In 2017, technology is an integral part of our lives. Stop for just a minute and think about all the ways you rely on technology from the time you wake up in the morning (me, to my iPhone alarm) to the time you fall asleep at night. The advent of the iPhone a decade ago, and steadily decreasing prices of similar devices, has drastically changed the ways we use technology on a daily basis for work, play, and communication … for better and for worse.
As an educator, I’ve given lots of teacher workshops on instructional technology, a topic I’m very passionate about because of its powerful impact on students’ learning and engagement. Ten+ years ago, I spent as much time convincing teachers they needed to use technology as on sharing strategies – because then it was truly a choice. Nowadays, in the majority of first-world homes and schools, access to multiple technology tools is a given; it’s not if we’re going to use it, but how. I try to stress to teachers that technology is simply a tool, much like a white board or textbook – we, as the users, hold full power over whether or not it’s used in meaningful, effective ways.
Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I desperately want to spend my life wisely, which means I must pay attention to how I spend my individual days, hours, and minutes. In order to do that, I realize that I need to be intentional about making sure my long-term goals align with my daily actions. And, if I’m honest with myself, like most people, there are days and seasons when I need to be more intentional with my uses of technology – from work, to texting, to consuming information, to scrolling on social media.
In goal setting, I’ve found that I do a much better job of following through with goals when I connect them to a deeper reason – the “why.” Here are a few of my “why’s” in becoming more intentional with technology:
- My husband and two girls (ages 3 and 7) are my whole world, on this earth. I want to honor my family with my time, uninterrupted presence, and eye contact as much as possible. I do think it’s important to teach our kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that there are times I need uninterrupted time to make a phone call, send a text, or complete a work task. But I want to strive for clearer balance between screen and face time with those I love the most. I want my kids and husband to know, without a doubt, they’re more important than anything behind a screen. Equally important, I keep reminding myself that my husband and I have to build and model our self-discipline with technology, if we expect our daughters to do the same.
- As a follower of Jesus, I truly want to fulfill “the greatest commandment:” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). I need to make sure my habits and actions line up with the level of commitment to the Lord that I speak with my mouth and desire in my heart. If my time/attention to things on-screen outweigh my time/attention with Him, I need to make some changes.
- I want to make a difference in the world! I have dreams, goals, and passions the Lord has placed in my heart to live out for his glory. However, “Dreams don’t work unless you do” (John Maxwell). We all get 24 hours in a day – no more, no less. I need to make sure I’m maximizing my time in ways that matter… and closely examine how technology plays into that equation.
- As much as I believe in the importance of hard work, I want (and need) to cultivate rest. We were not made to be robots; our bodies, brains, and souls need regular “unplugged” time to rest and reset.
So, what’s your “why” in becoming more intentional with technology? Did you resonate with any of my reasons above? I’d love to hear in the comments!