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Digital World vs. Here and Now

Good article today in the Washington Post about the way that people (mostly men) become so obessed with their smartphones that they ignore the obvious reality of the physical world they live in — including their wives and kids.

The reporter tells stories of men checking their phones while they’re bathing their kids, at dance recitals, walking through the mall and even (help us all) having sex.

Why does this happen? Information is king, and we no longer have to wait for it. The thrill of what piece of news might show up next feeds the cycle — it’s rewarding to find out new stuff, so we keep checking for more, over and over, to our detriment:

The complication is that we devalue delayed rewards — the feeling, for instance, of looking back on lovely moments with family — in favor of the immediacy of the new. In this case, it’s data. It makes us high.

The issue is coming up in couples’ counseling more and more as well — a spouse feeling neglected, as if her husband finds everyone else more important than her. There’s no more time to sit, to enjoy silence, to let moments breathe.

I feel the pull, even though I don’t have a smartphone. I’m at a computer all day at work, so it’s easy to click over to Twitter or Facebook for a quick check. I get home and get away from it, but still find myself wanting to just check for a minute, even when I’m playing with my kids.

Weekends are a nice break sometimes, but it’s still almost always there, in the back of my head, the constant refrain — “what’s the latest, what’s going on, what am I missing?”

As valuable as electronic devices can be, as much as I love Twitter — there are more important things. Our kids’ faces when we come in the door. Quiet moments with our wives. Time in God’s word. Time to think, breathe, be.

Here and now (and eternity) are more important than an ethereal digital universe that sucks us into its ever-widening maw.

(And yes, I’m aware of the irony that I’m posting this on Facebook …)


Olympic Thoughts

Olympic Thoughts
Haven’t seen a ton so far, but a few thoughts nonetheless:
– I’m sure the Opening Ceremony is really cool in person, but on tv, a lot of it is boring. Cool to see how excited everyone is, though.
– That’s not a torch lighting. This is a torch lighting: http://bit.ly/a91Et6. And so is this: http://bit.ly/ca4G6W (FF to 2:00 min.) P.S. When he went out for the second torch lighting, Gretzky should have taken the lady who got left out when the one leg didn’t raise. That would have been classy.
– How cool would it have been to win the first Canadian gold on Canadian soil? Sweet.
– By the way, moguls skiing is insanely hard. Did you see how fast they were going? And how high they jumped? Sheesh.
– In all of sports, there’s not much like the pure, unadulterated joy of winning a gold medal for your country. And then hearing your national anthem. Always a cool moment.
– Watching short track speed skating is fun.
– Watching pairs figure skating: not so much. Most of the skater should be marked off for their choice of costumes.
– Amazing — and heartbreaking — how years of work and hope and dreams can be shattered by one slip, one fall, one split-second lapse. With something like hockey or Nordic combined skiing, you’ve got room for a few mistakes. In figure skating or moguls or ski jumping — forget about it. One mistake and you’re done.
– Looking forward to the alpine skiing. Talk about insanely fast.
– Like knowing the Olympics are on every night. Fun to watch with your kids, too.
– More to come …