At least put down the cell phone!

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Last week the Moses Lake School District sent all of its music teachers to the NAfME conference in Bellevue. NAfME means National Association for Music Education. It is a fancy name for a music teacher’s conference.

I am not a big fan of conferences no matter what they are for. One reason is they are usually on the west side of Washington state, and I really hate driving over there.

But whether or not I wanted to, I had to attend.

As usual, traffic was terrible, Maybe it was due to the thousands of music teachers all trying to reach the same place at the same time.

I missed the entrance to the hotel the first time and had to circle the block a couple of times before making it into the driveway. It was car to car with no parking in sight. The attendant asked if I wanted valet service for $136 dollars a day.

I asked what my other options were. He said I could go around the block again and park under the building for $25.

Since I am rather frugal, I chose the underground option. I thanked him and he replied, “Welcome to Chaos!” As the weekend went on, I understood what he was talking about.

I survived a 450-space underground parking garage, a check-in at a fancy hotel where my school district had forgotten to pre-pay for my room, an elevator that would only work if I swiped my room key (unhandy with handfuls of luggage) and a room with no microwave.

Throughout this whole experience, I took the time to watch other people. There were thousands there, and it seemed that no one took the time to speak to anyone else.

There were groups of two and three that knew each other and talked, but on average, people were just doing their own thing or playing on their phones.

Whatever happened to friendliness or community? At this conference, I missed that. I did spend time with my own colleagues but I sure didn’t get to know anyone new.

Romans 12:5 says, “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

This says to me to be friendly, show love and support one another. Talk with all people, not just your friends and show the face of God everywhere.

At least put down the phone!

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