How many times have you been having a conversation with someone, friend, spouse or family and just in the middle of a sentence (theirs or yours) they avert their eyes to their iPod, blackberry, laptop, phone or some other electronic device?
I tell you, it’s the killer of a conversation. Non-verbally, the person who looks away, is telling you, this electronic device is more important than you, or what you are saying. Talk about advancement of technology invading our person to person relationships!
Now, I’ve got a cell phone, a laptop, an iPod. We own a TV, with a remote. I use many of the advancements of technology to make life easier, more manageable, organized and efficient. However, when is the use of these tech items truly ruining the relationships that we have worked so hard for?
How many times do we send an email instead of making a phone call? How often do we update our social networking page, instead of having a BBQ with all our friends? How many times do we hope we get someone’s voicemail instead of the real person on the other end?
It certainly helps us stay detached from each other, and that makes things easier for us. But at what expense? It’s one of those questions like WWJD? Unfortunately Jesus never spoke from the boat on the proper etiquette on texting or emailing. But we do know one thing – these are all material things that are meant for the expansion of His Kingdom, as all material things are meant for, and to be treated as such.
Let’s imagine for a moment, our children and the fact that they learn what they see. Should Mom and Dad be rarely lifting their eyes from their monitor or Iphone, what message does this send to the kid trying to show them a recent accomplishment from school? What does it tell them? With no words, we are telling them, this is more important. I value what I am looking at.
And what do you think they will do when they are teenagers and own this electronic equipment themselves. When, as a parents, you are trying to talk with them, reach out to them, they will also avert their eyes to what’s in their hand.
How valuable eye to eye communication truly is! They say the eyes are the windows to the soul? In a way I get that. You see their intention, their voice inflection, their understanding, and compassion and really love. You see a person’s love when you meet eye to eye. There is a connection. There is a commonality, it unites us as humans. Understanding and compromise can be found, because we all share in the human experience.
So, personally, I am starting a trend. When having a conversation with someone, I let the phone ring. I shut off my iPod. I pause the show. It’s about respecting the dignity of the other person. And now, if the shoe is on the other foot and someone else looks at the iPod, glances at the phone, or is being distracted by these seemingly helpful electronic things, I simply stop talking. And I wait. I refuse to be in a competition with a machine. Unfortunately I don’t offer the varied apps that most toys entertain with. I don’t have Tetris at the touch of a button.
What I can offer may not seem as interesting, but is infinitely more valuable. I can offer respect, friendship and love, just by using my eyes. It’s a gift. What we look at, is a gift. If I choose you, I just gave you the gift of my attention, my time, essentially my love.
Copyright 2010 Sahmatwork