Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Not-So-Social, Social-Media

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
Colossians 4:5,6
(KJV)


During one of Kevin's recent business trips in which Zach and I had tagged along, I sat across the breakfast table from my dear, hard-working husband.  He works all night long, and he works hard.  I have never seen a harder working man.  His job is nearly all-consuming.  It requires more of him than he would rather give, not just during the 10-12 hours he works every weeknight, but during his every waking hour throughout the day.  He constantly feels the need to stay on top of the hundreds of emails he gets every, single day, and the ever-changing environment of the IT field creates a continual feeling of pressure to keep up and stay current.  While it is extremely stressful, such is his current situation, and no one rises to the occasion more devotedly than him.  As we talked over our plates of scrambled eggs, sausage, and fruit, my eyes drifted from his tired face to the high-end hotel dining room scenario around us.  I sat there for I don't know how long observing people, as I slowly sipped from a steaming mug of freshly-brewed decaf coffee, honey, and cream.  I tried, completely unsuccessfully, to connect with someone...anyone.  I so wanted to strike up a conversation with the lady who seated herself at the table closest to ours...to exchange smiles with the guy seated across the table from his female, business-clad companion...to delve beyond obligatory small talk with the server, so attentive to our needs.  There was one point, I thought for sure an opening for conversation had presented itself when a man seated not far from us accidentally let go of his fork, and it went flailing through the air, landing with a clang near to the spot where Kevin was seated across from me.
No such luck.
The woman seated across from the man got up from her seat, walked toward us, bent over, and retrieved the unintentionally-hurled fork, without so much as the slightest glace in our direction.

One thing about it.  I am my Dad's daughter.  Dad never, ever, ever met a stranger.  He loved to talk to people.  He loved people...period.  He could strike up a conversation with nearly anyone.  I find myself with that same deep-embedded need.  I like being friendly, and I love getting to know new people.  There is just something special to me about connecting with another human being and knowing that we are all a component of the same grand design, crafted by a loving Creator, who wants us all to be a part of each other's lives.

After several minutes of seeing that there wasn't a soul in that busy dining room who cared to smile or chat, I looked at my dear, exhausted husband who had just worked all night and was finishing up the last bites on his plate before heading upstairs to sleep, and I said, "Look over to your right...against the wall."  On the side of the dining room tables was a long wall lined with a wall-facing counter and stools.  In front of each stool, there was a TV.  Each person seated at the counter was eating side by side, together, but completely alone.  There was no conversation.  No interaction.  No socialization.  Just solitary eating while caught up in their own, little, private world, incessantly tapping  and scrolling on their phones.  Kevin and I sat there and talked about how sad this was....how "anti-social" our world has become.  How is this?  Isn't this the age of "social media"?  Aren't communication possibilities and potentialities at an all-time high?

I'll be honest.  I have never seen such an unfriendly environment.  People don't talk to each other anymore.  As we take our daily walks at home, I often comment how much I long to connect with others.  I try my utmost to lock eyes with another human being, but, way too often, I find it near-impossible.  Even while walking, they look down, eyes fixed on little, electronic, hand held devices.  I find that they seem to prefer to tap words to someone not present, than to speak with someone who is.  That they would rather ignore the one standing in front of them and retreat into a place of oblivion and solitude.  I find that the younger generation, for the most part, does not know how to hold a live conversation.  Believe me, I have tried.  I get so frustrated, as I speak to a teenager, only to receive no response.  None.  Not a word...not a nod...no reaction.  It is as if I haven't spoken a word to them or they haven't heard me.  They don't talk.  They don't even seem to try to be friendly.  They are entirely absorbed in what feels like another universe.  I'll try to give them the benefit of the doubt by thinking maybe it is not their intention, but their refusal to live in the reality of what is live and touchable and audible around them makes them come across as very rude.

This is a different world from my growing up years.  If someone spoke to me, I spoke back, or I knew there would be repercussions later.  Mom and Dad taught me to love others...to be kind...to never ignore anyone.  Ever.  It didn't matter who it was.  To speak when spoken to.  To speak in a sweet tone.  Retorts weren't allowed.  Eye rolls were forbidden.  The first signs of rebellion were quickly corrected before they grew into bigger ones.  I did not get by with being unfriendly.  And, I am GLAD I didn't.  I am thankful for Mom and Dad and for the way they instilled common sense and good old-fashioned gumption into the fabric of who I am.

