Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quieting the Noise

I love my learning, sharing and connecting online. Truly, I do. But I have realized lately that there is an addictive part of me(besides the chocolate and coffee addictions ;-) ) that drives me like a rat in a maze to check and see if I have missed, "the big cheese." I often find myself checking Twitter and Facebook in a cycle,walking away because I know I have other things to do, yet boomeranging back on in minutes to check for updates. It's like leaving a party when you sense something big is about to happen, yet you feel compelled to stay so you don't miss "the greatest part" that people will be talking about forever.
I guess it's always about balance, isn't it? With my husband and I often sitting here, parallel tweeting about our own yet often intersecting domains of interest and passion, I look forward to the moments when we step away from the electronic devices and talk live, face to face about what we are pondering.
We got into a deep conversation this morning about how our culture promotes such noise, such distraction that we often forget to get quiet and listen to ourselves. It makes me sad and wonder how our kids will know how to do this if the adults aren't practicing it.Although I didn't see my parents really get away, stop and reflect, I had lots of free time, as a kid, to ride my bike, wander into the forest with my siblings,and imagine. When my kids were young,they spent hours trading off and negotiating whose activity choice would be next. Would it be building amazing lego creations, competing in monopoly and scrabble marathons,or in summer, building sandcastles at the beach? As a single parent I did not have the money to send them to "camp" and busy them with lessons for this and that. I often felt guilty, though now, seeing how they have grown up, I am more grateful than anything else that they had many opportunities to plan and entertain themselves.
It's wonderful to be connected to the world out there,learning and building relationships with folks all over the world. I appreciate the value of sharing with all of my new friends. ( Yes, I consider them friends as we discuss a multitude of professional and personal topics) Yet I also know that I lose myself at times; I forget to stop and listen, create, revive and connect with the parts of me that need space to grow.
I surely can't be the only one battling these thoughts. How do you keep the balance? Let's share and learn from each other.


  1. I have that same problem, for sure. I have a number of other factors that pull me into my social network. I have been moving a lot over the past three years and now live in a small, rural community. I'm not working out of the house and I have two small children who are not yet in school. For me, my social network is how I feel I can keep in touch with the real world, have a conversation with people over the age of three. And facebook lets me feel like I'm still in touch with the people I love from my life before now, and there are many.

    I wish I have advice, but really, all I can do is remind myself that I only have a short time with my kids and that they need me. But, I need support, and I find it through Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Recently I attended a children's church service. It was particularly noisy and most of the chatter came from the older children (teenagers). I realised then that we have not taught children how to appreciate quietness. Adults are also in danger of not setting time aside to be still and quiet. I'm not sure how to maintain the balance. Going for a walk without a phone or ipod is one good way to have some stillness. Fishing is another....but leave the phone, etc. at home. Sitting quietly in a church. (I try to do this a couple of times a week and feel so much more refreshed afterwards.)

    These school holidays (it's winter in Australia) have been particularly cold, foggy and miserable in my region and the children and I have been stuck at home. There's little chance for thinking time with two boys. However, I am grateful that they are happy to be at home playing with Lego and reading books.

  3. Thank you so much for your insights and sharing. I certainly find value in both my connected moments and my quiet, tech-free reflective ones. I appreciate the comments! Thanks again.

  4. I wish my husband had not bought us smart phones last year...I find myself constantly checking for updates when I am waiting somewhere or just a passenger in the car! I have been making an extra effort to "Put the phone down and back away" more often.

    Every summer, we spend a week completely disconnected. It's so strange at first. You don't realize how much you say "let's look it up!" for sometimes trivial bits of information. By the end of the week, it is an amazing rejuvenation of your mind and soul. I highly recommend it!

  5. Jennifer,
    That is a great idea to spend a week disconnected. I really need to try that! My mind and soul get weary from all of the input. Thanks for commenting!


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