Connected to What?

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Leslie Stahl may not be well known to those of us who choose to worship on Sunday evenings. That may be due to the fact that she is a regular contributor to the long-running (on Sunday evenings) CBS program 60 Minutes.

lesley-stahl-becoming-grandma-book-jacketMs. Stahl (she is married, but is one of those thoroughly modern women who does not use her husband’s last name) also appears on other CBS news shows. As the picture of her book cover shows, she is also an author.      

Recently, I watched part of an interview with her about her new book. (The interview was not on 60 Minutes, by the way.) As you can see from the picture of the cover of the book, the book is about being a grandparent and how, at least in her mind, that role has changed in recent years. 

What you cannot see is the “behind the scenes” story about how the picture was taken. I found that part of the interview to be more fascinating than Ms. Stahl’s views about being a grandparent. 

What the picture supposedly shows is a grandmother sitting with two adorable granddaughters who are fascinated with a book. According to Ms. Stahl, that is not what was going on when the picture was taken.

According to her, the older granddaughter was, indeed, fascinated by the book. She posed willingly for the picture. 

That was definitely not the case with the younger granddaughter. She was causing all kinds of problems until a solution was found.

The solution was that somebody thought to tape an iPhone into the book!

The smaller child is not reading. She is being entertained! She was, in fact, watching a movie! Instead of connecting her mind with the book and her will to that of her grandmother, she was “connected” to an electronic device. 

I’m not so much of an old fogey that I resent and oppose modern technology. I went online to find the picture of the book. I’m typing these words on a computer. I plan to attach this post to an email to send to our son. You may read this on a computer or some sort of digital device. As I see it, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of that.

However, in my mind, there is a danger when entertainment becomes a substitute for some very important things. I have in mind things like true education, interaction with family members and others, and worship. Have you ever noticed that many of us don’t talk about what we think any longer? Instead, we talk about how we feel

I am not advocating that computers, tablets, or smartphones should be thrown into the trash. I am advocating, though, that these things need to be put aside fairly often in favor of an old-fashioned book. 

Read. Think about what you read. “Argue with” what you read. Take notes. Make comments in the margins. Do something besides turning your mind off and a device on. 

Maybe we could even expand on this a little. Instead of an email or text message, how about a handwritten note? Instead of Snapchat (whatever that is), how about a phone call? Instead of a Facebook post, how about a personal visit and conversation? Instead of being LinkedIn, how about being “tuned in” to your spouse, your children, your friends, and others as they communicate with you?

How about being connected to the things that really matter instead of things that are of much less importance?


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