Whatever happened to common courtesy?  Have we all become so "social media" driven that we no longer know how to be social?  Again, at the risk of ruffling feathers and offending those of a different mindset, I'll be honest.  I hate am not the biggest fan of social media.  Oh, I know the arguments.  I know it boosts blog pageviews, and it connects people in ways that nothing else ever has.  I get it.  I am not totally naive.  I also know it has great potential to encourage and to uplift and edify.  But, more often than not, I hear of how it does just the opposite, and regardless how much good it is capable of bringing about, I hate can't bring myself to like it just the same.  Because I hate what it has done to us, as humans.  How it is robbing us of our ability to interact when we come face to face.  How it is distracting us from real life.  How it constantly pulls us from what is in front of us.  How we are obsessed by it.  How we can't pass by our phones without stopping to see if we got a text or a facebook like or a tweet.  How we are utterly drunk on gossip and knowing everyone else's online business.  How we are addicted to the competition and highs of having the most "friends" or "followers".  I just hate seeing what it has done to us.

Whatever happened to kids being kids?  To toddlers sitting in the floor playing with blocks?  To girls jumping rope and boys reading Hardy Boys and teenagers playing board games?  To families sitting around the dinner table actually looking each other in the eye and talking about their day?  To parents listening to their children talk without holding a smart phone in their hand, grazing for their latest post "share" or the most recent scoop of other people's goings on?
Since when did keeping up with everyone else trump giving our children the gift of undivided attention?

I miss the old, pre-cellphone distraction days.  I just do.  I miss talking to strangers and watching how God turns them into new friends.  I avoid cellphones.  I still have one, old trusty Tracfone, that I carry in my purse, in case of an emergency.  Kevin has a nice smart phone that his work provides for him for business, and he pays a small fee so that all 3 of us can use it for personal purposes, too.  I doubt we get our money's worth, even though it is minimal.  We use it to text a loved one, now and then, when a phone call is not convenient, we use it for directions when driving, and, in moderation, we allow Zach to play games on it.  Call me an old fogey or fuddy-duddy, but we have never allowed him to own a cellphone.  And, do you know what?  He doesn't want one.  He lives in the moment because this is how we do life in our home.  I don't ever want him to miss out on life.  He has never even asked for a phone, and he is completely content without one.  May he ever feel this way, because it is very important to me that he seizes every moment God gives.  That he looks people in the eye.  That he responds when spoken to, and that he responds in kindness, respect, and true concern for the feelings of the human being who is taking the time and effort to speak to him.  That he feels and experiences the gift of life, firsthand, not through reading about it on social media.

I hate the robotic way of life that has come to be accepted as normal.  I don't know how it could ever change, at this point, but I'll tell you one thing.  I refuse to be a part of it.  I will not permit myself to live like an unfeeling robot, never speaking to anyone around me, never smiling, never trying to connect.  During our walks, after seeing me ignored as if I am invisible for the umpteenth time, Zach sometimes comments, "Mama, I don't know why you keep trying to do that.  I don't know why you have to keep saying hello and smiling, when they won't even look at you."  Call me a goofball, or the last one to lose hope.  Or maybe I am a glutton for punishment...that could be it.  Or perhaps I am just silly and old-fashioned to think that being nice still matters.  Regardless, I will keep trying to be social...face-to-face social, not filtered through "media".

I blog because I want to share what God places on my heart and provide a willing vessel for Him to use.  I like Pinterest because it is just plain fun to me.  For the most part, it isn't a platform to bash other people or say mean and disparaging things.  It isn't a gossip-mill, and even though I suppose you could argue that it can be self-promoting, I just love seeing new ideas and finding inspiration that will help me be a better wife, mother, homemaker, homeschool Mom, and Christian.  Pinterest is a "luxury" I allow myself to indulge in, but only occasionally, and only, in moderation.  I am not obsessed with it, and even though you are more than welcome to "follow" me, I won't feel a bit differently towards you if you choose not to.  I love getting emails, because it is sort of like receiving an old-fashioned letter in the mail, which I still love, by the way, and it keeps me in touch with so many friends and loved ones.  But, I refuse to allow this blog, Pinterest, or email to keep me from living life in "real time".

