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The Open Door


Cell phones, what amazing little pieces of technology. They are both a curse and a blessing. We canít seem to do without them, but often, I wish we could.

The first mobile phone I ever saw was in a businessmanís car. I was probably in middle school at the time. My dad and I were on a dove hunt in Alabama. At the end of the day, all the men gathered around this one fellowís car to see this new device he had. It took up a space in the front floorboard comparable to a very large center console in one of our current cars or trucks. It had a handset that was actually the same kind of handset you would find on the old rotary dial home telephones.

He had a huge whip antenna connected to the back bumper of his car. The signal came through a repeater tower and connections were made through an operator. I remember how excited my dad was to see a telephone in a car. Wow! That was really something!

I have often thought how amazed my father would be over the capability of the cell phones we have today that can be easily carried in your pocket. No longer is there a huge black handset or oversized console and whip antenna. The cell phones we have today can be used all around the world. Dr. Emir Caner called me the other day from the Czech Republic and it sounded as though he was next door. The signal was clear and there was no perceptible delay.

We are blessed to have our cell phones, right? Well, wait a minute, not so fast.

Gone is the ability to be unavailable. That has an impact on your privacy and personal time with family, or the essential time that everyone needs to be alone, pensive, and creative. Texting has seriously impacted the practice of communicating in oral conversation. Two young people will be sitting near enough to have a verbal conversation, but choose instead to text over their phones.

Cell phones, if allowed by the parents during dinnertime, can totally destroy quality communication as a family, to say nothing of the rudeness of being ignored by a family member who has his face buried in his cell phone.

Cell phone technology may be amazing and a remarkable step forward in worldwide communication, but it is a huge step backwards in personal relationships...

Janice and I were out to eat the other evening in a restaurant that had a buffet line. A nice looking family came into the restaurant and while I didnít look up at first to see what was going on, I heard the sweet little blonde headed girl, who was probably six or seven years of age, repeating numerous times, ďDaddy, look at me. Iím all grown up. I am carrying my own tray. Daddy, I donít need any help to carry my tray anymore; I am all grown up. Daddy, see, I am carrying my own tray. Iím a big girl now.Ē She was a little doll, full of personality and pretty as she could be. She was doing the best she could to get her daddy to notice or acknowledge her. She wanted him to see how grown up she was.

By this time, I had stopped eating and looked up to see why she had to keep repeating her pleas to her dad. You guessed it; he was standing there with his face buried in his cell phone. He was either texting or responding to an email. Itís not that he said, ďWait a minute sweetheart, daddy is busy. Let me get this done first.Ē No, he didnít say anything. Not a single word did he say to his precious little girl who was trying her best to be noticed. Honestly, I wanted to get up, go over there and snatch his cell phone out of his hands and tell him to pay attention to his daughter.

Cell phone technology may be amazing and a remarkable step forward in worldwide communication, but it is a huge step backwards in personal relationships, family communications, and ability to carry on a simple and meaningful verbal conversation.

Fathers, in Ephesians 6 we read that fathers are not to provoke their children to anger. To tell you the truth, that sweet little girl had every reason to be furious with her daddy. I didnít even know the guy and his actions irritated the daylights out of me.

Dads, please, no cell phones when you are with your family at dinner or anywhere else where you need to be having meaningful conversation with your wife and kids. The same goes for the wife and for the children. Put your phones away and carry on meaningful conversations with family and friends. Itís a whole lot more polite and besides, communicates to others that they are valuable to you and because they are, you will give them your undivided attention.

Of course, it is not necessary to repeat, is it, that we must never ever text while driving? If you are tempted to text while driving, just throw your phone in the back seat out of reach. You can pick it back up and finish the texting when you stop and get out of the car.

Yes, cell phones can be a blessing, but they can be so wrong when used in a rude and thoughtless way.