Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Who is important here?" and other interesting questions.

In the dim light of a fancy restaurant, I sit, enjoying a wonderful meal. I look over, and see a cute couple, early twenties, dressed fairly well, their faces illuminated by the single candle in the middle of the table. All of the sudden, I see a weird glow on her face, followed by one on his face. Upon closer observance, I realized that they were both on their cell phones. While they were engaging in occasional small talk with each other, they both seemed to be a lot more interested in the person with whom they were communicating via mobile device.

I sat and watched them for a while, and it seemed like perhaps 75-90% of the time, they were staring at that little rectangular portal to the outside world. It was starting to really bother me. "Why would you come to this incredible restaurant, pay a ton of money for this meal, have a beautiful person sitting across from you, and then sit there and text the entire night?"

I started getting angry, but then I decided to take a more introspective look into the problem that I was seeing. I had to ask myself: "do I do the same thing sometimes in different situations?" I know for a fact that I am guilty as charged. I've been in plenty of situations where I've been with REAL people, yet I choose to sit there, and contentedly peck away at my iPhone, talking with who KNOWS who, usually about small and mundane things.

I believe that this is something that everyone has experienced. You're in a conversation with someone at a gathering, and you are sharing something, and all of the sudden the hand goes for the pocket. They look at the phone, and start composing a reply. Their head nods, and you hear the occasional "mmhmm" as if they were saying "Oh I'm still listening" But you know where their attention REALLY is. It can be somewhat belittling, because essentially, the person is saying, "what this other person is talking to me about is more important than what you have to say".. OUCH!

We live in and interesting day and time, in which our "worlds" have become more and more digital. But I would challenge each and every one of you to not forget the art of true conversation. I think it is something that has been slowing fading away.

If you ever go out to eat with my Grandpa Norm, you better believe that by the time you leave the restaurant, he is going to know the first name, occupation, and favorite baseball team of just about everyone within a 20 foot radius of your table, just by making "small talk". You'll never see him sitting alone at a table, pecking away at a mobile device.

I believe the art of "small talk" has been largely lost in our generation. But those who know how to truly communicate and network with people will go far in life.

This is why I would like to make a challenge, to each and every person reading this. Next time you are with someone, and you feel that familiar vibration in your pocket, ask yourself, "Who is important here? Is it the people I am physically with? Or is it this person who I am texting?" Even if what you are saying via text is "important" Are you considering the preciousness of the person you are with by spending all of your time on the phone?

Well like it says in 1 Timothy 1:15 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save inconsiderate texters; of whom I am chief." AT (Andrew's Translation) ;)
I'm probably the worst at doing this. But I think it is something that each and every one of us could look at in our lives. Just ask yourself, "How can I show the people that I am with that I truly care about them?" "What decisions and changes can I make to make them feel more important."

Even though our society has only become more and more self-centered, I believe that we are called to be different. To be a light.

So next time you have the urge to be an "inconsiderate texter" think twice about it. Maybe, just MAYBE, you can put that message off till later. It doesn't matter if they are talking about the most boring and mundane subject in the world. What can YOU do to make them feel important and loved?

Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

So true! Thanks so much for sharing! It seems that in our age of technology, we get so caught up with the new gadgets and websites that we forget how important face to face interaction is.

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting togegther, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Anonymous said...

That's very true! Thank you for the inspirational words... So often we get caught up in the technology of 2010 that we forget what we did before it existed...

Melanie said...

Some truth there. I don't text all that much, and usually it is to my daughter and frequently about my granddaughter and arrangements. I do try to wait, unless it's urgent, but I've probably been guilty once or twice. But then one doesn't have to be on a cell phone to be distracted, as I sometimes am.

Katee Grace said...

Excellent reminder! :) And love the Hebrews 10 verse.


Didn't even realize you had a blog... yeah! :)

Dawn Davis said...

I love this post....!!! It's time we walk up and shake the addition of our phones. I'm taking the "Oprah"challenge and not texting while driving and definitely not holding my phone and talking while driving. I have bluetooth in my car so that helps.... but she is saying even that is bad. One day at a time! Great blog post Andrew. Thanks for sharing.

Jonfun said...

You know, I think your absolutely right. Were changing the way we communicate in today's society but at what cost? I think you could compare it on the fundamental scale of losing languages. Is it just natural progression or transformations the happen when the culture gets to wrapped up in change, only time will tell.

Suggestion, you should do internet radio or uStream a show called small talk w/ Andrew Barlow: the lost art of communication.

Ashley Stephen said...

Right on man! A well spoken message in season for our generation.

I particularly liked the AT verse...haha :)

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Britton Felber said...

Right on Andrew! "'what this other person is talking to me about is more important than what you have to say'.. OUCH!"

Thanks for this amazing reminder! I want to be light!