Parents: Charge it For a Change

This recent article in TIME hits close to home, literally. As a parent it’s hard not to picture yourself in the situation: Hanging out with your kids on a Saturday, sun coming through the windows, the soft sound of crayons working against paper. Little voices chattering to themselves.

What’s in your hand? Maybe it’s a text, maybe it’s your Instagram feed.  Maybe you’re paying a bill, maybe it’s your Pinterest board. Whatever it is, it’s in your phone, which is in your hand, which is in your face. I know because that’s me, too. We think that because we’re with our kids that we’re “with our kids”. But are we?

working-parents-imageOur smart devices take us places. They take us on mini-vacations, to libraries, to parties. They take us back to work. When you’re off in one of these phone-zones, interference is unwelcome. Why should I want to break away from a hilarious text conversation about the death of my poor NCAA bracket with my buddy just to look at a drawing of a fire engine?

But what if I’d just been here the whole time? What if I was drawing a fire engine too? Checking out Kailey’s fire engine wouldn’t be an interruption, it would be the best part.

Because that’s what we should be doing when we’re hanging out together: hanging out together.

IMG_3654It’s not about being better about being interrupted, it’s about not being interrupted at all because we are already engaged in the moment. You can’t interrupt me with a song if i’m singing it with you.

I’m making a challenge to myself. When spending time with my family (what precious little I have), the phone is gone. It’s not even with me. It’s charging in the bedroom.

Will it be easy? No. And I’m ashamed to say so. But it won’t be the end of me. If my email is a little late, forgive me. I’m out to lunch with my kids. Life is too short. I’ll be back with you shortly.

It might just be the beginning.