September 18, 2019 • Vicky Rodgers, Director of Early Learning Academy
I will be the first to admit…I am attached to my smartphone. My smartphone is the alarm that starts my day and it is the last thing I check at bedtime to be sure it is charged and ready for the next day. I text frequently throughout the day for work and for pleasure. My email is readily available at my fingertips. My camera is always ready to capture a special event or FaceTime a friend. Pinterest, Facebook, and Spider Solitaire are a few of the many apps loaded on my phone. If I forget my smartphone at home or can’t find where I have placed it, I panic as if I am missing my right arm. Yes, I always use technology and have a device with me. Technology permeates our daily lives. We live in a world consumed by technology. It makes life easier and helps us to be more connected to the world around us. However, have you ever considered how something so necessary and useful is monopolizing our time? Are we so connected to technology that we never really “unplug” and live in the moments God has given us to enjoy?
As a Christian school educator, wife, and mother I have seen the progression of technology and especially the impact of the smartphone. It has become a central focus in the lives of many people. It has impacted all generations. It is something that even the smallest child knows how to operate with a swipe of their tiny finger. Both young and old are no stranger to the smartphone and all are equally consumed with this technology. The frequent use of the smartphone has impacted the level of socialization in our society. Parents use smartphones to occupy a child while waiting for an appointment instead of talking with their child or reading a book together. Teenagers sit beside one another engrossed in their phones with an occasional sharing of what’s on their individual screens. Each is in their own world, unaware of the others around them. Families waiting for food to be served at a restaurant are each engrossed in their personal devices rather than talking and sharing things about their day with one another. Our society is consumed with technology and disengaged with the world around them. When we have an extra minute what do we do? Most of us reach for our smartphone first before engaging the world around us. Then, if time allows, we might engage the people around us. I must confess…I am guilty.
Time is very precious, and every single minute vies for our attention. A smartphone can certainly help us to manage that time more efficiently but if we aren’t careful, it can captivate us before we are aware of how much time it has consumed. People and places take a backseat to the technology that is so readily at our fingertips.
Next week is fall break…a whole week with no school routine, no homework, and extra time with our children. My challenge to you as well as to myself is to prayerfully consider how we can truly “unplug” from the smartphones and the technology that consume us. Be intentional and “reconnect” with your child and those people, young and old, that God has placed around you. Be good stewards of the time you have together. We are not promised tomorrow. Live in the moment, choose to be present, and enjoy the precious gift of time with those we love.
Unplug and reconnect!
Vicky Rodgers is ELCA’s Director of the Early Learning Academy. She has been at ELCA since 2000. Originally from Glenwood, Iowa, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Music and a Reading Endorsement from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Vicky married David Rodgers in 1987, and they are the proud parents of Collin and Shelby, who are both graduates of ELCA.