Life is a gift.  Oh, my, is it ever a gift!  It is to be lived and breathed and cherished...to the full.  Having lost both parents and many other loved ones through the years, I have come face to face with the starkness of my own mortality.  I am not going to be here forever.  Even though I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that when I leave this world, I am going to a better place to live with my dear, precious Lord for eternity, still, knowing that I will not always be on this earth to make a positive difference makes me sad.  However much time I have left, be it long or short, and I do hope with all my heart it is long, I want to make the most of every, single second.  I don't want to waste the time God entrusts to me.  I love the quote by Etienne de Grellet, a Quaker missionary, "I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

As I pass people on the street or in hotels or in restaurants or wherever, I want to make their day better just because we crossed paths. I want to leave them happier, if at all possible. I want to impart kindness into their day, regardless how hatefully I may be treated in return. I want to smile and leave a drop of joy with them, no matter how weird they think I am. One of the amazing, unexpected joys of getting older is this...I really don't care how they look at me or how I am perceived. Because it has become very evident to me that one day I will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, and I will give an account of the deeds done in this body. My record will be there for His all-seeing eyes to behold, and I want Him to say, "Well done, my child. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." I want Him to see that I have been a good and faithful steward and been completely present and ever in the moment...in the precious marriage He has blessed me to be a part of, in the life of the precious child He has given Kevin and me to raise and nurture and bring up in His admonition, in the time He has given me on this earth. I don't want to blow this. It is the utmost desire of my heart to be faithful to the One who created me and who so graciously grants me life and breath.

Okay, so now that you have patiently tolerated and read to the very end of my "anti-social media" rant, may I present to you a challenge?  Whether you share my position on refraining from social media or if you are its biggest fan, I challenge you to live life in the now.  Be present.  Be aware of the intersections and Divinely-orchestrated interventions in your day.  Know that God places us in each situation to make a difference...for the better.  Take the time to really look at people...especially your family and loved ones...especially the ones who live under the same roof with you.  They are the most important people in your life.  They matter.  Remember this...just like your place will one day be vacant on this earth, so will theirs.  Who knows who will go first?  They deserve your respect, your genuine love, and, yes, your truly undivided attention.  Drop the cellphone for a day and make it a point to have a heart-to-heart talk with your child.  Really, truly listen to what is weighing on their mind.  They will forever thank you.  Take a fast from Facebook and stare at your spouse's face instead.  Intentionally look into their eyes until you uncover what is really going on with them.  Your marriage is worth it.  Give yourself a break from tweeting, step outside, and listen to the tweeting of birds.  Give Instagram a breather, so you can breathe and take in the moments happening in front of you, instead of feeling compelled to photograph every, single one of them to share online.

Live in the abundance that Jesus came to give.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10
"The thief" comes in a plethora of new channels and ways and inventions in this generation.
Think about it.
What is stealing your time away from what, and more importantly, who, matters most?
What is killing the joy of interaction with your loved ones?
What is destroying the relationships that are most dear to your heart and life?
What and who are you socially neglecting due to continually feeding off and into social media?
There is no "auto-correct" in real life.
It is going to take an intentional, determined effort to make adjustments and align our priorities and direct our attention to where it most needs to be.
Be social...show love...be all in...wherever you are today.
Those who matter most are worth whatever it takes.

I love and appreciate each one of you dear readers and hope you are enjoying this beautiful CHRISTMAS season!!
Speaking of CHRISTMAS,
would you like to see the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice List" of retailers for 2016?
Click HERE to see which retailers do and do not promote and celebrate Christmas.
I hope you choose to patronize the ones who do!

44 comments:

  1. Wow ... so much to comment on in this post.

    It's true social media has made us less friendly and open to each other. But this is because in this modern day and age everyone wants to be a celebrity; so they go on social media and post photos of themselves, and write inane things about themselves in order to get as many friends and followers as possible. I know someone who has 4000 "followers". That's more people than I have met in my whole life.

    People like to have the power of "be-friending" and "un-friending" people on their websites. I once "un-friended" myself because I did not like something I wrote. This meant I was blocked from connecting to my own site. I could not follow myself any longer.

    I've tried your suggestion of giving up social media for a while. For few days, I walked the streets, or on the bus or train, and every so often I made an inane comment in a loud voice about myself. I said things like: "I've bought a tube of toothpaste today!" "My dog did a poo in the garden!" "I'd love a pizza right now!"

    Pretty soon I had three followers ... they were all wearing white coats and had butterfly nets!!!

