Sunscreen and Screen Time

make the most of every opportunity…
— Ephesians 5:16

It’s no secret that I love dogs!  All I have to do is see a person walking their dog and it makes me smile!  I went for a walk earlier this week, and my smile quickly left my face when I saw a dog almost get hit by a car.  It wasn’t the dog’s fault.  It wasn’t really the fault of the driver either. If I was to pass out blame it would be squarely in the lap of the dogs’ owner.  She was looking down when she should have been looking up.  She was more interested on the screen of her hand-held device than the welfare of her dog.

I will drop my self-righteous rant now and acknowledge that I am made of the same stuff as this lady who almost killed her dog.  In one of my less than stellar moments, I rightfully earned a $280 fine a couple of years ago for texting and driving.  What’s that all about?!  I rationalized to one of Durham’s finest that I was stopped at a stop-light, trying to justify my transgression.  He had no mercy, and he gave me what I deserved!

I promised myself that day that I wouldn’t do it again, but I can’t say that my iPhone 8 doesn’t get the upper hand in my life from time to time when I’m with friends, family or when I’m supposed to be doing something far more productive.  I rationalize that my phone helps me be more productive, but does it really?  How many important moments have I missed, because I was looking down rather than looking up?  How many times have people felt that what they were saying wasn’t very important, because they were competing for my attention with the sacred screen?

Screen time is associated with warnings from health professionals.  Too much screen time is impacting our mental health and causing us to experience a host of emotional responses that are not entirely good for us. Depression, anxiety, loneliness and diminished self-concept are just a few of the bi-products of a society overly dependent on our technology.  

Summer is here!  With the arrival of the summer season, we get a small window of time when the warm weather pays us a brief visit.  Scripture teaches that we are to “make the most of every opportunity …” (Ephesians 5:16).  

I’m not prepared to throw my phone away, or to lock it in the safe for the summer.  What I am trying to do better these days is to be ‘aware’ of the many times I’m diverting my energy away from people and onto screens.

How about this summer, we set aside the screen, put on the sunscreen and go out into the world and make the most of every ‘relational opportunity’?  What if we committed to making a renewed effort to look up, not down – we may just rediscover some real people who are for more interesting than the ones on the screen.

Let’s opt for looking up, not looking down…it may just save our dogs’ life, and maybe our own too.

Written by Dave Larmour