We have now said goodbye to August and hello to September! With a new month comes a new challenge. On this Take Action Tuesday, we would like to challenge you to simply unplug. Yes, that’s right. In this world filled with all kinds of technology, gadgets, and devices, we are issuing a challenge to unplug! Turn off those devices. Don’t just put them on vibrate as they will still be a distraction for you when you’re with friends and family. Turn it OFF … or better yet, leave it at home! Now, I know that right there will send some of you into shock at the mere thought of leaving your precious smart phones at … ~gasps of horror~ home! It CAN be done, and you WILL live to tell about it. I PROMISE!
Think about how it used to be in ancient history when dinosaurs walked the face of the earth (smile, that one was for my daughter who thinks I’m as old as dirt at times). There was no such thing as a smart phone back then. You had no other choice but to play in your cave or entertain yourselves outside being one with nature.
Technology has advanced so much through the years that we have every kind of device you can think of. There’s the desk top computer, the lap top, the iPad, Nook Color, iPhones, i-Pad minis, i-Pods, etc., etc., etc. Who needs ALL of those things?! We certainly think we do, but the world continued to spin around all those years we went without those devices, too! We were forced to actually be creative and use our imaginations back then when we would play Cowboys and Indians.
How many times have you been in the presence of someone and felt completely alone or ignored by them because they had their cell phones out? I have been guilty of checking the phone when I hear the “ding” or that special tone that goes off indicating a new text message, email, or Facebook message. I was really bad about it at one point, but I have since learned to do exactly what I’m asking each of my readers to do – I learned to unplug, to leave that phone at home, or to leave it on the seat of my car as I went off trail riding! Yes, it’s possible to live without being glued to our smart phones! I am proof!
One major disadvantage that came along with the smart phones is easy access. Everyone has such easy access to you that they end up getting mad when they are unable to reach you. This happens when employers give a smart phone to their employees expecting them to be able to reach the employee at all times – even after hours! They are expected to keep up with emails and respond immediately, even if that means taking time away from their families. Sad, but true. I can understand if you’re on call at your job, but for an employer to say that you don’t work a simple 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job and that you’re supposed to be readily available at any given hour of the day or night? That’s ridiculous! People need and deserve time off and time spent with family without the burden of constantly having to carry their work phones with them. That is asking a bit much, in my opinion! People are allowed some down time and vacation time with their families! Whatever happened to Family First?!
What about friends that have gotten mad when they’ve sent text messages that have seemingly gone ignored when you’ve chosen to put your phone away? That has just recently happened to my daughter. She put her phone away this weekend when we were together, and while it was a delight for me to have my daughter’s undivided attention, her friend soon took issue with it and accused my daughter of ignoring her. A series of heated text messages followed from this person to my daughter, too, which was truly uncalled for! So for this, I might add letting people know of your intend to unplug so they don’t get mad, or (in the case of some of my friends), concerned and worried when they don’t hear from you on a regular basis as they are used to doing. (Now, though, my friends know that if they haven’t heard from me, it’s probably because I’m on the back of my horse trail riding some where or out back grooming them.)
With that said, consider accepting our challenge so that you are able to enjoy life simply and peacefully without carrying that smart phone or any other device around that connects you to the world wide web or allows others instant access to you all of the time. You and your family deserve some time just for yourselves without the outside interruptions that dings, buzzes, and beeps bring.
Pull yourself away from your devices long enough to give the person you’re with your undivided attention. Something beautiful will happen. You will actually connect on a deeper level with the person that you’re seated next to, and you will get to know them better by having uninterrupted conversations with them. They will feel important and close to you! Relationships will improve! And opportunities for memory-making-moments will be introduced.
So, give it a try. Let those you know and love in on what you’re doing, and challenge them to do the same!
Here’s to everyone that wishes to unplug even if it’s just every once in a while.