    I hate having so many e-mails at work. All wanting instant responses. But I've found a solution. I copy the e-mails to all and sundry. Personnel Department, Finance Office, Marketing, Sales, Advertising and so on, asking their views on the matter. This buys me some time whilst they all take the e-mails seriously and contribute their views.

    So there you have it. Social media can be a blessing and a curse. And for all those who "follow" me - beware. Half the time I don't know where I'm going. I go upstairs to the bathroom and then realise I live in a bungalow!!!

    God bless.

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    1. Oh, Victor! You always, always make me smile! Thank you for brightening my day so many times. God bless you, my friend. ;)

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  2. Oh, I couldn't agree with you more, dear Cheryl! What you said here is SO true and terribly sad! You know, one of the (many) reasons I made the conscious decision to delete my Facebook account was for this very reason... I wasn't fully present in my home and family...I was too busy looking at what other people were up to...or what they were ticking off their list! I have also found having limited internet to be a blessing as I can't just spend time online! I found such freedom in being off this form of Social Media and have more time to devote to that which truly matters to me...and is worthwhile! My home, my family...my blog and the precious friends I have made online and encourage me in my walk with the Lord! Thank you for this good reminder to be fully present and not somewhere in cyber space! :)
    With much love and joy to you this beautiful day...may the Lord shower you with many blessings! Thank you for being faithful to encourage and build others up!
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. Dear, sweet friend! Oh, I do appreciate your precious words and the wisdom you have learned at such a young age! I am SO proud of you for the stand you take for Jesus and to be present in the lives of those you love the most. I am so very thankful for you and your presence in my life. May God bless you abundantly...sending you much love and many blessings!

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  3. Oh, sweet friend, I know what you mean. I have continually notice when I am eating out the almost every table is looking at their cell phones rather than conversing with the people they are with. People sit at bus stops with their phones positioned directly in front of them. If someone has to wait in line at the store the phone comes out. It's so sad and I truly believe our society is losing the ability to converse face-to-face with people. I don't have a cell phone {my own personal choice} because I'm afraid it would be too easy to always pull it out to check me email or other things online. Indeed, be social! {{smiles}}

    And I had to smile when you said you are like you father and have never met a stranger. You sound just like my Grandpa and mom...they are the very same way :) That's why I love you so...you are like family, dear Cheryl.

    Happy day to you! Hugs!

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    1. Dear Stephanie! I love you so dearly, too. You and your sweet Mom are just so precious and are surely like family to me, too. Thank you for your dear comments here, my dear friend! May God bless you with a wonderful, peace-filled day!!

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  4. Good Morning Cheryl.
    Another well thought out post. I am much like you. I like to say hello and meet everyone I come in contact with. Sometimes to the embarrassment of my children. My husband jokes that I know the checkout person at the grocery store's life history when I leave. I think it's important to let people know you care. But that seems to be changing now. Just yesterday I was walking my exercise "lap" at the mall. As I looked around every. Single. Person I passed was looking down at their cell phones. I couldn't find one person to look in the eye and smile at.

    Don't get me wrong. I love technology. It keeps us in touch with our three children who live far away. I've made wonderful "real" friends through my blog. I love answers and information at my fingertips, but not at the expense of real people.

    And big cities seem even worse. Have you ever been on a subway or train. All eyes down, looking at cell phones. So sad. I'm glad you're teaching your son the think of people and feelings first.

    Have a blessed Christmas my friend.

    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, Betsy! I think you and I would get along just great! It made me so sad to think of how you walked around the mall and could connect with no one...it is a very sad time when the human touch is becoming so pushed aside in favor of electronics. I know what you mean...technology is wonderful in may ways, and it does a lot of good. I just hate the bad it is bringing into our lives. Sending you much love and many wishes for a blessed Christmas, too!

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  5. I enjoyed this because it has been become very real in my life recently since I deleted my Facebook account. It actually has been kinda freeing that everytime I look on my iPad my eye did catch the Facebook icon with a small number on it. When I deleted it, I didn't realize how I pushed it because I go that direction everytime I turn my iPad on. Kinda sad. But one thing I noticed is now I need to be more intentional about finding a news website to follow because otherwise I will be lost on what is actually going on in our world. Facebook was my news sources. Besides being anti social it I guess made me lazy. Lol so it a little sad to think about it. But thanks for the awesome post and insight. I love your point of view!

