This week I went to dinner with my wife. We decided to go to a Japanese steak house. You know the type…where they cook the food right in front of you on a large hibachi grill. It’s really dinner and a show as the chef does all sorts of wild things with the food to keep you entertained.
There were eight of us at the table. Six members of another family and my wife and I would all be sharing our dinner table together. We were all seated around the grill waiting for the show to start. The cook appeared and started the usual entertaining dinner antics but something even more interesting was occurring with the other family at the table.
The family having dinner with us had three teenage girls. One of the girls pulled out an iPad and set it up right in front of the grill. She wasn’t concerned at all with the cook who was doing his best to entertain everyone. In fact, she wasn’t even watching him. When her food was done the cook had to reach (with some difficulty) over the girl’s iPad to get the food on her plate. The other two girls in the family pulled out phones and immediately began texting. Neither girl was watching the chef and both had no interest in what the chef was doing or saying. Mom, dad, and grandma said nothing as the girls typed away all through dinner.
Dinner was quite awkward as the chef did his best to cook a great meal and entertain a group of teens that clearly wanted no part of his entertainment. I noticed that at the conclusion of the meal the family hadn’t spoken more than twenty words to each other.
This type of behavior is so common throughout our culture. I was talking to a young lady a few days ago who displayed the skinned knees she received when she fell while she was walking and texting. I watched a video recently of a woman who walked off the side of a pier and fell into the ocean while she was texting. I’ve watched people in church texting furiously while the pastor was giving the Sunday morning message.
Parents, it’s up to us to teach our children social skills and manners. The chef I spoke about earlier was clearly insulted by the activity of customers’ texting throughout the meal. Many of us have also encountered rude behavior when people stop us in mid-sentence to answer a text.
If you want to make an impression today, put your phone away when you are at a social function. If someone invites you to dinner, focus on that person not your phone. If you are invited to someone’s home, leave your phone in the car and engage in some conversation. Let people know you are interested in them, not your electronics.
It is our communication skills and our genuine concern for others that will impact the lives of others. If you really want to help someone, learn about them, and show them the love of Christ, put your phone away, look them in the eye and simply talk.