I have a problem...

We've all heard (and ignored) the stats about cell phone addiction. I've secretly struggled with the idea and blocked it from my mind. I like my phone. I love having immediate access to the web, Facebook, Twitter, Email, Direct Messenging...etc. etc. Do I really need to justify that? 

Why should I feel guilty?  It's not like I'm alone, right?  I'll admit that I have left the house and realized 20 minutes into my drive that I left my phone at home and...I went back. Who doesn't do that?  Yes, I check it all the time, even in the middle of church, to see if I'm missing anything. I've also been known to check it during a movie by hiding it (and my head) under a jacket. Does that mean it's a problem? 

So, I've been living happily in my little world of denial for a while now. Until something happened that I could no longer ignore. I spent the day with some of my family exploring a State Park. It was a beautiful place full of trees, creeks, and even a really neat canyon with walkways providing access. 

The next day, my son posted some pictures on Facebook and tagged me in a few. In one picture I was off by myself, cradling my phone, obviously intent on what I was seeing on the screen. My family was enjoying the beauty of the park and I was caught up in something on my phone. I wonder what it was? What could have been better than the interaction with people I love and the unique loveliness of the park?  

It stayed with me, although I refused to talk about it with anyone until now. I'd love to tell you that I immediately got a handle on my problem, and...YES, it was/is a problem. However, the truth is I have been working to make small changes that are finally showing some results. It's been nearly a year.  You read that correctly.  A year.  

Here's my goals:
  1. I try to leave the phone in the car when I am taking a walk with my family or at an outdoor activity. Currently, I'm at about a 50% success rate with this.  
  2. I try to leave my phone off the table when I am eating with other people. I thought I was doing well that that one, but another Facebook photo recently busted me with phone right there on the table. I'm stepping up my efforts. 
  3. I try not to look at my phone while I'm talking to other people. If my text messaging alert goes off, I do my best to completely ignore it. This is a BIG DEAL...or at least it was for me. 
  4. If I do happen to look at my phone when an alert goes off, I try not to respond. I don't know why, but for some reason I've looked at "texting" and "responding" as though it were two separate things. Responding is the same as texting and it shouldn't happen during a conversation. 
  5. I'm trying to be more conscious of time I spend doing anything on my phone. Because an IPhone has so many features, I can get lost in checking email, texts, Facebook, etc.  If I've spent 5 minutes on each activity, it's easy for a half hour or more to pass without realizing it.  
Overall, I think I'm doing much better than I was a year ago but there's still progress to be made. I encourage my students to consider their cell phone habits (and addictions) and to make positive changes. I now take note of families eating together in a restaurant while each of them has a phone in their hands. Is that really where we are all headed? I hope not.

 I'm take a big step here to admit that I have a problem.  I hope you'll consider adopting some of my goals.  Feel free to comment if you have an additional idea or thought.  


Gossip Column Featuring Ordinary People

I was reading over at RadarOnline (hangs head in shame) and it struck me how all that was written appears to be factual. I have to remind myself to question it or, better yet, not read it at all.  

Since when did it become acceptable to report about a family's personal struggles with finances, illness, relationships, money, etc. ???  For example, because Julia Roberts happens to have enjoyed some success as an actress, that means it's OK to tell the world that she had a strained relationship with her sister, who was recently found dead from an apparent suicide, and her mother is a smoker who is not battling lung cancer.  Right?  

For just a few minutes I'd like to see what it would look if we did that to a non-famous person. Here are a few stories which purposely contain exaggerated truths (or outright lies) based on reports from "sources"-- much like we'd see in any of the gossip rags out there.  This is purely fictional and I'm using random stock photos from public online sources. 

Lisa Jones Faces Divorce
Facebook Photo during happier times
 After Lisa Jones' first marriage fell apart amid financial ruin and rumors of cheating, she is now faced with a potential second divorce. Husband, Jason, was seen slamming the door as he exited their home on Wednesday morning. Neighbors reported his angered expression. "He's a nice guy. It's too bad she can't keep him happy."  
Her first marriage to Kevin Fuller, a salesman for a car dealership, ended after 8 years. They had two children together, Molly and Adam.  Fuller pays $145 a week in child support and sees the children alternate weekends and every Wednesday evening for dinner.
If Lisa's second marriage ends in divorce she won't be receiving any child support since the couple have been unsuccessful at conceiving a child. Sources close to the couple report that Lisa has considered seeking help from a fertility specialist and she secretly blames Jason for the problem.

Bill Anderson FIRED!

Bill Anderson can't seem to catch a break. After he lost his job during the massive GM layoffs, his car was repossessed (the ultimate irony-- he lost his job with the same manufacturer that produced his car!) and he nearly lost his home. Lucky for him, his wife, Nancy, was able to pick up extra shifts at her job and she kept the family afloat.
Just as his $413 a week unemployment was about to run out, a miracle happened!  Bill was hired by Singer Fiber Board as a production manager. Co-workers said he was not a  good fit from the start. "We've been working here a long time and along comes this dude thinking he can change things! We knew his days were numbered." Bill reportedly attempted to streamline scheduling and claimed to be looking to increase productivity.
Unsubstantiated reports say he accepted a higher-paying position at another company.

Ashley Wilson -- Shocking Photos 

Private Facebook Photo
Ashley Wilson recently posted a selfie on her Facebook wall that clearly displays the ten pounds she's gained.  An insider from her private page leaked the photo to us. "She was always into working out and eating healthy. She's given that up after her boyfriend ditched her. I"m really worried."
Ashley had been dating Derrick Foster for nearly three months when he abruptly ended the relationship. Sources close to the couple say Derrick grew tired of her constant demands for more time together. (As of press time Derrick could not be reached for comment.)  

Ashley appears to have abandoned her fit life and given in to the lures of potato chips and ice cream. "I don't know if she'll ever get into a size 2 again. It's sad to see this."