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Don't be Phony

It is difficult to put the device down. It is difficult to hear the "ding" of an incoming text or email and ignore it entirely. But we must for the sake of ourselves and those around us, whether they are family, friends or strangers.

When I was a teenager it was easy to avoid; after all, cell phones were new and tablets were still in the developmental stages. It is shocking to think just how quickly these little gadgets have become staples in our daily lives. They are tiny little helpers; they wake us in the morning, keep us connected with loved ones, create a lifeline in emergency situations, organize our busy schedules, store thousands of memories, provide answers with a single click, and so much more. It's mind boggling!

While they can be immensely helpful, they can also be destructive. Many people have forgotten to simply look up and be present. When you last stood in a long line or sat in the doctor's waiting room,

did you notice how many people didn't look up? We have become so restless that we have to remind ourselves that it is okay to just be still and be present. There are so many little treasures in those moments when we look up. The instagram post can wait, the youtube video will still be there tomorrow. Look up! It isn't weird to smile at the stranger in line; maybe you'll be the bright spot in their rainy day. Start with a simple compliment ("I love your shoes!") or even a light quip ("Having fun?") to get a conversation going. Maybe there is silence, and that is okay, too -- enjoy the break! Take out the earbuds, put the phone away and see what the day brings. I think you'll be surprised with what happens!

It is even more important to look up and put the device down when we are with friends, family or colleagues. Have you been in a conversation with a good friend (or worse, mom, dad or child) and notice that they are looking at their phone instead of you? Or have you been the one looking down while unenthusiastically nodding your head in response? I love when someone looks into my eyes when I am talking. I know that they are listening; I feel special. Why speak to someone if they won't hear a word, or only catch snippets? It is a bit insulting, right? I am as guilty as most; I have checked my phone in the middle of a conversation. Rude.

We're so distracted. We are missing so much good stuff! Without distractions, shallow conversations become deep and fulfilling, a simple joke becomes a side-splitting laugh session, and you get that warm, fuzzy feeling that you'll never find on a screen. Let's do better. We owe it to those around us and to ourselves.


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