Mothering and Technology

Personal technology is a huge conversation at this house right now, because umm, we have an almost-junior-higher and “all of her friends have phones.” Now, my first inclination at the beginning of this conversation was to say, “Not ALL of your friends have phones. You are exaggerating.” But after some digging, and after a tour of the junior high where the principal shared that all personal technology is allowed and welcomed, and that 95% of the kids have a phone or personal device, I realized this girl is not exaggerating. This is the world we live in right now, whether I like it or not. And while this conversation will continue and no final decision has been made, it definitely has left me thinking about it a lot.

So when my sweet boy asked me to sit outside with him this morning while he sailed his boats in a bucket, my first thought was, “Sure. I’ll bring out my computer and do some writing.” And then I had this vision of how my kids could potentially remember me if I’m not careful.

Imagine them in their mid-30s sitting around the table thinking back to their childhood, and chatting about their adorable, doting mother…listen to what it could sound like:

I remember how mom used to sit outside with us as we played, her on her computer and us climbing trees or sailing boats. She always made such an effort to be next to us. I have such fond memories of how she’d look up at me from her phone when I was talking to her, even for a brief second, which always made me feel so warm and loved. I think she had lovely green eyes, although mostly I remember her looking at us through her long camera lens or phone camera, she was always so amazing at cataloguing all of our movements. I remember so many days sitting on the couch with her reading to us, always stretching out the story to all sorts of lengths as she took frequent pauses to respond to texts. It really helped with the suspense and anticipation as the story unfolded. I loved her phone case and often found myself daydreaming as I stared into the back of it, what a soothing and relaxing time of my childhood.

Truly, I don’t think this is really what they are going to remember, but it could happen if we’re not careful. Technology and social media is really cool and has amazing benefits, but it has the potential to suck us in and extract us from what’s really happening right now. I want to be responsive to my children and not dead to them. I don’t want them to give up talking to me because they think my technology is more important. And as they get older and have to start using their own technology, I want to set the tone for how to live and love relationally while enjoying the benefits of this socially integrated world.

And as I watched my little guy collect all the snails that had come out after the torrential rains last night, I could have missed the moment where he found a baby snail and placed it by its bigger brother, or when he discovered that his little boats could stick to the side of the bucket. I don’t want to miss sweet and tender moments because I had my head buried in a screen. I just want my heart to love the little world I live in more than any of my distractions, and I hope you do too.

*Irony of this post—you had to bury your head in a device in order to read it. Such is life.

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  • Such great points, Gab. I love the imagined remembrances! Even now that my kids are in their 20s I have to keep in mind that we’re still building memories in the moments we have together.

    • Thanks Tim! Yes, I imagine it will be a life long process of prioritizing the important things…

  • After hanging with your near pre-teen daughter and her classmates yesterday, I can vouch for her assertion that “everyone has a phone” because they all had them out during the presentations to take photos! On the other hand, I agree with the struggle, it is a battle being waged here too. Many talks about using wisdom, hidden dangers, and executing self control have been and will continue to be discussed.