“Wow!” the instructor exulted to her 8-year-old trainee.
The student’s big brown eyes flashed with excitement. She was 4 feet 3 inches tall, her gymnast leotards were lavender with a silver sash running diagonally across her body, and she beamed as she properly completed her first somersault. Quickly, smiling with pride, she looked upward to the gallery to see if her mother had seen her “first of a kind” accomplishment. But the sudden change in her expression screamed disappointment. Her mom, who was sitting next to me, had her head down, engrossed in the latest email or text message on her iPhone. No eye contact. No sharing. No memory.
The instructor grabbed her charge’s attention quickly with a “That was fabulous!” But nothing could wipe away the loss in that child’s face of missing the opportunity to make a memory with Mom. She wanted her mother’s eyes to gleam with joy, so that after the session they could together revel in the shared experience.
That event caused me to look at the other parents in the gallery. Sadly, four out of five had their heads down in smartphones, or iPads, or in a few cases computers. No one looked up. Nobody talked. They were busy, busy, busy. The father two chairs to my right was engrossed in a game of solitaire on his iPad. He saw nothing of the evening but the aces, kings, and queens that passed by on his screen. I watched the initial mother and daughter duo until the end, as Mom quickly whisked her charge into a winter coat, and they rushed out to the car in the rain without a word.
Have we all lost our minds and perspective?
I say “we” purposefully, because it is not hard for me to get totally focused on a work task and miss the most important relational opportunities God has given me, right in front of my face.
How about you?
Do you control your smartphone, iPad, and computer, or do they control you?
Must you read every text as soon as it arrives? Do you have to respond to it now?
Have you ever considered the emotional feelings these devices may give you? Importance? Being wanted or needed? Busy? Purposeful? Informed?
Can you be rude in a conversation group, choosing to answer a text while ignoring friends sitting in the same room trying to talk to you?
The gymnastics incident caused me to rethink how these great new technologies intersect with my life, my relationships, my priorities, and my ability to make lasting memories with those I love most.
I hope it does the same for you. Don’t miss the opportunities God gives you to make lasting memories with those closest to you.