I feel myself coming to a breaking point about cell phones. I'm ready to gather them up from everyone and run over them with a tractor.
Now, don't get me wrong, I own one--not a tractor, a cell phone--and use it constantly throughout the day, which is even more reason for me to despise it. Our phones have become a part of us, so much so that we don't even act like we used to.
I used to live life just fine without a phone being on me at all times. I didn't carry a camera to capture every last moment, and yet I still remember my life in vivid color from my memories.
I text so much that I have to talk myself into making an actual phone call to people now because talking seems like a chore compared to a heartless, quick text I can hide behind.
For being connected nonstop, I feel I am utterly disconnected. I want to change this before I go any further down the robotic path I'm already treading on.
I look around even in nature where we should be unplugged and plugged into fresh air and each other, and I see parents staring into their phones while their kids play. I know I've done it, but it landed with me more to see it, enough to know I am not going to be that parent ever again.
Today I drove past an adorable old man sitting on his porch. Guess what else he was doing. Nothing. He was sitting and looking at the world and just being. As I looked at him, it occurred to me, I don't see people being still anymore. If we're still for a moment, we pull out our phone. We don't sit and breathe and look. We hate being bored and get itchy in our own skin, don't we?
We're setting up the next generation to one day be elderly folks on their porches who swipe on screens instead of looking up and saying hello to people, and it makes me sad. We're getting so absorbed into our screens, we're losing the ability to find beauty in ordinary life right before our eyes.
We crave constant entertainment, and that is one slippery slope. I've let my kids' restrictions go this summer in regard to screen time, and let me tell you, I've created some damn monsters. They used to be voracious readers, and now, of course, they reach for a screen instead because it's quicker gratification.
This attraction to screen time is a downward spiral into more bad habits, in my opinion. It leads to having less patience and wanting to receive passive entertainment instead of doing things that engage our brains more. When our kids have less patience, their work ethics are going to weaken because working towards something is a struggle when in so many other regards, life is quick at their fingertips. Having pride in work is boring when there are Tik Tok videos about celebrities picking their noses to watch instead.
The other day my 10-year-old son ordered something online and I lectured him about being careful about being so materialistic and impatient that he thinks he has to get his product right away. He said, "This time it's taking 2 days to get here. See how patient I am?"
My eyes widened, and I shook my head.
I've had talks with them about what addiction feels like and have been very blunt about how their screens are going to start stealing their focus, peace, social skills and intelligence. It's difficult to pull them away from something the whole world seems to be on board with, but I'm willing to fight against the current to get them back on track.
When they're on screens more, they are different people than they are when we sit around playing board games, garden together or listen to music. I will keep remembering this truth and challenge myself to stop taking the easy way out and giving in.
I don't want to look back on my life one day and see all the photos of great things we did or the posts I put on social media. I want to remember the time--the actual time together--with others, and when I'm on my screen too much, it dulls the edges of the actual world around me.
So today, I'm challenging myself and you to tuck it away. Turn it off. Look up and out, and see how lovely boredom can be. Are you in?