The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (January 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (January 2019)

We’re going to give something new a try here on the blog: Andrea, one of our resident bibliophiles (and board member), is going to write a monthly post about what she’s learned from the books she’s reading. (Special thanks to Lindsay Blackburn for coming up with this column’s name.) Today, she’s here with what she learned in January:

Books are my favourite. I read voraciously and have since I handed my mother a book at 2 years old and said, “Teach me to read.” Over the last few years, I’ve read even more than I had previously, largely because I’ve been participating in Goodreads’ Reading Challenge and once I’ve set my target number of books for the year, I’m too competitive with myself not to hit it. My 2019 goal is 75 books and as I’m writing this, I’ve finished eight books so far and am part way through another two. Most of this month’s reading has been fun fiction, but I’ve finished two non-fiction books that I’m still thinking about: The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch and The Common Rule by Justin Earley.

As you probably guessed from the title, The Tech-Wise Family is written primarily for parents, but after a lot of my friends said how good it was, I decided to give it a shot, even though I’m single and don’t have kids. And I’m really glad I did.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that I waste too much time scrolling aimlessly through my social media feeds, clicking on those pointless ‘which character are you’ quizzes and generally hoping for something interesting to divert me. But at the same time, in a season of very, very few deep, in-person friendships, the relationships I’ve forged online, the real friendships I’ve developed through social media, have been vital to me. So, the recommendations to just delete my accounts have been really unhelpful. I’ve been left struggling to figure out what boundaries would be healthy for me, to figure out what changes I need to make so that I’m using social media as a collection of communication and learning tools, rather than as a lazy way (This is true of me and my tendencies. Please don’t read this as a universal judgment.) to fill time or numb myself.

I had already gone through my feeds to make sure I was following friends, writers and authors I admire and want to learn from, plus a smattering of fun stuff since the rest of my feed can be pretty heavy. I unfollowed friends (and “friends”) whose posts weren’t adding anything of substance to my feeds. But none of that really impacted the amount of time I was frittering away.

After implementing the first practice of The Common Rule — scripture before screens — and tweaking and modifying some of the commitments in The Tech-Wise Family so that they work in my life, I’m making headway. Although both books call out our bad habits around social media, they don’t just stop there. They help the reader understand why we’ve developed these bad habits so easily and why they’re so hard to shake. And then they offer alternatives, good habits with which to replace the bad ones. Both Crouch and Earley present a better way to orient our lives, to focus on what is good, true, and beautiful, while admitting that they practice their own rules imperfectly. They both argue convincingly, though, that it’s better to imperfectly practice intentional habits than to be swept up by the unintentional ones our culture makes too easy to follow.

So really, what I’ve learned is that I’m way more addicted to my phone (and those browser tabs) than I thought. I’ve turned off most — but not all — of my notifications. I should probably stick my phone in my desk drawer. The compulsion to check it every few minutes is real and one I want to break. I want to spend more time reading, playing music, and knitting- things I truly love to do and derive a real sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from — and less time scrolling past cat videos and the latest outrage fuel. These books have given me the framework I need to make that a reality, not something I’m still saying six months from now.

If you’d like to read The Tech-Wise Family for yourself, you can buy it here. I was fortunate to get an advanced copy of The Common Rule as a member of the launch team. It’s out now and you can order it here. If you’d like to learn more about it you can visit thecommonrule.org.

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (February 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (February 2019)

What Ifs and White Dresses

What Ifs and White Dresses