The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

A shattered phone, a silent week, and a lesson learned

As any parent can tell you, sometimes, we have to make decisions our children don’t like. This happened recently when my daughter and I headed home before she was ready. As I helped her out of the car, she expressed her frustration with my decision to end our time at the park before she was ready with a swinging arm that connected with my shirt pocket. I watched, almost in slow motion, as my iPhone traveled through the air before connecting with a loud “thud” on our driveway.

I can still make calls using the voice commands, and if I hold the screen the right way, I can see who calls me. When the moment is right, I might be able to answer a call. Outside of that, there’s nothing I can do with my phone. No email, no text, no Twitter.

For the past week, if I want to participate in Social Media or send email, I have to be at home using a device. During this time, I learned some invaluable lessons.

  • With our smart phones, we travel in a bubble. We can communicate with anyone, across any distance. What we miss is the people right in front of us, the new people that we can meet when we put our devices down. As I sat in the waiting room at the dentist office, I got to talk people I had not met, or people I had seen in previous visits and done little more than say a quick hello. I felt energized by these exchanges, by making myself aware of who was around.
  • With our smart phones, we see the content we want, and most often, the content that supports our viewpoint. We can listen to podcasts or content in the car that we select, read news sources and social media posts from friends and like minded individuals. As I drove in my car, or had a free moment or two, I found myself listening to, reading and paying attention to material that was selected for me, instead of content I chose. I realized just how many perspectives are out there, it generated some reflection on my part.
  • With our smart phones, we are never out of the office. Emails and texts make our work ever present. This week, I truly got the chance to get away. I was more present with my family, I felt as though I had down time, and felt relaxed.

My iPhone helps me to be more productive and is a helpful tool. Being without it continues to present some challenges, but it has also yielded some valuable learning.

Put your phone down – something good might happen.

This post is dedicated to my friend Rachel Guinn. When I told her the story of my lost phone, she laughed and said “I can’t wait to read about it,” providing the inspiration for this post. 

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