On Boredom and Parenting and Why I’m Giving Up My Smart Phone

If I told you that I was giving up my smart phone, you’d probably think it was a temporary action for Lent.

But I don’t do Lent. And I don’t do temporary.

I’m learning that being a parent means being transparent. You can’t hide from your kids. (Sometimes even literally, unless your closet has doors or your bathroom has a functioning lock.)

My one-year-old son is already mimicking me. He wants whatever I have: my coffee, my food, my socks, and the Holy Grail of mommy-things…my phone. Because I always have it. It’s always in my hand or nearby. He wants it because he knows I want it. And he doesn’t hold it up to his ear like kids used to; he holds it with both hands so he can scroll across the screen or try to tap buttons. Like Mommy does.

So I’ve been convicted that I should make better use of my hands and my eyes and my attention than the time I usually spend dedicated to my smart phone. I mean, really, everything is on my phone: my camera, my music, my special apps, my recipes, my beloved Dots game, YouTube, Facebook…the assumed essentials of society and the antidote for a boredom-free life.

Oh yeah, that. Remember how, as a kid in church, we used to hear about that “still, small voice” and how God often speaks to us when we are silent? It has come to my attention that I have successfully allowed my phone to fill in any possible moments of boredom (i.e. “quiet time”) by mindless searching, scrolling, and unproductive activity. Even the shortest pauses in life are filled with screen time. My wait time at the doctor’s office could be used to meet and encourage someone next to me. My brief 30 minutes of quiet while Mr. Man is taking a nap? Bible reading. Prayer time. It’s hard to pray intently with a screen lit up in your face. And I’m sure I’m not the only one tempted to web surf at stop lights.

I think God allows those dull moments, or bored moments, for us to stop and really start thinking about life. It’s easier to hear Him when the other voices are gone. It’s easier to tune Him out when your phone is in your face.

I’m not saying smart phones are evil, or even that you should give up yours. I will still have a phone, but by next week it will be just a plain, average phone with a battery that can actually last a few days on standby. Again, this is just what I’m doing because of my convictions. There is no “Thou Shalt Not Have a Cool Phone” verse in the Bible. But if your smart phone is stealing your time with God, maybe you should reconsider your priorities, too.

“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:10 NLT

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