Stay connected but practice willpower

By · Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Eight years ago — and a day — we published a post that started this way:

It was an interesting morning here.

The post is worth sharing again because all these years later, the issue still remains — we need to use common sense when we use our phones.

So here is the rest of the story.

I had a 10 a.m. appointment for someone to come and take care of an annual lawn issue. He brought with him two young men.

“We’ll make short work of it today,” he told me. “I brought some helpers.”

Good enough. They all got to work.

The next think I heard was, “If you keep checking your phone, it will be staying home.”

I kind of chuckled to myself, thinking how universal that issue is these days. But I also noticed how the message was delivered:

Staying connected is a given, and it takes willpower and self-discipline to disconnect at appropriate times — just as it takes common sense to know when to make exceptions. A good example happened just yesterday, when a colleague set his phone on the table at the start of a meeting and said, “I’m going to do something I don’t usually do. My 89-year-old mother broke her arm last week, so if the phone rings, I need to answer it.”

We’re in a 24/7 world of news, information, social media and connectivity; there are a lot of positive aspects to that reality. But on the job, at an internship, in the classroom, at certain events, at worship and in meetings, it’s important for us to know when to turn off what’s “out there” so we can focus on people and happenings “right here,” in our present.

This encore post originally was published June 18, 2011 about an issue that is still important and relevant today.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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