Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thinking About Technology

I have been concerned lately about the big distraction that technology can be.  I have seen it with my seminary students, with my kids, and with myself. This Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting and I thought it was an especially spiritual meeting. We have a newly converted family that has many children, and several of them came up and spoke about the fact that Jesus saved their family and brought it back together. I actually got up and shared an idea that their testimonies prompted in me. I thought of John 15:13 which says:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
The seminary manual suggested that the Greek translation could replace 'lay down' with 'set aside'.  I expressed my respect for the new members in our ward that reminded me how much love and courage it must take to set aside an old life and take up a new one as a disciple of Christ.  I expressed my gratitude that both of my parents had loved their family enough to set aside their lives and raise my siblings and I in the gospel.

There were several other really heartfelt testimonies of the Savior's love for us and the Spirit was the kind that you hope your kids are feeling and soaking in. I looked over at my big boys and much to my disappointment saw that one of them was playing a mindless game on his phone. I was really bummed when, while discussing it later with John, he said that he had challenged them specifically that meeting to put away their phones.

Now I can't complain too much because I (too often) miss out on the little things in life because I am reading political opinions on my iPad. I decided we might all benefit by watching the Mormon Message by Elder Bednar called Things as They Really Are for FHE.  It presents 2 questions to consider when using technology. 1-Does it invite or impede the Holy Ghost? And 2-Does it enlarge or Restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve?  When I asked myself these questions, it was easy to see I had much room for improvement.  By expressing this to my family, it prompted a great discussion where the older kids seemed to thoughtfully consider these principles.  We encouraged the kids to seek personal revelation, and to be still often enough and long enough to receive it (we looked in Joseph Smith History for some clues on this).  I have had a few challenges with technology in Seminary myself (and I am not just talking about that mini projector mishap) and know that I need to do better so I can invite my students to do the same.

It was a thought provoking night for me and I told Seth that I planned to not check my phone, or listen to the news in the time before seminary (I have a bad habit of turning to the news as I drive into town) and asked him to help me stick with it, as he now drives me in each morning (drivers permit practice).  It all got me thinking about having inspiring music, and before bed, I was on iTunes listening to multiple versions of Bach's Air on the G String. I must have listened to it 10 times- it never gets old to me.  I didn't decide on anything to download, but I certainly resolved to be more aware of my use of technology.

Well, new days come, and feelings of resolve sometimes fade. While I didn't check my iPad for news before school, I found myself alone in the car as I drove into town (Seth came later with Gabe) and I looked at the button on my radio. I reached for the news button, and I am embarrassed to admit it was really tempting for me to just listen in for the 12 minutes I would be in the car.  But I thought back to our lesson and I left it off. I was proud of myself ;). About 3 minutes from class, I decided to go ahead and turn it on, but I selected the classical station. I flipped it on just as 'Air on the G String' began to play. I savored it until I pulled into the seminary building, where it perfectly timed out to finish as I shifted into Park.

I know to some it would seem like a coincidence, but to me it was a true Tender Mercy, an idea also taught by Elder Bednar.  It was a confirmation to me that I too need to have quiet time so that I can feel and hear the promptings of the Spirit.  A good lesson not just for the big kids, but obviously one that i need to learn better. I am grateful that the Lord is patient with us.  I know that technology can be really helpful, but I need to remember that there are times when I need to be still. Now if I can somehow get my kids and all of the Seminary students on board too!

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Sounds like a good meeting. I have found myself wishing for certain people to be paying attention at certain times and being disappointed that they are missing the very message they need.

Good thoughts!