What I Wish I Would Have Said: Confessions on Technology from a Techie Mom

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It took me by surprise even though I know the facts. I’ve read the statistics. I’ve witnessed the effects. As I looked around the restaurant -- one of those family chains with the “kids eat free” weekly special -- my heart fell deep into my chest as I wished for boldness to stand up on my chair and shout!

“Hello.

Excuse me.

May I have your attention please?

I’m noticing something terrible happening here.

Honestly, I didn’t mean to... It is just that you’re kind of in my line of vision, seeing as our family is plunked down right in the middle. So forgive me for meddling, but did you realize that there is an honest-to-goodness human being sitting across from you...at your table?

Right there.

On the other side of your screen.

Your child. Your spouse. Your significant other. They are waiting for you to pay attention to them and put your screen away.  Yes, I know they are on a screen, too, but whose going to be the more mature one and turn away from the cyber world for the sake of real relationships?

Our loved ones need our attention...

Maybe your head bent downward with your thumbs moving fast across your phone has more to do with the fact that you had a fight with that person right before you walked in the door. Ugh. I hate those moments.

But I urge you to not give up on them!  Please don’t escape into the technology abyss.

That guy with the ring on his finger sitting across from you is still your spouse, even if his heart seems too hardened to love.  That little girl, even with her eyes rolling, needs your loving attention more than anyone on the either side of that screen.

You need their love and attention more than you care to admit, too.

Maybe they shut you down because they think you’ve shut them down.

Body language changes when a screen is in the way. 

Oh, I know, it has been so long since you’ve actually had a real heart-to-heart conversation with...that...person...sitting there.  But it is like riding a bike. You never forget. Start with asking some questions. Poke around their heart looking for what they actually feel about life.  Prick their memory with good story from the past. Just talk.  Don’t be afraid.

Connect without the tech in your hand. It will be there later.

In the meantime, you’re missing a golden opportunity to do what God made you to do -- love others.

That night in the restaurant dozens of adults and kids sat staring at their phones while ignoring each other. It was a cold reality check for me to stay off mine. Yes, I have to work really heard to keep my screen in its place. It nags me for attention and I could make lots of good excuses for why I need to pull it out.

Maybe I do have my tech out too much, too.

But as I’ve told my kids from the time they could grab a toy from a friend, “People are more important than things.”  And a phone is a thing. An Instagram update is a thing. A Facebook post is a thing.  A tweet is a thing. A Words with Friends move is a thing. But the living beings within our reach are not things.

Our loved ones need our love and attention more than anyone or anything on the other side of a screen. {click to tweet}

So will you, please, put that tech thing away, lift up your head, and connect with your loved ones from this day forward?

This may be your last chance to really love that person face to face.

For more encouragement and resources to help you connect your family, especially your teens, visit moretobe.com.

Elisa Pulliam

Elisa Pulliam is passionate about women experiencing a life transformed by God for the sake of impacting the next generation – a mission fueled by God’s redeeming work in her life and twenty-plus years in youth and women’s ministry. She’s the author of "Meet the New You: A 21 Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change," which is a book designed to help women embrace a fresh encounter with God, and "Impact Together: Biblical Mentoring Simplified." She is also founder of moretobe.com and tremendously enjoys working as a life coach and coach trainer. She considers her greatest roles as wife to Stephen and mom to four amazing children. Connect with Elisa at elisapulliam.com.