In our quest to become intentional, purposeful parents we are learning to be all there.Being present is the greatest gift we can give our kids. It’s the greatest gift we can give to anyone actually.
Just yesterday we found ourselves in the dance studio, which isn’t all that unusual as we have two dancers in the house. I left my phone in the van, and my husband’s was safely tucked away in the recesses of his pocket. Over in the corner, hidden away and barely noticeable were a father and son. Waiting of course, as we all do in that smallish room with classical piano coming from the ballet room in one corner and thumping bass from hip hop in another. They both were leaning forward, intent on what was in front of them. The world was lost on them, focused and engrossed in what they were doing. You would hope that it was father and son in rapt conversation. They were actually sitting next to each other, staring at their phones. They were completely enveloped in the small world that was in their hands.
For all it’s charms, technology usually makes our world much smaller. We confine ourselves to the six inch space between our eyes and the screen and we wonder why we miss things. And why our heads hurt and we feel tired. We miss the joys of being present with each other, of conversation and observation of the world around us.
I am not at all against embracing modern technology, but I am learning that it often limits me more than I’d like. It usually sucks more time than I’m willing to give, and often without me realizing it. And seriously, have you ever been a conversation with someone and had them pull out their phone mid stream? Awkward. And rude.
But, I wonder how often do I pick up my phone to check email and find myself hunkered in front of that tiny screen half an hour later?
Do I ever think I’ll check Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest for just a moment and lose an hour?
As a family we are learning to set limits on the amount of technology we allow ourselves to be tied to. We place rules on when the phones come out and for how long. We are doing this because we realize that we need to be present for each other as a family. Our kids need our availability and our presence just as much as we want theirs.
And really, when it comes time to be honest, I want my children to know how to engage in real conversation. I want them to feel comfortable around people, open to others and aware of the world around them. When the day comes for them to own their own mobile devices, I want their default to be real face to face time. Without a fight from their parents.
We already know we often lose teenagers to technology, it’s usually not intentional but it happens just the same. I want to be proactive in this area.
Curious about this? Tomorrow I’ll share how that looks at our house in this season our lives.