By now we have all heard of the dangers of texting and driving, yes that 45-degree head tilt is a dangerous idea while operating a vehicle at any speed. Yet, it seems like daily there is a tragic story of death, serious injury, and destruction because someone felt they could handle the 45-degree tilt. Guess what? We can’t! It is an unnatural physical position for the serious responsibility we take when we get behind the wheel. While we might get away with it for a while, I encourage all of us to not play against the odds and stop doing this unsafe behavior. Enough on that soap box.
There is another soap box I am going to get on and it also includes the dangers of the 45-degree head tilt, I call it “45-degree disengagement syndrome”. I have seen this in restaurants where people at the same table are engaged in their cell phones for a lengthy time; I am not talking about a minute to do something fun like “check-in” or posting a picture of your incredible steak dinner, but rather the focus is on the electronic device and not on the person sitting across from them.
I observe the 45-degree tilt in a most troubling way around the school I work at. Youth practice on an adjacent soccer field regularly and I see parents in their cars doing the 45-degree tilt totally oblivious to what their child is doing on the field (and yes, I understand some coaches might prefer this). But the point is, often when we employ the 45-degree tilt we are disengaging from people because of our self-interests.
Initially I thought this is a relatively new syndrome that can be blamed on the smartphone, tablet, or other electronic devices and even a generational trend. However, the more I thought about it the more I realized this is not new, we just have new delivery systems. Back in the “old days” newspapers, books, and table games with a block of wood and golf tees caused the 45-degree tilt. Yes, sometimes the old and new devices were the source of good conversation and laughter—and that is a good thing!
The issue is not generational or communication devices, the problem is the value we place on others when we engage them. Paul addresses this in Philippians 2:3 – 4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
When I value and look to the interest of others, my head must be at 0-degrees to be fully engaged with them; 45-degrees is engaged with myself.