You’ve been seeing it for a number of years now – the prediction for millennials and younger. The warning that so much time spent on technological devices could cause damage to their social skills. So, the time has come to look at some anecdotal evidence:
Something happens on social media or in a texting dialogue, and a young person gets hurt. Rather than asking for clarification or an apology, she stews over it and fails to accomplish resolution.
Someone sends him a message, but since he wasn’t asked a question, he sees no point in responding.
She would like to sit down and thoroughly discuss some upcoming plans, but the new social norms dictate that she go with the flow, not ask too many questions, and keep her feelings out of it.
He can carry a lively and meaningful conversation about pop culture, but when asked by someone close to him which traits he would like in a future wife and how he might give his children a Biblical worldview, he feels extremely awkward and changes the subject.
She’s learned a lot through social media about how to keep and lose “friendships” in her life. Unfortunately, many of those lessons ignore the technique and benefits of challenging, deep conversations.
He did respond to the question she messaged to him, but it’s been so long since she asked it, she has to go back to the original text to see what he was talking about. Waiting several days to finish a discussion is deemed so acceptable these days that the possible consequences can be forgotten.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
1. Look no further than to John, the Bible’s relational expert who taught the importance of meaningful conversation for the purposes of:
- Talking with others about what really matters in life (Jn. 1; 3:27-36; 5:31-47; 20:11-18)
- Understanding eternal needs, even if asking is intimidating and you need to talk about it in a very private setting (Jn. 3:1-21)
- Confessing sin to God and safe persons so that repentance and authentic relationship will follow (Jn. 4:1-42; 5:1-15)
- Learning how to pray, the most important communication of all (Jn. 4:46-53; 11:1-44; 17:1-26)
- Becoming a good listener, open and teachable, and speaking carefully in order to better hear (Jn. 6:22-40; 21:15-19)
- Applying meaningful words and explanations to thoughtful actions so that others feel secure and loved (Jn. 13:1-17; 19:25-27)
- Speaking wisely, gently, and humbly the words to others that God wants them to hear, when they need to hear them (1 Jn. 1:1-3)
- Living in the joy of having face-to-face, transparent conversations (2 John 12)
2. Motivated by the above: a) admit the areas of communication where you are personally weak b) study Scripture for lessons in the art of dialogue c) don’t let technology shape you into someone you don’t want to be and d) begin practicing a more considerate, thoughtful approach to interacting with others.
A word spoken in due season, how good it is! (Prov. 15:23)