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Technology: Relationship builder or breaker?

“Collectively, we are at our best when we are…”

“Collectively, we are at our worst when we are…”

Two questions posed to me this week as I read through a book that I thought was about being organized and living a simpler life.  As it turns out, the author advised having a family purpose statement (to help have an organized and simpler life), and those were just two thought-provoking questions of twenty that she posed in order to help formulate one.

Hard questions.  I tried to mentally relay when we were at our best over the past year, and it was always in the context of going somewhere together – having an experience outside the typical day.  So I was hoping that our planned trip over the weekend to experience the annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike would help to tame the bickering that seems to have overrun our house lately.

I was hoping cabin fever might be the culprit.

But 2.5 miles into the hike, I unfortunately realized that they were just as determine to nip at each other in the great outdoors as they were in the house.  We had to take a break to help them realize that we were standing in the midst of something rather beautiful (More pictures).  Sometime during the next mile, it seemed to take and the two more adventurous ones (who had been ready to murder each other the day before) paired off together to run ahead of us.  And glimpses of “our best” began to show again.

While I’d love to blame the weather for the increasing level of nas-titude in our house, I have to admit that other facets of our family life could have been just as easy to blame.  Last week I wrote about how it seemed like the technology in our house had been taking over and I spent some time thinking about what aspect it played in our lives to build, or tear down, the connections we have with one another this past week.

Focus on the Family had some great articles about it.  There was one particular line that talked about how we can be guilty of ignoring the people in the room with us in favor of talking, chatting, texting on our phones or online; building relationships with people on-line and ignoring our own families in the room with us.  But I can’t ignore the aspect of how talking, chatting and texting can help us to stay connected at times, too.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Crabby Patty syndrome is a result of what’s in our hearts, and not necessarily because of any particular outside source.  That being said, those outside sources (ahem, Facebook) can also be a constant distraction from the activities that we’re encouraged to be engaging in: prayer, solitude, quietness (Phil 4:6, Eccles 3:7, I Peter 3:4).

In a household with multiple kids of multiple ages, that can seem like an impossibility, but it’s not.  I’ve started a new first Wednesday series this year – last year, first Wednesdays focused on a family strength.  This year I decided to write about the Source of our Strength.  This month was about El Roi – the God who Sees.  Next month I’ll go into another aspect of the Lord.

But for now, it would be interesting to hear how much you use technology in your family to connect with each other.  Would you feel lost without it?  Or is ‘good riddance’ your first reaction?

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