I’ll take that iPhone…NOT

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via AP
 Florida Keys

A major hurricane recently devastated the city of Houston and surrounding cities and towns. A second hurricane destroyed parts of the Caribbean and the Keys while over four million people in Florida are currently without power. On a single night, there are as many as half a million people on our nation’s streets without homes. Approximately 43 million Americans live in poverty. But fear not, the new Apple iPhone 8 is here, and it will only cost you $1000. For just pennies, you can have a device that will keep you in the loop socially, tie you to your office, aid you in your FOMO (fear of missing out), and cost you countless hours of lost time while you surf the Internet or play a game. Why worry about those in need when you can drop $1000 on a phone?

I could go on and on about the negative effects that smartphones are having on our children. And that’s scary, folks, I mean, truly Stephen King type horrific. I could talk about how social media is destroying our mental health.  I could tell you about the new findings on the adverse effects of cell phones on your children’s learning in school. But those things are everywhere, and I pray that parents, physicians, and educators are paying attention and proceeding with caution. 

But here’s what bothers me the most about the new $1000 iPhone. I’m sure you guessed it. Yep, it’s the $1000 ticket price. When did we become a group of people who willingly, without blinking, spend $1000 on a phone? Do you know how many meals that could buy in a place like Guatemala or Colombia or Ethiopia or even at your local food pantry? Do you know how many children that could clothe? 

And here’s the real kicker. How many kids will be the recipient of an iPhone 8 for Christmas this year? If you’re considering being one of those beloved parents, check out the links above about what these phones are doing to our children already!

A young man I love like a son headed to Florida on Sunday with a nearly empty wallet and little more than the clothes on his back to help the flood victims. He and his friends are sleeping in their vehicles, begging for supplies from friends and family, so that they can help others in need. Can you imagine what they could do for others with that $1000 that someone reading this is about to drop on a phone? 

jane-jetsonOkay, enough of my preaching. I will admit that I love Apple. I love my MacBook Pro and I am seldom without my iPhone 6 (all paid for and not being replaced any time soon). I hold no ill will against the company or anyone who buys their products. I just can’t help but wonder where we, as a society, is heading when we don’t even blink at the cost of a $1000 phone. I sure hope that, if I ever own one, it will make the beds, do the laundry, and cook my dinner for me. At that price, it should do all that and more.

If you want to support a group of Marines in their efforts to help Hurricane Irma victims, please click here.  Good luck, men. Semper Fi.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Beautiful Land Across the Water.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)



Choosing to Serve

Mount St Mary’s Students volunteering at St Vincent DePaul in Philadelphia.

When you get a call from your child that begins, “I have something to tell you, but I’m afraid you’re going to hate me,” all kinds of things run through your mind in the seconds that it takes for you to swallow, blink, say a prayer, and respond, “I could never hate you.  What’s up?”  It’s the equivalent of your life passing before your eyes, but it’s your child’s future that you see instead of your past, all of the horrible possibilities.  There are so many sentences that could follow that exchange, and I’m very relieved to say that the one that my daughter proudly said did not surprise me at all.  “I’m thinking of taking off a year or so after graduation and becoming a FOCUS missionary instead of going directly to law school.”

There are certain moments in a parent’s life when you find your heart swelling with emotion over the person your child has become.  The older they get, and the more they accomplish, the more you marvel at the things they are able to do and all that they make of their lives.  Rebecca graduated from high school at the age of seventeen and embarked on the college career she had always planned.  She earns excellent grades, heads up a handful of organizations, volunteers endlessly, and has made quite a stellar name for herself both on and off campus.  As she grows into the woman I always knew she would be, she becomes the woman I wish I could be.

My daughter, Katie, building a wheelchair ramp for a stranger.

Many people talk about leading a life dedicated to serving others.  Few people actually do it in a way that really matters, but Rebecca does.  Every day.  This past weekend, she and a group of students from Mount St. Mary’s University spent the weekend literally living out the Corporal Works of Mercy by serving food in a shelter, visiting with the elderly, and volunteering at an event for men overcoming addiction.  ‘Hate’ her for wanting to spend a year in service to God and others?  I don’t think so.  Law school isn’t going anywhere; and soon enough, Rebecca will be working full time, married, and taking care of children of her own.  But when she graduates college as a barely twenty-year-old who has already accomplished more than many will accomplish in their entire lives, she will be able to hold her head up high and tell people, “I’m doing something better than going to law school.  I’m doing God’s work.”  I couldn’t be a prouder or happier mom, and the best part is that she has two sisters who are just as special as she is.

Mount St. Mary’s students visiting the elderly.

Think of what our world would be like if more young people were taught to serve others instead of always wanting more for themselves.  Many school systems across this country require students to obtain service hours before graduation, but there are strings.  In a great number of those school districts, volunteering for one’s church, or for any religious based organization, is prohibited.  Recently, a national organization for which I put in many hours myself every year, has begun prohibiting girls from earning their service awards through helping other non-profit organizations such as local fire departments.  Exactly what kind of “service” are children allowed to do these days?   How and where are they learning to put others first and to tend to the needs of those who can’t take care of themselves?  I doubt that many Americans under the age of fifty have ever done true acts of service.  Sure, we all volunteer at school or coach a sports team, but how many of us have worked at a soup kitchen, volunteered at a homeless shelter, or visited the sick or elderly who we don’t even know?

Does anyone even remember President Kennedy’s famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”?  He was speaking about service, as was President Reagan when he said “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”  I challenge everyone out there – every parent, every college and high school student, every young child – to find a way to serve others, to help someone.  Instead of relying on the government to fix everything, let’s start thinking of how we can step in and help people ourselves.  If every single person gave just a few days a year to be of service to others, our world would be a much different and enormously better place.  Everyone would see the world through the eyes of someone else, and more importantly, learn how it feels to actually do something phenomenal for one another, even if it’s as simple as sitting in a hospital and holding the hand of somebody with nobody else to be there for them.  So I ask, how are you being called to serve?

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books:  Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015)

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