Creating The Future
I just finished watching Apple’s “Spring Forward” event. If you know me, you know that I’ve been an Apple fanboi since the very first Mac’s came out in 1984. So, of course I’d spend ninety minutes of a workday watching an Apple event! While I miss Steve Jobs’ ability to sway an audience with his “Reality Distortion Field”, I enjoy getting a glimpse of what the folks in Cupertino have created for us mere mortals.
Today’s event featured the Apple Watch, a groundbreaking device that, if my family pays attention to my birthday present hints (read, “pleas and downright begging”) will reside on my wrist soon. That’s because I love watches. Always have. I’d have a different watch for each day of the month if I could. And, I love impressive new gadgets. Always have. After all, I owned an original Apple Newton (and endured scorn and ridicule because of it.)
There was, however, about a three-year period that I didn’t wear a watch. I noticed that none of the teenagers I was around were wearing watches. They always had their phone with them, and would pull their phone out of their pocket or purse to check the time. That seemed kind of cumbersome for just checking the time, but then I realized they were also checking to see if there were any new texts. That’s when I quit wearing a watch—I didn’t want to be seen as clinging to an old technology or mannerism. (Thankfully, kids began wearing watches again a couple of years ago. Big, honking things. I went back to wearing my pilot and hiker watches.)
So, I’ll be wearing an Apple Watch, for more reasons than just being a geeky gadget-and-watch-loving youth leader. Here are a few of my other reasons, and why I think that youth leaders need to stay on top of emerging technologies.
1. It’s Forward Thinking
This new gadget doesn’t merely replace my old watches with a new wiz-bang version of telling time. It opens a myriad of doors to new areas that can benefit from tech. Health tracking; even more timely and intimate texting than is available by phone; productivity and schedule help; Apple Pay; and more to come as developers figure out more cool things that a wearable device can help with.
2. It’s Cool
Youth leaders cannot afford to be dorks. I know, it’s a sad truth. While I can’t (and don’t) try to be “hip and with it” by adopting teenage styles and lingo, I do need to be someone that a teenager thinks is a cool old codger. Adopting new tech is one way I can remain up to speed with the fast changing youth culture.
3. It’s Functional
I can hardly wait to control the music playback or Keynote slideshow in a youth room from my Apple Watch. Or, use it to schedule an after-school “Fries and Coke” meetup with a couple of kids. Or, track my hikes, heart rate, and calorie burn with it. Or even freak out some parents with the “Fart” app!
The event concluded with this statement: “And that’s what we are focused on – pushing forward and creating the future.” That’s could also be said of us in youth ministry. Pushing forward and creating the future is one reason I’ve stayed in youth ministry so long. We live in the future!