We tend to have strong reactions when something is taken away from us that is meaningful. This can be anything from:
– headaches and grumpiness after giving up caffeine
– tummy rumblings on the first days of a diet
– boredom after the electricity goes out
– having to get a ride when your car breaks down
You get the idea, right? When we have to give something up, especially when it is not our choice, we tend to not respond well.
Over the last two weeks we have been at church camp and, as one of our rules, we ask that campers do not have cell phones, electronics, etc. This isn’t a move to be controlling or mean. Really, we have found these things to be a distraction when it comes to camp. We as a camp leadership team feel that if we don’t have to worry about what is going on at home, we can better focus on the tasks at hand during camp. And, for those who do this, they find it to be a liberating experience.
Yet, each year we battle. Yes, we battle with our teens’ gripes about giving up their cell phones. To me this is a natural response to giving up something that is important. Having had to do this several times, I understand what it feels like to not have your phone.
But, the battle goes deeper. This year many campers decided it would be easier to lie about not having their cell phone than give them up. Our groups had parents who would help their teens get around the rules so that they could communicate with their teenager. And, on top of that many ministers (including myself) have tired of fighting the issue and avoid addressing these behaviors.
So, what we experienced last week, all surrounding giving up cell phones revolved around these behaviors:
This post is not to call any certain person or group out, but I struggle to leave a week of camp that is supposed to be devoted to loving our God where these things happen on account of an electronic device.
We lie, deceive, and avoid conflict just so we can keep our electronics close. Does this bother anyone else?
I bring this up because I would submit these behaviors are not limited just to camp. These things happen all of the time.
Are our relationships really so shallow that we feel that it is okay to lie to each other to avoid giving up our cell phones? Do we really need to deceive one another to get what we want? Do we avoid conflict in exchange of real, meaningful conversations about what is important?
I believe that our lack of depth in relationships leads to these kinds of things.
What do you think? Am I being too hard about this idea? Or do I need to lighten up?
Tell us what you think.
I plan to follow up this post on Friday with some specific ideas on how to address these issues. I would love your contributing thoughts on this subject as I prepare.