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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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