Sony Walkman? -- Rev Irvin Stapf, Christ Lutheran, Germantown

Posted by Wittenberg Project on Sunday, February 18, 2024 with No comments

 I am a grandfather and therefore about 40 years removed from raising our five children. But I still think a lot about that era and what my wife and I did with our kids. There were certain patterns in which both Audrey and I were raised, and certain values that we together felt were important. It was these values that guided our family life. I expect the same is pretty much true for other families of my generation. We could list several examples but I'd rather get to the central point at which I'm aiming.  The Walkman!

Of course, one has to be close to my generation to even remember what a Walkman is! They were a portable cassette tape player in the 1960s and '70s. Though they still exist but have graduated to playing CDs rather than tapes, and now even those are well outdated. In any event, it was a big thing with 1970s teens. They had headphones or earbuds and listened to their favorite music as loud as they wanted not bothering anyone else. But back to my parenting. 
I never allowed our kids to have a Walkman. I felt that it closed them in from the world and from others. I remember our vacations in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We would walk along the boardwalk, lots of people around, and many kids all in their own world. I know our children didn't like not having them. And it was not that their music was bad. It is just that when one is distracted in that manner they are not aware of, or more importantly looking for the beauty and interesting things around them in their present world. Or for that matter in conversations with those close by. 
Now move that image 30 or 40 years forward into our time and we can see how this has been multiplied many times over, and with adults included. I'm not opposed to technology. We are all immersed in it. It has its uses obviously, otherwise, I wouldn't be typing this on a laptop and sending it to you over the Internet. But I am opposed to those things that close us into ourselves apart from those around us, and make us unobservant of the beauty and interesting things in our world. ... Did you notice that little green sprout popping out of the ground in response to those few warmer winter days even when there was still some snow around?
Life has meaning. That life is around us all the time in the world God created. There is life in the clerk at the grocery store, and just maybe that clerk needs a bit of life that we might share with them. Life really doesn't come through a smartphone, but through one who learns that many things around us really are pretty neat, that that person really is important to me, and maybe I have a bit of life I can share with them.  Give it some thought. Life in this world God has given us really does have meaning.
(Words we can trust: Jeremiah 18:1-6; 29:11; 31:3,
                  & above all Romans 8:38-39)
Irvin F. Stapf, Jr.
Pastor Emeritus
Christ Lutheran Church, TAALC
Germantown, Md. 
cell: 240-285-4472