This week’s Tech-Wise post comes from Tertius Raubenheimer
In our household, I have the great honor of getting my 3 kids (ages 8, 6, and 3) up and ready for school in the morning and dropping them off. There are days when I don’t even have to wake anyone up or remind someone 5 times to feed the dog and get this: all 6 shoes are at the front door waiting for fully clothed feet to enter! (Mind blown emoji) Then, there are other days that just seem more normal, typical, repetitive, with mind-blown emoji needs — days where someone could get dropped off at school without shoes or socks (it’s possible…really). On both of these types of days, I am actually doing my best to meet the needs of those around me (in this case, my kids).
Each day we all have needs, and often these needs overlap, making it just a little harder to meet them. The more needs that show up at the same time, the harder it gets for needs to be satisfied. One amazing strategy I have deployed is a staggered wake-up time, which I have found to minimize the chance of multiple needs happening at the same time.
During this 2-hour window, my computer is in the basement, and more recently I’ve been leaving my phone in the basement during this window, too. Last week, however, was the first day to apply for a pre-k lottery for my youngest, and there was a benefit in getting his application in ASAP. So, I brought the laptop upstairs and opened the browser to the page so I could refresh it 100 times a minute and figure out how to be the first to apply. It started to feel like there was a growing mountain of needs in making sandwiches, refreshing the webpage, changing diapers, refreshing the webpage, finding a homework folder, and refreshing the webpage. It felt like I was getting closer to snapping at the next person’s sudden and imminent need while reading the rules for this pre-k application. In the end, I think I applied correctly, and somehow all 3 kids got to school with their shoes on.
As I was reflecting on the morning, I observed that this one additional need (the pre-k application) felt like any of the other regular needs, such as: “Please tie my shoelaces.”, or “Where is my other shoe?”, or “Fill my water bottle.”, etc. This additional need, however, increased the intensity/pressure/stress in our home’s atmosphere just a little more than usual, and I only had one webpage open, and one application to fill out. So, I started playing with the thought that viewing one text message conversation is another need, and one email thread is yet another need. I have a hard enough time getting 3 kids and myself out the door in the mornings: Why on earth would I willingly add more pressure to this already difficult task?
I want to be fully present, available, and set myself up to respond to everyone’s needs as best I can. The staggered wake-up time gives us the best chance of having 1 or maybe 2 needs at a time. It seems like my messages, email, phone, social, work, etc need to have a staggered wake time, too…otherwise, I’m going to be getting used to arriving at my kids’ school without my shoes on.
TertiusRaubenheimer is a leader of the Middletown Community Group.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 (NRSV)
Life seems full of a bombardment of needs. Have you ever considered the way each text, each email, each hit of the refresh, does anything but refresh you? Many of us feel like the “weary and burdened” Jesus talks about in Matthew 11 — and we only heap more upon our load when we try to shoulder task upon task simultaneously. We often forget the mental load that a swipe and glance of our phone can add to our burden. Jesus didn’t design us to be the weary and burdened people we lead ourselves to be. What if the light yoke Jesus is calling you to this week is to find ways to… do one thing at a time. It seems like a crazy and near impossible task.
What if you could be fully present in the moment, even if just for a moment? What if you gave yourself permission to stagger the waking of your email and your texts? What could you do this week to minimize multiple needs tugging at you in a moment so you can be a more present and less burdened person?