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    1. Dear friend, I loved hearing your views and experiences. It is very sad to think of what our world is coming to. I totally get it about the news and looking for a reliable source. We get Newsmax email updates delivered to our inbox. We have found them to be very reliable and accurate, and if anything major is happening that we need to know, they cover it. We skim the email headlines, and if we care to read an article, we click on it and read it. Just wanted to let you know in case you have never heard of them. They lean conservative, too, which is very important to me...they sometimes have Franklin Graham interviews, so that will shed light on how they lean. Thank you for your sweet visit. I am praying for you and hoping you are feeling well. :)

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  6. Hello Cheryl...
    A "first responder" here on your blog site! I am always blessed by your uplifting and enlightening posts.

    I am a mom of two adult children and grandma to two little guys. Of course, everyone is on facebook and most everyone also do instagram. All my siblings and their spouses and kids have been sharing on facebook for years. Though I am "tech-savvy" I never did want to do facebook. I miss out on so much news and most especially pics of everyone. My family says things like, "Well, if you were on facebook, you would know..." but I stood my ground (ha) and do not participate. I signed up so that when someone tells me I must see a pic, I go in quickly and duck back out as fast as I can! (you have to engage/disengage account) Now that I am hearing a lot of my friends are deleting facebook I can't help feel a little relieved knowing that something within me kinda pre-knew that all the "women going from house to house" would produce some cultural shift. I have about 10 blogs of godly and encouraging women that I just love to "visit," and pinning pics as we plan our new home is truly delightful, but that is about the extent of my "social media."

    I mostly wanted to pop in to tell you about a book I just saw at my Christian bookstore and I just checked that it is also available through Amazon (kindle too). It is by Craig Groeschel and is entitled #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World.It was very thoroughly based on scriptures that deal with subjects such as comparisons, "likes", idolatry, distraction, self-control, etc. I encourage your readers to check it out!

    I am grateful for your godly example and the ministry you have teaching the younger
    and older *-D women the things of God and kingdom living and eternal life!

    A Joyous Christmas season to you and yours,
    Lori

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Lori! It is always such a dear blessing to me to interact with readers here! I was so encouraged by your words and to meet a new follower. :) I never did want to do facebook, either....oh, my, I have been pressured many times to conform and go ahead and give in to it, but I just never have felt comfortable with certain elements, so have refrained. I am glad I did. I realize there are many who love it and only use it for good. We all have to do what God shows us to do on a personal level. That is the only path to peace. I have never heard of that book, but it sure sounds like a good one. Thank you for sharing it here, and thank you ever so much for your kind words. They meant so much! God bless you with a wonderful Christmas!!

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  7. I've been with this pattern of efficiency since its beginning. Back in the early eighties my cell phone was in my truck. So when I wasn't in it and the horn started honking it was a mad dash to the truck! That was the beginning of being trapped in efficiency.

    Everybody knows what that has morphed into. The difference for me is that I'm tied to my phone during reasonable business hours. When it's time to be done with work I put my phone away, unless I'm expecting a call from family. The last thing I want is to be preoccupied when it's my time to be with my family or just my time alone.

    I will admit that I'm one of those people that got my daughters all cell phones, but that was for them to be able to talk to us, to me in case of emergency. But they're not like a lot of the newer generation. They were taught, I think, by example that it is for convenience and efficiency, not to replace looking someone in the eye when they shake their hand.

    It's like everything else; moderation, but not many of us are really good at that.

    Okay, I'm going to stretch things a bit. What has more control over people than our cell phones? At least for the majority of the population. It has the power to be able to see everything that is happening in the world as it happens. It controls the masses as if hypnotized by it's never ending supply of information or anything a mind could possibly imagine.

    Doesn't that sound a lot like The Beast? Just sayin'...

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    1. It certainly is something to think about, brother. You bring out some good points, and I am so thankful you instilled such great values into the lives of your daughters. You are a great dad whose love for them shines forth in everything you do. I'm sure they appreciate you and your guidance in their lives. God bless you and your wife and girls with a wonderful Christmas season! You are always such an encouragement to us.

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  8. I really enjoyed this post, Cheryl. One line that stood out was this one: "Since when did keeping up with everyone else trump giving our children the gift of undivided attention?" I am constantly alarmed and discouraged whenever I see, almost constantly, the neglect of children because of parents who are more interested in what's going on on their phones. Yes, I said "the neglect of children," because that is exactly what it is. When a child has to ask a parent the same question six times, in order to simply get a look, something is very wrong and that child is being neglected. I would bet the same thing goes on at home, even more than in public. It saddens me and sickens me to see what we've become. I really and truly miss the good old days when there were pay phones and no cell phones, when people on the street, or in cafes or department stores were fully present and not distracted by a phone.

