If I sat down and listed all the things I do wrong, I probably wouldn’t finish until the day I died. I guess I’m a pretty critical, judgmental person.
There. I’ve said it. I am; I’m judgmental and overly critical.
The thing is, I’m usually overly judgmental and critical of ME. (Perks of being an only child, I guess….) But in my head at least, I’m probably overly judgmental and critical of just about everything and everyone as well.
Like how people consume and use social media.
Which I hate, by the way.
Even while I love it.
For instance, my daughter went on a Young Life retreat a few weekends ago. She was involved with the organization throughout high school, and she’s stayed in touch with her favorite Young Life leader, who lately has been encouraging her to get involved again, this time as a leader. Daughter has been helping to lead a middle school girls small group for a while, but apparently the drama of middle school girls is more than her no-nonsense sensibilities can handle.
She took one of the middle school girls out to lunch before the school year began, and after an hour and a half lunch, came home asking me,
“Did I turn everything into a drama when I was in 8th grade?”
Um…. pretty darn sure.
(But I’m not sure that Junior girls in high school don’t do the same thing. So we’ll just have to see if she lacks the same patience for “older” girls as well…)
All this to get around to the fact that during the Young Life weekend, she attended one session about how to keep the focus on relational aspects with students while at the same time living in this social media age that can greatly change relationships.
One of the things she said was interesting on the panel discussion for the session was the back-and-forth about using social media for good, but that even trying to use it for good, sometimes it can go wrong anyway. The crux of the the discussion seemed to be: “use it, but be very, very careful how you use it.”
Which got me thinking… here I am blogging, spilling my guts in some instances for the world to see, but at the same time, I don’t always share the same hurts, fears or doubts with the “real” world. My world. My circle of friends and family.
So I’m guilty of using social media to keep the world at bay. It’s somehow easier to let you – sitting there in your space, miles from me in my space – to see the thoughts in my head than for me to call up my busy friend, only to reach her voice mail once again.
It’s really hard to stay relational in this uber-connected social media world. The very thing that we think connects us also disconnects us. More than we would care to admit, probably.
The other day I was out running errands, listening to my favorite station, when the radio hosts asked listeners to call in and let them know if it was “okay” for families/dates/friends to use smart phones while out to have a meal.
As a general rule, we don’t use ours when we’re eating out. However, I think we must be just about the only people out there that operate on that philosophy. I was surprised – floored, actually – by all the callers that permitted their children to use phones while out to dinner. The premise for their permission to do so was that it was just “more pleasant not having to deal with the tantrums.”
Correct me if I’m wrong… but isn’t parenting dealing with the tantrums before they go out into the world and annoy the people that don’t love them? Isn’t dinner time a time to connect with family? I mean, if we’re so busy connecting with our 283 Facebook friends while we’re out to dinner, what does that say about priority to our kids?
Before you all think I’m getting all preachy here though, remember the headline for this post:
Yes, while it’s not the usual way we do things, it doesn’t mean I haven’t done it. I’ve gone out to dinner before and sent a text to a friend, checked Facebook to see if anyone found my neighbor’s missing dog, or even just to see if someone commented on a prayer request. I know my kids have been at family functions and kept on checking their phones even while I’m shooting them the “evil eye.”
My point is… it’s really hard to connect. Now that we all have cars, jobs, computers and 24/7 news, how do you make time to “be there?” We aren’t sitting around in quilting circles, having large family Sunday lunches or barn raisings these days, so it takes an intentional effort to have the kind of deep conversations on a regular basis with those we care about most. I’m just as guilty – and innocent – as the next person for sacrificing non-Apple face time with an Apple app instead.
And I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to to try to connect to others in any and all ways we can.
We need to make sure that it’s not just about us getting the connection; we need to make sure those on the receiving end feel we’re trying to make the connection – and enhance our relationship – with them.