Google the golden rule on your device

Relaxing with a good book, Sammie and I sat half dozing. Outside the windows of our den, the sun had withdrawn and swept away the last beautiful hues of a lingering sunset. Suddenly the serene darkness was interrupted by the sound of raindrops on our roof.

In unison, we raised our heads from the books we had been engrossed in and looked at each other. The first to speak, she turned to me with a simple question. “Is that rain?” she asked herself quietly.

“Wait a minute, honey.” I replied, rummaging in my pocket. “Let me check the Weather Channel app on my phone and I’ll see what it’s doing.”

Of course, I was at least half joking in an attempt to entertain my wife, who seemed to be getting a little bored with her book. On the other hand, I was half serious. I knew it was going to rain in Bristol’s historic Fairmount neighbourhood, but before we continued our discussion about the weather, I thought it would be wise to check the forecast on the weather app. The current temperature, the expected overnight low, forecasts of hourly conditions for the next forty-eight hours, projections for the next fifteen days, and maybe even forecasts for the cities where family members live.

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What do you think? Do you agree that we have become too dependent on our electronic devices?

About a dozen years ago, our son called after his first day as a teaching student at a high school in Knox County. “Dad! He was scary in the halls today. He was so calm.”

“That’s bad?” I asked.

“Yeah! The kids were standing at their lockers next to each other, texting instead of talking.”

Have you ever seen people sitting together in a restaurant, texting instead of having a conversation? Perhaps they are checking their email, watching the news or a ball game, or playing a game? Maybe they are texting the person sitting across the table.

How many times have you seen someone on their cell phone, texting, checking social media or whatever while driving? Scared, huh? Have you ever done any of the above? Be honest! I may have done some of those things, but I don’t text while driving. Okay, so maybe I read a text while sitting at a red light, but I didn’t send a text… and I always put my phone down when the rude driver behind me impatiently honks.

Coach Cal was pretty smart about collecting his players’ devices before the Kentucky vs. Tennessee basketball game recently. Unfortunately for us Vols fans, it worked. The Cats were focused enough to get past the Big Orange for the win.

Here are a couple of thoughts:

First, the golden rule says: “Do with others what you would like them to do with you.”

Second, humans can forecast the weather, but we can’t control it. Matthew 5:45 tells us that God sends sunlight on good and bad alike and makes it rain on the just as well as the unjust. And in John 3:8 we find these words: “The wind blows where it wants and you hear it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going.” (To forecast means to offer an informed guess.)

As the weather goes, I have to agree with Mark Twain who said, “Everybody talks about the weather and nobody does anything about it.”

As far as the golden rule goes, our world would be a better place if we just did it!

We talk more about the weather than about the golden rule. Just remember: you can’t do anything about the weather, but you can do something about the way you treat other people… whether it’s an electronic device while driving or just your life in general.

Steve Playl can be contacted by email at

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