    My prayer is that I can live fully in each moment and I do my best to do that every day. As I'm aging I'm more aware of my mortality and know just how quickly it can all be over. I want it to count.

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    1. Oh, Dayle! You are so right in all you said! It truly is neglect...oh, it is heartbreaking, and like you said, I just wonder how much more they are neglected in private. Thank you so much for your dear, kind comments and for your encouragement on this journey. I trust God will bless you and your dear family, (especially that sweet Arabella!) with a wonderful Christmas season! Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  9. I completely agree, I miss real life. I've been finding myself looking back lately to a time when life just felt like it was connecting on some level and now it's just click, click, click. Just today I was on Facebook and thought.... I'm sick of this..... So I wished everybody a Merry Christmas and said see you in 2017. But you know I'm not sure if I'll log back in then either. I'm burned out on social media, it offers nothing of Value and it's such a waste of time and as we know time is precious. So tonight I went to my bible and opened to Genesis and read the first chapter. It was amazing because for the first time I could actually visualize what I was reading in such clear way. So I read it again and I may read it a third time before the week ends because for whatever reason it's touching me in away it never has before. Which brings me to a prayer I said this last year. I prayed God would place me in the direction of real people that I can connect with because I know they're out there. The prayer was answered and this past year I've been blessed with some amazing interactions that have turned into neat friendships. I find comfort in these positive experiences and do agree that we live in a very disconnected time. The good news is we're not all disconnected. Hope you enjoy a great weekend.

    Carole @ Garden Up Green

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    1. Sounds like a great idea to take a break from Facebook, Carole. And, I so enjoyed reading about your wonderful time with the Lord in Genesis! Oh, that is so encouraging to me! I am so thankful God has blessed you with wonderful, face-to-face friendships that are blessing your life. May the Lord bless you and yours with a wonderful Christmas!

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  10. We don't have smart phones (altho I would love one...just not in our budget)but I don't want to ever get to the point of looking at my phone all day long..at the dining table..or in a restaurant...or even in a waiting room... I love Facebook for the simple reason of being in touch with grands and some far away friends...all the younger people love social media and would just about die without it...older people miss the way things were in the past. I do miss a lot of things in the past...thank you notes sent in the mail, Christmas cards (postage and cards too expensive any more) more interaction with people...it's all just a sign of the times, I guess. Love and blessings to you, sister friend. xo
    .

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    1. LOL! You are so right...I think they think they would die without it! You and I are from a different time, aren't we? I'm glad we got to experience life pre-electronics, for the most part. :) Sending much love and blessings back to you, dear friend!

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  11. I agree that we need to be present more with the ones we love and less driven by social media addiction. There's a time for everything and when we get our priorities out of line, we are not loving . My prayer partner says it this way: "If you are always looking down at your phone it has become an idol, something we look down at and worship." Let's lift our heads to the Lord and interact fully when we're with people created in God's image!

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    1. Amen, and amen, sweet sister! I so appreciate your perspective and thoughts. Sending you love and hugs this beautiful Christmas season!

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  12. Ooh, that is sad. You need to move out here to Iowa, Cheryl! In the waiting room at Magic Muffler I had a lady tell me all about the fudge she is making for Christmas (she uses Velveeta cheese)! In another waiting room at a doctor's office, I had an older man tell me about his son in the navy who had a problem, and Senator Grassley had it taken care of within a week. I've had so many great discussions with total strangers! It's really nice that there are some people out here who are great conversationalists.

    I've thought about getting a phone before, but decided I'm probably better off without for now. I've noticed even some older people get quite distracted by their phones(!) I spend enough time on my laptop as it is; I'd rather enjoy the rest of life without distractions.

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    1. Sounds like you have some great interactions, Bethany. It is such a blessing to talk to people and be a part of each other's lives. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  13. Cheryl, this post is so very true and sad.. I too, miss the days before cell phones [when people can not even push their buggie in the grocery store, and definitely no conversations or even a hi.] Social media is dominating our lives .All the mean things and the hurt to so many people [even children].
    I too , like pintrest and I have a cell phone [only way to keep up with grandkids..text..eeeeh. ha]but. how I miss the day when we had real live people to look at and make conversations..
    You are a blessing.. Have a blessed CHristmas.

