Eugene Cho

Technology: Even that which can a blessing can grow to be a burden or worse, a curse.

Hey everyone. I’m back from vacation and back to the swing of reality. During my two week vacation, I took 10 days to un-plug, de-plug, get off the grid, and attempt to do a tech detox.

It’s not that I think everyone should do this but I realized that I needed to do this. Yet, I wonder if others are in need of regularly examining how they engage their digital lives. Technology addition is becoming a growing phenomenon and will be increasingly an issue. How do we know this? Because insurance companies are now beginning (out of necessity) to cover technology addiction – for both adults and children.

Technology is an amazing thing, isn’t it? What we’re able to do  – personally  and through our various circles of work, ministries, or organizations is nothing short of amazing. And even on a global scale, it is stunning to see.

A blessing can become a burden or a curse.

But even that which can a blessing – if not guarded well – can grow to be a burden or worse, a curse.

I see technology – like many other things – through that perspective.

It’s not that technology or social media was destroying my marriage, my life, or my ability to connect with my children. Not at all but in subtle and slight ways, it was becoming a growing nuisance. A thorn. A bother. A sore.

On couple occasions, my smartphone crept out of my pockets during my date nights with Minhee. I don’t know how it did that but it just crept out and next thing you know, my fingers were swiping pages left and right, texting, checking scores, etc. Epic fail. Clearly, Minhee wasn’t impressed.

Last year, I asked one of my daughters a very blunt question about how I could be a better father. One of her three answers was very simple:

“Less computers. More games with me…”

That’s a no frills, no holds barred answer.

This is why – for vacation (for the past 5 years) – I enjoy going to this very small town of 200 people in Nebraska so much. While the phone barely has a scant signal, we don’t have cable, internet, Netflix, and whatever tech stuff that can possibly get in the way of quality family time:

What did we do? Lots of driving. Games. Food. And of course fishing.

For me, fishing is just good for my soul and I’m so glad that my kids are starting to enjoy it as well.

Trinity caught the first three fish of our family derby:

Jubilee – as usual – did great. She might have a chance of going to college on a D-I fishing sports scholarship. You think I’m joking, right? Some schools in the South actually have this. Hmm…

Jedi caught the most fishing among the kids. One one day, he caught a cool 12 fishes and I’m not talking about on his Wii console. I’m talking real life. He caught one fish (a catfish) that nearly dragged him into the water. Here’s one of the basses he caught:

As for me, I probably caught over couple hundred fish including this nice beauty. We ended up releasing everything with the exception of one northern pike and one catfish.

My hopes for a more accountable tech engagement:

1. I aspire to have quality time and dates with Minhee without the third wheel of my smartphone.

2. I aspire to carve out several hours each night where I’m not on my computer, laptop, or smartphone. Instead,  I aspire to crush my wife and kids as we play more games. Crush them until they ask for mercy.

3. I take “sabbath” over two periods of 6 hours and I aspire to sabbath from tech during those periods.

And of course, I really need to do more fishing…

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6 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Good ideas about keeping technology in its place. Overall I think more fishing is a great solution, time on the water is good for the soul!

  2. kcwebgirl says:

    nice catches! i so miss fishing with my dad and uncles. try to go every chance i get to go home for a visit.

  3. Karen says:

    Great advice. We go to a similar spot on the Oregon Coast each year where there is zero internet or cell reception. It’s amazing how well we can live without them…

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One Day’s Wages

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Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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