Part 3 in the series on becoming “tech-wise”
The first two posts in this series laid down a philosophical framework for why we need to take control of our digital devices. Now, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty details. The following is a list of strategies, tools, and thoughts to consider as you use your electronic devices. Try some of these things this week and see what works for you. Then try some more.
- Reduce the number of devices that you use daily and have a philosophy of use for each one. Put certain apps on each device, and intentionally delete (or at least hide) all the extras.
- Don’t keep your phone on your body all day long. Give yourself some physical space for extended periods of time.
- Reduce the number of TVs and computers in your places, and don’t make them the focal point of any room where you spend a lot of time. Hide the screens as much as you can.
- Use paper and pen more. A paperless life is not an ideal life.
- Make sure you have tech-free zones and times in your home, in your office, and in your car.
- Put your tech to bed early. Put your phone, tablet, laptop in the kitchen every night for charging. Don’t bring it into the bedroom. Parents may need to keep children’s devices in their bedroom, since some kids will sneak their phone at night.
- Practice sabbaths from technology use: weekly, daily, hourly. Give your brain a break from the screens regularly. There should be a rhythm to our interaction with technology. There should be a rhythm of work, rest, and play to each day, week, and year.
Continue reading “Taking Control of Your Digital Life”
Becoming Tech-Wise: Philosophy of Use (Part 2 in series)
Technology continues to improve, but is our use of technology improving? Not if we use all our high-tech devices and apps with their default settings. Not if we use them in whatever way feels right at the moment. Not if we go along with what everyone else is doing. Nothing will improve unless we personally change the ways we use technology during our days.
As parents, teachers, and coaches of young people, we see the current struggles that they are having with technology, and we would like to do something about it. But we have little idea about what to do to be helpful.
The answer begins with us. We need to attempt to gain control of our own digital lives, as we also try to help young people gain control of their digital lives. We should put high-tech tools to use in their proper places, and that includes putting them away at times. We need to become tech-wise, not just tech-savvy. We need to lead by example, and teach from our experiences.
Continue reading “Becoming Tech-Wise: Philosophy of Use”
For young people to achieve success in their career, it is no longer enough to have a college degree. New college graduates feel like a successful, satisfying, and sustainable career is out of their reach. But there is good news for them that is not dependent on the whims of the labor market or the stock market.
The answer to this problem can be found in a simple equation: 3 + 1.
“3 Skills + 1 Passion” is an idea I am recycling from Tim Ferris’s new book Tools of Titans. In it, Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, explained what he calls the “double or triple threat.”
Continue reading “3 Skills + 1 Passion”
Teenagers may think that the middle and high school years don’t matter much, and that having fun is paramount. Or they might think that making good grades, making the team, or being popular is what matters most. Those are common viewpoints held by teens and by the culture at large.
Everybody has their value system, but here is a different way of looking at the teen years. We’ve all heard that the teens are building character, one mistake and life lesson at a time. Let me put it a different way: Teens are building a reputation right now, and that reputation will follow them, unfair as that may be.
If I could speak to every 7th grader in the world, I would say something like this:
“Kids, listen up. Who you are right now in school does matter, and here’s why. Who are you are now is how others will remember you 20, 30, even 60 years from now. It’s a snapshot etched in their memory. It may not be fair, but it’s a fact. People will remember what kind of person you were, and it’s that lens that they will see you through, until you are able to replace that lens, which takes a lot of time. Continue reading “Character Matters Sooner Than Later”
The Holidays — the six weeks of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Years — are a magnifier. In general, happy people get happier, sad people get sadder, lonely people get lonelier, etc.
For some, life is going pretty well, and the holidays are the most wonderful time of year, chock full of sentimental decorations, music, food, smells, and traditions that celebrate love, peace, family, friendship, and all that is good in life. The holidays are the icing on a good cake. Bring it on. All of it.
For others, the holidays are not so happy. Instead, it is a time full of the most painful reminders of what is not present in their lives. Continue reading “(Un)Happy Holidays”
A New World Order for Young Teens
7th and 8th grade is when the social life of a child amps up in three ways: importance, intensity, and consequences.
At 13, a child’s social standing becomes extremely important to them, as it has become more important to all the other 13 year olds. For some, it is the most important aspect of life itself. Most teens would rather go without food and shelter than suffer any sort of social trouble.
At 13, a child’s feelings of insecurity, awkwardness, and fear are at an all-time high. The hormones are raging, the insecurities are constant, and the emotional swings are intense. The biggest concern of every day is how to get through that whole day without any public embarrassment. Their fears are fueled by the intense anxieties of their peers. It’s a sea of fears as far as the adolescent eye can see. Continue reading “The Social Combat of Being 13”
Recently, I asked my Facebook friends to give me advice for my 7th graders. Here’s what my friends have learned in their 30 years of growing up since 7th grade.
- Be cool to everyone because there’s a good chance you will either marry, work with, or work for one of them one day.
- “It’s not about the shoes, it’s about what you can do in them.” – Michael Jordan
- The stuff you are worried about is probably the wrong stuff.
- Everywhere you go, leave it better than you found it.
- Sometimes it’s best to just take the butt whoopin’ you deserve and move on.
- The prettiest girls are the ones you don’t notice right away.
- The measure of success you hold now won’t be the same in 20 years. Be good to everyone. Many who aren’t “successful” now will be very successful in 20 years.
- If you want to know what you are like, look around at the people you hang with.
- You can pick you friends, you can pick your nose, but don’t ever ever pick your friend’s nose.
- The person who chooses not to read is no better off than the person who can’t read.
- Manners matter! Always.
- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
- Some days you are the dog, and some days you are the fire hydrant. That’s life.
- There is no such thing as normal…it is only a setting on the dryer.
- Never miss a good chance to shut up.
- “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Leave the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Discover. Dream.” ~ Mark Twain
- Those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them back.
- Sometimes you just have to accept that “It is what it is” and sometimes you should fight it. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou