When a builder builds a house, he subcontracts much of the work. The carpenter has a job, the plumber puts in the pipes. Together, they collaborate to create something useful and hopefully well-constructed.
Parents sometimes subcontract some of their jobs. We have the schools teach our children and the churches instill them with values. Scouting equips them with life skills and their sports coach teaches them good sportsmanship and leadership skills. We pay our dollars and drive carpools to allow others to help raise our children. In moderation, this works for many families.
The Associated Press recently ran an article about how technology is allowing us to outsource self-control (http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2010/12/outsourcing_self-control_ameri.html)
There are an increasing number of apps and programs to help us. A GPS enabled app can lock down texting from the car, another device monitors physical exercise and gives feedback, and an Internet blocking program can shut down web access for a specified time to allow the user to get some work done.
Several court systems require convicted drunk drivers to usa Intoxalock – an ignition lock attached to an in-car breathalyzer. Credit card users can partake in a program that cuts off your access when you have reached a set limit.
Leanne Italie, author of the article cited above, asks, “Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can’t manage our own desires?” The trend is referred to as “outsourcing self-control” or de-teching,” whose goal is to make us more mindful. The article concludes by predicting that we will see more and more technology “that saves us from ourselves.”
If the goal is to increase mindfulness, here’s an idea: How about turning off all the electronics, sending the subcontractors home, and sitting on the couch and talking? Share your day, tell stories, have a hug, talk to each other, love each other.
Don’t subcontract or outsource your life or your family life. In the end, I want to have a heart full of love and a brain jammed with great memories.