Are “devices” “the vices” of our age? No. It is our dependence upon anything with a screen that seems to make them so.
As an independent career person, I strive to to lead a balanced life between personal happiness and success as an entertainer and freelance writer. Through books and podcasts by career coaches Michael Hyatt, Ariel Hiatt, Seth Godin and Dan Miller, I picked up some tips that have really helped.
In 2011, I began making lists each night of my day’s successes and what I needed to do the following day. When I heard Miller say that Henry Ward Beecher called the morning’s activities during the first hour, “The rudder of the day,” I began to take a serious look at what I did upon waking. Instead of going straight to my phone or computer to check messages and see if I need to put out fires, I now read as I drink coffee. My morning fare always includes a short devotion from a book by Presbyterian minister P.J. Southam and a bit of the Bible. If time permits, I’ll read part of a book or a newspaper.
More recently, I read a book called Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle. Its basic premise is that technology isn’t bad, it is our addiction to it that is causing people to literally avoid talking to one another if they can send a text message or an e-mail instead. (Aside: to me, the word “text” is not a verb. It describes printed words.) My friend Dr. Randy Cross invited me to a conference at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, AL to listen to Professor Turkle speak and to meet her. She was fascinating and illuminated the issue that seems to be an epidemic.
Considering all of this input on the non-stop inundation of information which can consume us all if we let it, I wrote a simple song called In Reverence of Reverie. I sing it to remind myself to take a deep breath, look around, appreciate my surroundings and never pass up the opportunity to look someone in the eye, have a conversation, shake a hand or offer (or receive) a hug.
In Reverence of Reverie Words and Music by Les Kerr In reverence of reverie, I’m turning off my phone There I’ll be with all my thoughts So I won’t be alone No multi-tasking, reply-asking Message on a screen I’ll be aware of what is there A moment just for me So many think they’re on the brink if they have to converse Face-to-face seems out of place To them, there’s nothing worse Than speaking without tweaking And no edits before, “Send.” But there’s a choice: a sound, a voice A smile from a dear friend Devices have divided us; We can’t see eye to eye It’s text or instant message, Information on the fly Avoiding all emotion, We just pass along the facts And if we need to laugh or cry, We’ll find an app for that I’d like to say we’ll see a day Not built upon the trends Of social mediocrity And never-present friends It’s haunting and it’s daunting But there is hope, in the end Let’s ditch the hype. Let’s talk, not type, And we’ll be better friends In reverence of reverie, I’m turning off my phone Words and Music Copyright 2016 By Les Kerr/O.N.U. Music (ASCAP) Click to download song In Reverence of Reverie Click for Les Kerr's complete online music catalogue.
Text and photos copyright 2016 by Les Kerr.