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    1. You are so right, sweet friend. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and encouragement. You are a blessing to me, too, and I trust God will bless you and yours with a wonderful Christmas!!!

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  14. It is sad that social media has made us less social. There are lots of benefits to it but I agree, it is unhealthy when it gets to the point where it takes over from face-to-face conversation or distracts us from the people we're with at the time. I once had a work meeting with someone who was texting the whole time I was talking and I found it really off-putting and didn't feel like she was listening to me at all.

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    1. Oh, my, I know exactly what you mean. I have been in similar situations, and it just really makes a person feel like they are "less than", like they are less important than whoever is on the other end of the text. To be honest, I think it is just plain rude. I think of Jesus and how He always dropped whatever He was doing in order to be completely present and listen to the person who was in front of Him. I believe He made them feel like their problem was the most important thing in the world to Him, and I pray that I will always be aware and do the same. Life goes by so quickly, and we have such little time to make a real difference. So thankful for your sweet visit, Lesley. God bless you and yours with a wonderful Christmas!

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  15. Oh this post strikes a deep chord in my heart! I am just like you, I never meet a stranger, and I love to talk to everyone I meet, and it has concerned me in the last few years since social media has dug its heels in, that people are more in touch with folks they never see, then the ones they see face to face. It is an escape of reality, and so very detrimental to relationships! I have seen people text each other while sitting beside each other, rather than talk! Unbelievable! I love your call to awareness, and awakening, and hope that many of those snared in the social media trap will find their way out. Blogging is a special form of social media for me, as I get to interact with other precious minded believers in Christ, and this has brought so much joy in my life. But aside from that, I do not need to know what you ate for breakfast or silly things like that, lol, that social media seems to full of. Thank you for bringing awareness to this situation! Many hugs to you today dear friend, always such a blessing to hear what the Lord has laid on your heart to share!!

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    1. You are so right, it IS an escape from reality. I just hate seeing what it is doing to relationships. God has really burdened my heart about this. I think sometimes it falls on deaf ears, because it is a spiritual problem, and it is spiritually discerned. I feel like the dear Lord wants me to delve into it more deeply, and it will require much of me. Self has to be placed on the altar, and we must be faithful to what he calls us to do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your precious support, encouragement, and friendship. Sending you much love and gratitude. :)

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  16. Cheryl, Amen! Amen! Amen! You are preaching to the choir here. My husband and children have heard me say, in a not so Godly way, "I hate the STUPID phones!". Not proud of my approach, but I get so frustrated. Just this weekend I was at my sister-in-laws 40th Surprise Birthday Party only to see my nieces, who don't see each other that often, sitting side by side, staring at their "STUPID" phones. It made me so very sad.

    I wish children could see life from the age I'm at now. Although I'm not considered elderly, I have quite a few years under my belt and I am finding with each passing year that I am intentional about being present in every moment.

    Your blog post's approach on the subject was written with such humility and grace. I appreciate your admonishments so much because they always come from a place of humility and kindness and a true concern for our walk with the Lord. You are such a dear blessing to me and to your readers.

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    1. I am right with you, sweet friend. I hate them, too!! I wish they could see life from our view, too. They are missing out on SO much by keeping so engrossed in a screen instead of looking around them and enjoying LIFE. It is such a gift. Your precious words just meant the world to me, and I am surely thankful to you for your support. Sending you much love and wishes for a Merry Christmas!

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  17. You hit the nail on the head with this post, Cheryl. It is so sad to be in a restaurant or so many other public places and see this sad sight. I grew up in day of the party line. Many times when you picked up the phone to make a call, which was pretty rare, you had to wait your turn...lol! I have only had my smart phone for a couple of months and I only have it because it was given to me by my son and he re-did my plan with Verizon and saved me about $20 a month...go figure! I will say that although I like having all of that information at my fingertips, I do not take advantage of it...and that was one of my fears...I didn't trust myself! It is only a convenience and definitely not a way of life, nor do I want it to become that for me. So far, so good! I do like facebook for the connection aspect of it. I have been reunited with old school friends and acquaintances plus, living far away from all of my family, it is wonderful to be able to see what they are up to. I have actually gotten to know nieces and nephews that I never really had much of a relationship before. I also use facebook to post inspirational thoughts and use it as a witnessing tool at times. And, yes, I do have to watch myself because of all social media, it is easy to be on it longer than I'd like. I guess what bothers me more is to see the children growing up with this way of life and missing out on what it's like to be a child, to be outside in the fresh air and getting all of that pent-up energy out...it's just heart breaking to see this. Like one of your commenters stated, how do we turn back now? I don't know if it's possible. Thank you for this insightful post. Enjoy your week, my friend...HUGS!

