Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Limiting My Distractions

One of my Facebook friends linked to "How to Miss a Childhood" mainly about parents being overly attached to and distracted by their phones and not their children.  I don't have a smart phone, heck, I don't even have texting turned on!  But, the advice still hit home when it comes to projects and other interests.  In fact, while working in the yard tonight, I remembered I needed to be more engaged with my kids who wanted to show me the cool tricks they could do on the swing and how fast they could go down the slide.  Here are some tips from the article that I want to remember:

How to Miss a Childhood
  • Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority.
  • Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand & treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
  • Decide the app you're playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
  • Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
  • While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
  • Go to your child's sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won't notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
  • Check your phone first thing in the morning ... even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
  • Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
  • Don't look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an "uh huh" so she thinks you were listening.
  • Lose your temper with your child when he "bothers" you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
  • Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can't she see you're busy?
  • Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day, or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
  • Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won't remember you did this all the time.
  • Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Follow this recipe and you will have:
  • Missed opportunities for human connection
  • Fewer chances to create beautiful memories
  • Lack of connection to the people most precious to you
  • Inability to really know your children and them unable to know you
  • Look into her eyes when she speaks to you. Your uninterrupted gaze is love to your child.
  • Take time to be with him & really be with him by giving your full attention. The gift of your total presence is love to your child.
  • Hold his hand, rub her back, and smooth his hair. Your gentle touch is love to your child.
  • Greet her like you missed her when she was not in your presence. Seeing your face light up when you see her is love to your child.
  • Play with him. Your involvement in his activities is love to your child.
  • Set an example of being distraction-free while driving. Positive role modeling behind the wheel is love (and safety) to your child.
  • Create a distraction-free daily ritual. Consistently making him a priority each day is love to your child.
  • Talk to him. Ask him about his day. Listening to what he has to say is love to your child.
  • Focus and smile at her from the stands or the audience. Seeing the joy on your face as you watch is love to your child.