On Wednesday, I walked from Sam Wilson Hall to the Culp Center and passed four very close friends, yet not one of them acknowledged my existence. Who is to blame? Apple.
If you were to take a five-minute walk on ETSU’s campus, you would find that the overwhelming majority of students are not looking at where they are going, but rather texting while walking.
A couple months ago I was almost hit by one of the campus mowers because a fellow student was on her phone and walked me off the sidewalk and onto the mower’s area of attention. I began to think, what is so important that we can’t even walk 100 yards to our next class without checking social media? I mean, it’s fall y’all! The trees are at their foliage peak and we aren’t even enjoying it.
Maybe I am biased and maybe I am the one missing something. After all, I still am representing with the common flip phone, the Samsung Rugby III to be exact. In fact, my phone has survived the swimming pool, the washing machine, the Watauga river and the weight of a John Deere tractor. I can talk, text, add, subtract, multiply, divide and it can even hold a charge for three whole days. I can’t get internet, so I’m never tempted to let social media impair my walking safety. I just go from class to class and wave at my peers who never look up.
It worries me though that our generation has become so obsessed with a digital box. Our communication skills are depleting and we look like robots going to and fro. Perhaps I’m being harsh and I’m just upset that I don’t have anyone to talk to when I walk to class, but maybe we are losing something. Maybe we are ridding ourselves of one of the greatest assets we have available to us all—people.
In one of my classes this week, we were assigned to watch a commencement speech by Notre Dame coaching giant Lou Holtz. In the speech, Holtz said that the perfect life consisted of four things: Having something to do, having someone to love, having something to believe in and having something to hope for. Holtz went to work every day and not only coached, but he impacted the lives of hundreds of college men. He’s been married to the same woman for 56 years; he believes in Jesus and he hopes every day of helping someone. All four things that Holtz lives for involve people.
So let’s get out of our phones and open our eyes to what’s in front of us. You just never know what or who you’ll get to see today.