Let me ask you: Do you think technology had made you a distracted parent? Has your constant connectivity to social media, online news, etc., distanced you from your kids and disconnected you from being fully present? Did you ever think the message you are sending to your kids, as you hurriedly click away on your smartphone, might not be a good one?
Like most of you, I answered yes to all three questions.
We all know what it’s like when we get a text message or ping on our device alerting us of “breaking news”. Many times responding to just one text or social media notification can turn into responding to several emails or into more text messages and notices. And in a few valeuable minutes meant to spent with our children can easily turn into a couple of hours of scrolling and typing, while our kids sit on the sidelines expecting to receive some form of acknowledgement from us, to only receive a nanosecond worth of a glance.
I will admit, I was in denial to my distractedness — until my son recently called me out for missing a breakfast at his school. When he asked me, “Why weren’t you there?” I couldn’t look him in the eyes and tell him that I had gotten caught up with work, ignoring the pings on my phone. And it was in that moment, when his words hit my heart like a dagger, that I knew I needed to take a step back and regain control of my time. I needed to prioritize and look at the bigger picture, because the notion of always being connected was simply not worth the hurt he must have felt when I was the only parent not in attendance.
And although there will be other school functions, the one he will most likely remember is the one that I was not there for.
So, what am I doing about it? I am turning it all off!
At first it was difficult to be away from something that over the years became an extension of me. But for me, it was necessary to remove the very tools that were created to bring us closer together, because I allowed it to pull those closest to me apart.