I'm laying on the living room floor checking the news on my phone and my littlest daughter is walking all around me. I don't see her, I'm too into the news. Then I lay my phone down and watch her dancing around the floor, wondering how many of these moments I have missed. How many more moments I will miss because of the phone in my hand.
It took me a long time to get a smartphone. I waited as long as I could, but when we moved, and I knew no one and was trying to navigate around a new place without any direction, facetime and google maps seemed more important than my prior convictions. I don't hate the phone. I actually really like it in a lot of ways. I used to look at people with smartphones in their hands in public places and get mad and angry that they weren't present to those around them. While I do my best to keep my phone away while others are present, I now understand how easy it is to quickly "check something".
The thing is, I'm sure that this "checking" stuff, is never more important than the people right in front of us. How can a news article, facebook, the weather or a text possibly compare to the person right in front of us? Especially when that person is my own child, wanting nothing more than my attention.
Life is really nothing more than thousands upon thousands of tiny moments strung together in a web of memories. My fear is that, in the very short time I have had a smartphone, I have already given too many of these moments away. I have looked at a screen instead of into a child's eyes. I have mindlessly wandered around my phone instead of reading a story or talking to my kids.
I have thought about this so much: why do I want to be on the phone? The simple answer is, mental laziness. It's so much easier to read an article or scroll through Facebook instead of sit with my own thoughts. I used to think and pray as I nursed the baby to bed every night. Now, most of that time is spent looking at my phone. We used to have these moments all the time before smartphones took over the world. A quick trip up an elevator. waiting in the grocery line, sitting in the car waiting for kids, waiting in the doctors office, going to the bathroom. All of these were short spurts of time where our mind could go blank and just think for two seconds without being bombarded with a million other things. What if these small moments are actually really important and we're just throwing them away on a screen? There is something I am learning quickly about having a smartphone: If you aren't intentional about the way you use it, it can steel a lifetime of moments from you. It can make those people right in front of your eyes feel unimportant and ignored.
So why do I keep my smartphone after this rant? I've thought long and hard about this one, and here is the truth (at least for now). I believe when my kids are older, there will be no simple phones left. I believe I have somewhat of a moral obligation to teach my kids that this tool of their generation can be used responsibly and well. For me that means putting the phone away during homeschooling, and other one on one time with the kids. It means leaving it in the car when we go on picnics. Turning it off when I know I can't ignore a text. It means leaving it in the living room when I put the baby to bed at night. It means always being present and aware of those around me. It means getting rid of it if I can't do these things. I refuse to have my kids memories consist of fighting for my attention over a phone. I refuse to let it steal these precious and fleeting moments.
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