Why is it that the more digitally connected we become, the more we feel disconnected from the things that matter most?
The father is on his computer in the office, finishing up last minute work details and reading up on the latest election news on the internet, while the mother is watching TV in the living room.
The son is downstairs playing video games while the daughter listens to music on her iPod in her bedroom while instant messaging with friends online.
As you picture this scene (and ponder what’s wrong with it), think of the awesome power of the Information Age — the ability to bring the entire world into our living rooms and bedrooms, the ability to connect in real time with almost anyone across the globe.
Technology has given us a brave new — and small — world, with more information, opportunity, and connectivity than our ancestors could even dream of.
And yet, in an age largely defined by connectivity, we’re losing our lifelines to the most important things.
Specifically, there are three main connections that, ironically enough, are being systematically severed the more digitally connected we become.
These vital connections are with God, family, and nature.
These three life-saving links provide the context in which technology, and every other aspect of the modern world, is given proper meaning and priority.
They make up a foundation that, when lost, will plunge us into the emptiness of entertainment, the sterility of science, the cynicism of forfeited faith, and the hollowness of hedonism.
A person with a deep and lasting connection with God, family, and nature understands the purpose of technology and how to interact with and use it properly.
A person who maintains those three connections, despite anything else happening around them, will not be swayed by opinion polls, tainted by compromise, numbed by information overload, or corrupted by greed.
God, family, and nature are rocks that the sand of modern technology rests upon; when those rocks are removed, the sand quickly collapses, losing all sense of structure, balance, and perspective.
How to Stay Connected
Considering their critical nature, how can we build and strengthen these connections? As with any relationship, for these connections to be deep and sustainable requires ongoing communication and quality time.
Prayer is when we speak with God; meditation is allowing God to speak to us.
As our creator, God knows us intimately, far more than we know ourselves. He will guide us, protect us, unlock our potential, teach us lessons uniquely suited for our particular situation and stage of development.
He will do these things and more, that is, if we let Him. Make the commitment now to pray and meditate daily.
All of us know the cliche that when we’re on our deathbeds, we’re not going to wish we spent more time at the office. Sadly, however, few of us live its meaning in our daily lives.
Do you know your children? Is your love for your spouse stronger than it was on your wedding day? Are you creating memories that your family will cherish for years to come? Is your home a sanctuary, a refuge, an escape from and defense against destructive people, thoughts, materials, and substances?
Now, more than ever before, our homes must protect ourselves and our children from the overwhelming forces of destruction.
Make two commitments now that will make all the difference in achieving this goal: religiously have a date night once a week with your spouse, and set aside at least one evening per week for your family to play, study, learn, and grow together.
This is perhaps the most difficult connection for most people, since much of our modern world is designed to help us escape from nature.
Consistently spending time with nature helps us appreciate comfort, escape Information Age noise and stay balanced.
Intuitively, although perhaps subconsciously, when in nature we seek to emulate its design — the strength of the rocks and mountains, the cleanliness and vibrance of the rivers, the peacefulness of the lakes, the determination of the wind, the perseverance of the trees and plants, the submission of the animals to their divine place in creation.
In 1851 Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington’s Puget Sound, delivered a beautiful and profound environmental speech in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000.
His words seem more applicable today than they ever were. Seattle said:
“…Every part of the earth is sacred to my people…We are part of the earth and it is part of us…
“One portion of land is the same to [the white man] as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on…His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert…
“There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of the insect’s wings. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around the pond at night? …The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days he is numb to the stench.”
Have you become numb to the source off all your material blessings? How does this impact your life?
It’s hard and you will find every excuse not to, but it’s critical that you commit to at least one meaningful excursion into nature per month.
Go hiking, camping, backpacking, mountain biking, canyoneering. Get out into nature, breathe her in deeply, honor her, and make yourself whole in her presence.
The rise in digital connectivity has been largely accompanied by a decline in and stagnation of our connections with God, family, and nature.
By maintaining and strengthening these three critical connections, we avoid the dangers of the Information Age and become a rock to rely upon, and a standard to follow.
Commit now to staying connected with God, family, and nature by praying and meditating daily, holding a weekly date night with your spouse, setting aside at least one evening per week for nothing but family activities, and going on at least one nature excursion monthly.