, perhaps caring for her doll baby? She is mimicking what she has seen.
We live harried lives, but a gentle reminder to take time to engage and check in with the young people in your life. It's a vital necessity; we need to know and be aware of what is going on in their minds and hearts. Conversely, our young people need to know that we are present, we are available and accessible, we are attentive, and we care about what they care about.
As the 2016/2017 school year is upon us, I pray you will make time each day to shut down (the devices) and tune in (to the hearts of your children).