The mayor had emerged refreshed and inspired from the weekend, and heard a message at church given by a man by the name of Craig Jutila. Craig has a website and “brand” that caught my eye, and it is www.whowillyouempower.com. The theme of “empowering” is something that is certainly near and dear to the mayor’s heart, as is evidenced in the Youth Commission. Craig’s message on Sunday morning had to do with what he called the “time-starved family,” and posed the question, “What should I feed my time-starved kids?” Craig asked the question: “Is it easier to raise kids now, or 25 years ago?” I would have to say 25 years ago because social media had not yet become a set point for cultural definition.
Mayor Ronnie laughed as he told me one of Craig’s tales about the combination of having too many choices and too many “devices.” Craig, who is from California, had taken his family out for what he thought would be a fairly straightforward family outing, going to a movie. He was standing in line to buy tickets, while the family was off to the side, out of earshot, all absorbed in keeping up with what was on their phones. The viewing choices had to do with IMAX, Surround Sound, or just regular, and because Craig couldn’t get the attention of his family, even by texting, he chose IMAX. The four tickets cost him $98.00!
And while Craig sees the value of technology and even social media, he acknowledges that we are hurrying ever faster to get through life, and our kids are suffering. Using Scripture to seal his points, he said, “Feed your kids a healthy lifestyle, moments of rest, and uninterrupted time together.” That means that there have to be times when everyone’s cell phone is off, with no exceptions. There is simply no other way to defeat “the tyranny of the urgent.”
Mayor Ronnie’s first experience with texting was at an Alabama basketball game about ten years ago, where a girl showed him her text sent to another girl about a cute boy at the game, and he assumed one of the girls was not present. He had a chance to chat with her further, and to his surprise, both of them were just a few feet away from each other. The reason for texting rather than sitting together and talking was simply explained as, “I like it this way.”
He, like the rest of us, has to manage what comes through on his phones and his email, and there are days he feels like he’ll never get to the end of the electronic to-do list. However, the other part of Craig’s message was one that we all need to take to heart, whether we are Facebook fanatics or not: learn to recognize the seasons, and live each season well. “We are just in too much of a rush, all the way through life,” he said. “We want to get married and have kids, and then we are anxious to have them leave. Then we are impatient about them coming back with grandkids, and on it goes.” One of the solutions Craig gave was to recognize what season you are in, and live it to the fullest. “Don’t rush through it!”
“The season we are in is fast growth in Limestone County, and we must build the foundation that can handle growth and be a support for families,” the mayor said. It was then time to pray, and it was a mutual “Lord, help us” prayer. On this particular day he was dealing with potholes along with projects that could garner several million dollars in economic growth for our city and county, and he needed help from on high, without apology. Then, as the time had flown by once again, and our phones chirped demandingly, it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner