The title above probably gives you pause. What does an electronic timepiece have to do with a Classical Christian school, especially a Classical Christian school that restricts the use of cellphones during the school day, and values face-to-face conversation over against electronic interactions? Before I answer that, I must confess that I have a love-hate relationship with my Apple watch. I love the man who gave the watch (my best friend for over forty years), but I hate the most of watch's abilities—I use few apps, keep the watch on silent, and ignore Siri. So is a Luddite such as myself even teachable?
Let's just say my watch is relentless. The more it torments (or is the word "reminds"?) me, the more it teaches me. Aside from informing me of texts without interrupting my classes or conversations, and, of course relaying the time, this piece of jewelry is mostly an unwelcome nag. But in three ways, the nagging watch has taught me about our school. First of all, the watch tells me to breathe. Now you would think at my age that I knew how to breathe and that I did it with regularity. Actually I was a bit offended that this timepiece questioned my respiration. Rather than silence it, however, I began to think—I do need to remember to take time to listen to the Holy Spirit, and Greek word for "spirit" can be translated "breath." So when the "Breathe" message appears, I stop to pray and ask the Spirit's guidance for every Wilberforce community member, decision, and plan.
The watch also tells me to stand, by which it means "become upright and move." For me as a member of the faculty of this school, however, the word "stand" calls to mind the life of William Wilberforce, the man who for twenty years stood at the British Parliament calling for the end to the slave trade--in season and out, at the expense of health and acclaim and rest. So when my watch says "Stand," it reminds me of what we are doing at our school, of the mission to which we train students: to be "of use to God in the wise care and governance of his creation and in the building of His kingdom." We stand for God's truth and move toward His design so that our students will be equipped to stand and move for His glory within their generation.
Finally, my watch counts my steps; so far today there are 8,441 of them. Psalm 37:23-24 states: "The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong for the Lord upholds his hand." As I move through the halls of 99 Clarksville, climbing and descending stairways, visiting playgrounds and pray grounds, listening to discussions and watching volleyball matches, I remember who guides my way, who upholds my hand. Step by step He enables. My watch may be relentless (and at times quite patronizing), but I am grateful for this reminder of our Lord and His presence.
So my Apple Watch is slightly less annoying to me than it was a first. As I breathe in the Spirit, stand for His truth, and acknowledge His presence, I am grateful for my electronic nanny. But I am still not adding any apps.