by Christi Straub
The first thing I reach for the in morning. The last thing I say goodnight to before bed. Always within arms reach. If not, I search until I find it. How could I live without it? Present in all my moments—the stressful, the memorable, the mundane. An ever-constant presence. Dulling the pain, lulling my anxious heart, entertaining my brain, bringing brief happiness. Another alert, another scroll through a newsfeed, another email check, another “urgent” request for my attention.
When I found out we were pregnant with Kennedy (our second), I was elated; but quickly an odd sense of sadness set in. I realized my days with our first-born were numbered. Where had the time with Landon gone? I felt the pace of life picking up. The baby days were a blur. I mourned the losses I felt.
Did I hold him long enough? Did I watch him sleep, the gentle and beautiful rhythm of his little chest rising and falling? Did I take the time to see his perfectly formed little hands curl around mine as we read books? Did I notice the way his little eyelashes flutter with excitement over blowing bubbles? While he ran through the backyard with every ounce of power his little legs could muster—beaming with pride—did I miss his look over to me silently asking, “Are you proud of me, Momma?”
Sadly, these moments were slipping by, out from under me, as I was consumed by to-do lists and entertained by my devices.
I realized how much I was missing out on life. A precious little life that was real, alive, full, and joyful.
And it was my iPhone’s fault. (Who am I kidding?)
I found myself making dinner off my iPhone, a recipe pinned from Pinterest, while Spotify played in the background, while returning three texts to girlfriends, while scrolling through Instagram one more time—all the while spending “quality time” with my little boy.
Good gracious, what happened to my life?
No wonder the time with our son feels short-lived—it has been. In the name of “connection,” I’m shortening it.
I heard my husband often say, “Anything you cannot fast from, owns you”. If this is true, I was owned.
Sadly, I see it happening all around me.
We’ve become master multitaskers—in the most unfortunate of ways. It’s literally changed our brains—our ability to settle, to play, to be still. To enjoy and be present in moments and in conversations with people. Especially with our little ones. This epidemic is degrading our relationships, lulling us into screen life and out of real life.
When was the last time I considered the spiritual war raging for my heart and mind? When was the last time I thought of another scroll through Facebook as a celebratory win for the enemy?
Another few moments of life wasted. She’s lulled again.
Lulled into apathy. Lulled into amusement. Lulled into entertainment.
Those moments add up –hours, days, weeks, months, years of wasted life. Years of not living real life, something a sly and subtle enemy relishes – because we’re doing nothing to grow. Nothing to change the life of another. Nothing to widen our perspective, harden our hands, or soften our hearts.
We will never get back the time we waste on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram. Will you ever look back on your life and wish you’d seen another duck-lipped selfie or another friend’s vacation pictures through the Valencia filter?
Look back at your life this past week and tell me about the moments that mattered. The ones that made you feel real joy, belly laugh, and take a deep breath of thankfulness. The moments you’ll remember ten years from now.
I doubt any of them happened on a screen.
I think our technology-laden generation is desperate to feel, to live, to love—but has been so lulled we know no better way.
We’ve been lulled and duped and amused into a screen life existence.
Our kids are growing up just the same.
I saw it most clearly on a recent trip to Disney World. The most magical place on earth— filled with nonstop entertainment, color, lights, music and make-believe. Yet I was astonished to watch adults and children alike walking around zombie-like staring at their devices.
Apparently Disney World isn’t enough anymore. Constant stimulation, music, texting, sights, sounds, people, noise. Somehow, we need more.
Yet, somewhere deep inside, we know what we really need is less. Much less.
- Less amusement. More musing.
- Less entertainment. More creating.
- Less sitting. More moving.
- Less multitasking. More focus on one thing or better yet, one person.
- Less watching. More reading.
- Less texting. More talking.
- Less screen time. More outdoor time.
- Less comfort. More adventure.
- Less apathy. More passion.
- Less self-centeredness. More serving.
- Less lulling. More living.
- Less of me. More of you, God.
Let us hear from you. What creative ways are you setting limits on the screen?
Christi Straub, M.A., M.B.A. is a native Canadian, wife to an American, and momma to two feisty preschoolers. She and her husband Josh are the cofounders of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower marriages and families. Passionate about families in her generation, Christi writes and speaks on helping moms discover their identity and have marriages they'd wish on their children. Her honesty, wittiness and transparency are contagious. She is also the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. When she and Josh aren't working together, they're playing trains or having tea parties with their kids. (And trying really hard to put the phones away).