Our mobile electronic culture bombarded my thoughts yesterday as I sat at lunch with Diana and the girls. I watched a gentleman browse his personal digital assistant to the neglect of his children. I love wireless technology, but I am puzzled at the long term cultural effect it may have on us and the next generation. It is cool to be connected with endless information by something barely larger than the palm of your hand, but my heart sinks low as children are discarded by tech savvy dads who roam the internet and send bursts of text messages, while their children eat a meal. Our digital assistants capture our attention often to the detriment of our children.
Will our children remember the glare of a screen reflecting off our forehead or our conversations with their hearts at dinner time? My mind raced back twenty years before internet connection had become mainstream. WiFi was scarecly a thought and dad’s had nothing better to do then enjoy the meal with his children. Of course pre-WiFi, some fathers were reading the newspaper while their children ate lunch.
I am grateful to have noticed this young family at lunch. The father’s actions abruptly caught my attention and challenged me to consider how I spend lunch with my girls. I hope the joy of leading my girls will not be distracted by the TV in McDonald’s, nor the newspaper on the newstand, nor my personal digital assistant. God’s design is to engage in my responsibilities as a father and husband rather than be diverted by the flare of gadgets. If I harness the gadgets to help assist my responsibility to guide the lives of my children fantastic. If I simply use them to escape my responsibility to care for the soul’s of my children then I need to separate from it.
Al Mohler offers an important article this week on “Children and the Need for Silence“.