Do you know where I’m heading with this? Some of you might, but before you poo poo this, read on.
The idea for this topic came to me when I opened an email from my mother-in-law. She sent me a picture entitled “Visiting with Grandma” or something like that, and in the picture we see a little old lady that could be the spitting image of many a grandma. To her right and to her left, seated on a sectional couch is what we presume to be her entire family. They range in age from fifty something all the way down to a young teenager–males and females alike. Why is this funny? Because there is little old grandma sitting in the middle of this large group looking straight ahead without a smile. Now, why would a grandma not be happy and smiling when she is surrounded by her entire family? Because each one of her family members is too busy looking down at their cell phones and not paying attention to her or to each other. They are in their own little worlds with this little, (or big depending on who you ask) invention called the cell phone.
Since the inception of cell phones, the purpose and use of them has changed dramatically. We were all thrilled when we were fortunate enough to have one of these. Back in the late eighties when they became more available to Mary or Joseph Public it was a treat to be able to call a family member or best friend and ask them where they thought we were while we were talking to them. How exciting to say we were in a car driving to wherever and we were able to speak with them on this thing called a “Cell Phone,” or maybe it was mobile phone, but same thing.
Ah, cell phones have come a long way. What started out to be a wonderful, valuable tool for safety, (because if we ever got stuck on a dark, deserted road alone at night, we had this gadget to call for help), has turned out to be way more than that, and not necessarily for the better. Yes, we can still use it for emergencies and call for help which still makes it a valuable tool, but what about the other uses?
Oh, the availability of the internet. Most cell phone users will tell you this is important. We conduct business on it, but business doesn’t end at 5:00 anymore. When is family time? We get GPS on it, so we can find directions to anywhere. We used to do this with maps, so this phone is more convenient. God help all those people of the generation of only knowing GPS, because if we lost electricity, they wouldn’t be able to open a map, let alone read one. Which means maybe most don’t even need to learn which way is North, South, East, or West.
Now, I’m not trying to negate the benefits of cell phones. I have one, too. I love it, but fortunately for me, I obviously don’t love it as much as everyone else. When I saw this “funny” picture of the Grandma, I laughed, but I also commented to myself that I was glad this wasn’t me. I’m proud to say this isn’t me. I’d rather talk to someone face to face if I have a choice, and I certainly don’t want to be on a phone playing games, looking up sports scores, and texting my friends when I have the gift of being able to be in the presence of my grandmother. Sadly, my grandmother and grandfather (Not to leave grandfather’s out) have been dead for a long time, and I’ll never have the gift of them again on this earth. I think a lot of people, especially young ones, forget what’s right in front of them because they think life is forever. It’s hard for them to understand that we are all temporary on this earth, which means are older loved ones are even more temporary. Before they disappear from your view, change your view. Lift your head up from the rectangular picture you hold in your hand and look at what’s right in front of you. Not only will the memories you make be richer, but you’ll make those people happier and prove to them they matter to you.
Most of all don’t forget, YOU matter to them. So, for God’s sake and yours, keep this gadget we call a cell phone, this marvelous, exciting, and fun invention, out of your hands while you are driving a car. The old saying “those things happen to other people, not to me” is just that–an old saying that people have been repeating for decades, and it’s not true. YOU are “other people.” Believe it!