We live in an era of information overload. The Screen Age is playing a pivotal role in our generation, much like the Stone Age did eons ago. From smartwatches to smart TVs, screens of varying sizes and shapes beckon our wandering minds with a siren song.
A few years ago, my then 9-year-old sons seemed to be too attached to their gadgets. So, I instituted a checklist of sorts that they had to complete before they got any screen time. On school days, their checklist included their homework and daily chores. On holidays, they should have been creative, active and productive that day before they could use a screen.
The C-A-P acronym was easy to remember and it’s something we follow to date.
Creative: This includes art, music, mechanics, crafts, puzzles and the like.
Active: They had to play outside for a while or complete a fun exercise routine.
Productive: They should have learnt something new or helped around the house.
With all these boundaries in place, my sons now spend only a limited time on screens. They know it’s something they have to work for.
While I’m happy my boys have restricted screen time, my screen usage is a different matter altogether! Recently, I downloaded an app that told me how many hours I was spending on the phone each day. The daily reports left me flabbergasted! Considering that I spend a good part of my day looking at a computer screen for work, I realised I was spending altogether way too much time in front of screens.
The dawn of the new year gave me just the momentum I needed to instil my kids’ checklist for myself and minimise my screen time as well.
While I am fairly productive and active on a daily basis, being creative was not something I deliberately pursued. While some of us may use our creative streak at work or home to get things done, we seldom intentionally create something just for the fun of it. When you think about it, God – the Master Creator, created us in His own image. We are creators too!
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
God has ingrained in each of us specific talents, skills, and abilities to create something that glorifies His name and benefits the world around us.
“He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.” Exodus 35:35
I know from experience that when we make space in our lives to create something beautiful, it instantly changes our disposition, makes us feel better, and in turn, brightens up the lives around us.
Creativity might look different for each of us. I believe I’m being creative when I write or sew. My husband would prefer to paint or work on a choral arrangement. Your creative skills may be in the realm of music, art, crafts, journaling, baking, knitting, planning or organising.
But what if we consciously made the decision to create something tangible with our hands before we consumed the boatloads of information literally available at our fingertips?!
Think about it…
What if you chose to doodle a Bible verse before you opened WhatsApp in the morning?
What if you intentionally made time to create a piece of art instead of checking your newsfeed again?
What if you reached for a musical instrument instead of answering the phone’s hundredth ping that day?
I imagine our lives would be completely transformed by the simple act of creating truth and beauty before we consumed the junk on the internet each day. This simple, intentional act will help us use our time wisely and be more present for our families in our day to day lives.
And the bonus is that we get to use the creative talents God has so graciously given us – improve our skills, bless the people in our lives, and ultimately, glorify God.
I’m learning to intentionally create something tangible before I consume whatever’s on the other side of my screen. What are you going to create today?