Recently I was at the park with my son, enjoying a rare warm day at the end of November. The sun was shining, my son was laughing, and everything seemed right with the world.
Well, almost everything. You see, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had become the one thing I did not want to become: a parent focusing more on their cell phone than their child.
It was not that I was ignoring my son. Quite the contrary. I was chasing him around, following him up and down the jungle gym, and sliding down slides right along side him. However, I found myself over and over again checking my Twitter feed and my email account. Instead of burning these precious memories into my mind, I was busy trying to upload them onto Instagram. Life was happening all around me, but I was too busy trying to apply the right filter to my square-shaped photo to really truly enjoy it.
I could not believe what I had become. I had always shook my head in disappointment at the parents on the playground whom had their eyes trained on their phones rather than interacting with their children. I could never understand what could be so important that they would let these precious moments slip by. Why would you not take these times to be childlike again, enjoying life for the gift it truly is?
Am I advocating for never taking photos of our kids again? Do I think we are terrible people for trying to stay connected with the digital world? No and no.
However, what I (and collectively we, as parents) need to do is focus more on the life in front of us. Our children will on day thank us for all the great times we shared together, laughing and playing and getting a little dirty in the mud. We can, in turn, thank our children for keeping us young and reminding us to treasure the world around us.
So the next time you are at the playground, out for a walk, or even just sitting at home, put your phone down and play with your kids. Life’s precious moments are few and time is so fleeting. The internet is eternal…your Twitter feed will be there waiting for you, Facebook will still allow you to like posts, and your Instagram followers will forgive you for not posting multiple photos today.
Are you guilty of being attached to your phone? What’s your greatest vice? Share in the comments!