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    1. Oh, you are so right...it just breaks my heart. I agree wholeheartedly with all you said and so appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement. Sending you much love, dear friend, and trusting you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

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  18. Cheryl, I completely agree with you. Sometimes as a blogger, I have to question myself and ask, am I just adding to the noise? I dislike this technological society we live in that I am trying to raise our kids like it's the 80's - which is when I grew up. A little TV here and there. Family movies. But they don't use the computer, my husband and I don't have smart phones {and hopefully never will}. I went off FB two years ago and have never regretted my decision. The only thing I do aside from blogging is Instagram because I love the encouraging women out there who share moments of their lives.

    Thanks for your great thoughts, as usual!

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    1. Dear Sarah! I loved what you shared here...am I just adding to the noise? Oh, dear Lord, help us to use the platforms He has entrusted to us for His glory and for the purpose HE wants. It sounds like you and your family are really in a good place with all of this, and God is enabling you to raise your dear children the way He wants them to be raised. I am SO proud of you, and your visit has surely refreshed my spirit. God bless you abundantly, my friend, and may you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

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  19. It is a delicate battle (or sometimes not so delicate) between social media and real connections. As more of an introvert, it has given me a "foot-in-the door" to conversations with people which has been good. But it also can isolate.

    Just like anything, I think it's what we make of it.

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    1. It surely is a battle, and you are so right, it is what we make it. Time is so precious, and we have none to waste. God bless you, Becky. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Merry Christmas!

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  20. Dear Cheryl ... you've raised some really good points here ... ones we need to consider and take to heart. Each and every one of us who does life with an assortment of screens needs to pause and consider who we are becoming in this season.

    Thank you for the gentle encouragement to go there.

    Advent's kindest blessings to you, to yours ...

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Linda. Your kind, encouraging words are such a dear blessing to me. Advent's blessings and Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  21. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I am thank-ful to live in what I think is a rather isolated world. Most of my family and friends are not addicted to cell phones so I rarely have had to deal with what you speak of but I do realize it is out there and I agree it is very sad. I think there is a balance to find because yes, some parts of social media can be good, some cell phone use and other electronics can be helpful but it can easily go way overboard.

    You may find a conversation that I had this past week rather refreshing. I was volunteering at a temporary homeless shelter that our church was hosting and some other volunteers and I were visiting. The conversation turned to cell phones and come to find out neither of them had one. They just didn't see the need and didn't want to get addicted to it. I do have tracphone service (which is actually now a smart phone as my husband upgraded and gave me his old one)but I rarely use my phone and people that know me realize that if they call me on my cell phone rather than my land line it isn't very likely that I will answer and if they text me or leave a voicemail I may not see it for a month. It was kind of funny when my husband decided to give me the updated cell phone. I had been forced to update this year because my flip phone was obsolete but the one they had sent as a replacement was giving me a lot of trouble (with beeping that I didn't always know how to shut off and things like that)and so Ken gave me his old cell phone as a surprise. He just swapped them out in my purse and I didn't discover the swap for a week.

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    1. What a blessing to know that there are some who do not succumb to the pressures to conform! It is a true problem for so many and a burden that lays heavy upon my heart. SO much is competing for our time with God and trying to draw us away and keep us preoccupied. I am thankful to know you and your family are rising above it and living life the way it should be lived. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  22. I enjoyed your post Cheryl, and I agree that it is often difficult to connect with others. I sat at a fellowship lunch with a group of ladies from our church, but the noise in the restaurant made it difficult for me to hear any of the conversation. Our Sunday School teacher realizes my problem, and she made an effort to include me and to let me know what had just been said. Even with 2 hearing aids, I have a problem if the voice tone is too low, or too much din in the air. God is good regardless. I do love our social FaceBook, and several from our church connect that way almost daily for a few minutes. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. That is wonderful, Hazel. I am so thankful you are able to connect with your church members through Facebook. It definitely has good potential. Also grateful your friend was kind enough to repeat what was being said and to include you in the conversation. God bless you and Robert with a very Merry Christmas!

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