Many of us would probably say we have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know I do. Right now, it’s saving me time over a type-writer as I write this commentary. It allows me the privilege to work from home and to communicate with my boss in Tennessee. Its apps enable me to keep up with family and friends and often know more about them than I need to and vice versa! It puts me in contact with my children and them with me in a split second, especially in an emergency. On those evenings during harvest, when I’m trying to locate my husband and his crew in the dark harvesting a field I’ve never been to, it allows my husband to give me step-by-step directions as he sees my headlights in the distance and guides me to the nearest turn row in the field. Those are some of the reasons I “love” technology.
But what I struggle with is how it competes for attention with my family and me. It beckons my son to the “television room” to play his PS4. It draws my daughter into videos featuring other little girls her age opening surprise eggs, and if you haven’t experienced these yet, don’t rush to YouTube too quickly. It calls out to my teenager to see the latest posts about who’s cute, who’s dating and where people are and having “so much fun.” And yes, technology even sucks in my husband and me, more than I’d like to admit, sometimes sacrificing eye-contact with one of our kids to immediately respond to a message that for whatever reason feels more pressing at the time.
None of these are bad but certainly distracting at times and filling empty space that I want to be spent talking, laughing or just being. So, when we have a fall Sunday, like we did recently, when we found ourselves, after church and Sunday lunch, in the field behind the house, I’m both thankful and a bit saddened that we don’t do it more often.
Technology, while it’s good, will never replace a daddy with his arms around his youngest daughter as he teaches her how to hold, aim and shoot a .22 rifle — one he bought years ago hoping he would one day have kids to share it with. The action of a PS4 game will never compare with the stillness of a country day or the smell of surrounding crops, while my son holds that same .22 in his hands, aiming at clay targets resting against clumps of grass while his dad instructs him and reinforces the rules of gun safety.
And as for the backdrop of cotton fields with a picturesque sky and the round-bales used as targets for shooting my teenager’s bow and arrow, Instagram’s got nothing on you. How thankful I am for the country, a place to escape behind the house that doesn’t have to be plugged in, posted, or “liked” and where the only price of admission is our time.