Sunday, October 23, 2016

Put Away the Smart Phone

Kids really need our undivided attention.  I know that we need to cook, clean, and even do things that are for us and not just our child.  I get that.

But, here's the thing.  Put the phone away.  Our kids really need to know that they matter more than our phones.  I'm not saying that we need to do this 100% of the time, but what I do mean is that there are many times when our undivided attention is crucial.  Our kids need lots of time when technology isn't dividing us from them.

Try taking your kid to the park and leaving the phone at home.  Spend an hour at the park with them.  Play with them, swing with them, get on the slide with them.  Do it without a phone.

At home, try putting the phone away for hours at a time.  Turn the ringer off.  Turn off the TV and computer.  Just try it for an hour.  Then, work up to two hours or more.

Turning off technology means we have to get creative and enter our kids' worlds.  I'm not saying we need to ditch technology all together, but we need to set up specified amounts of time when our attention to our kids is undivided.  There is nothing more heart breaking for me than when I see a parent surfing the internet on their phone when their kid is begging them to watch them swing on the monkey bars.  Is it really that hard to pay attention to them?

I don't want people to feel ashamed of themselves for being on their phone in front of their kids all the time.  That isn't my goal.  I know it takes a lot of effort to put our attention into our kids for long periods of time.  Nevertheless, this is a real issue of emotional attachment with our kids that needs to be addressed by each of us as parents.  The goal isn't to feel ashamed.  The goal is to try to do what we can for our kids over time.  Just try to do good to them and see what happens.

On a spiritual note, I think we need to know that we are forgiven.  If we know that we are forgiven for neglecting our children then we can finally start to do good to them.  We don't have to try to make up for lost time.  We can simply try to do good as much as we can to them in any given moment in the present.

(photo by Joris Louwes taken with permission from flickr creative commons