Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's turn things off once in a while, and tune in to our children

My daughter's preschool has a rule about cell phones. Don't use them on the school property. At the beginning of the year, they politely send out a reminder that although they recognize that some phone calls are important, there is nothing more important than focusing on your child at pick-up and drop-off. It's a great rule. Most parents comply, and it invites actual socializing between parents, before and after school. Unfortunately, the art of conversation with a person in person...appears to be on the wane.

Yesterday I realized that the ante must be upped, after witnessing a dad sucked into THE VORTEX ...quietly and furtively using his cell phone to check emails, and zipping off a few text messages. Meanwhile, his daughter was madly trying to get his attention while racing across the pavement on a firetruck tricycle.

Daddy! Daddy! Look at ME!

Mmm hmmmm. Yes, mmmm hmmm.

Never once did he look up, except to turn his body a bit, away from the morning sun, which apparently was causing a glare to his cell phone screen.

He won't get those five minutes back.

It is everywhere. This constant of chatting on the phone, or engaging in texting, while "being with your child." We, as women, the ultimate multi-taskers, are probably most at fault. How many times do you see a mom picking up her school age children, while waving them into the car and driving away, all while on the phone? What about that little conversation that starts....how was your day today, honey? Yes, what about THAT.

Get off the phone!

I'm sorry, people, it just doesn't fly. It's called NARCISSISM. Some might even call it ...masturbation. Because, at some point, that is what it IS. Really.

Hey, can you do that somewhere else? Somewhere...P.R.I.V.A.T.E.?!!

Sadly, it's not just the parents. Now, the nannies are doing it, too. Go to any playground and you'll see children playing. And adults talking... to someone else, who is not present.

I understand that going to the playground with your children can be tedious and boring. Yet... It's also such a delicious opportunity to see those magical moments. Your daughter making it across the monkey bars for the first time. Your son hugging a child who is hurt. The sudden realization that time is fleeting ...and somehow another year has passed, and your children are almost too big for this playground.

We have truly become an addicted society. We need to be tuned in. We need to have our phone on ...just in case. We need to check our email one last time, because ....well, you know. There might be something URGENT. This whole thing of constantly being available to the universe at large is disconcerting. Can we breathe without an electronic connection? Can we?

Let's turn things off once in a while, and tune in to our children. It will be a decision we will never regret.

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  1. oh, this drives me nuts. Also, people talking on the phone while checking out of a store. I don't know how cashiers get through the day without strangling a cell phone user or two (or twelve!).

  2. oh, and i a feel the same way about DVD players in car. Those 10 minutes on the drive home are when I hear about my daughter's day. If a cartoon were playing I would never hear about it. Being strapped into a car with no place to go is the perfect recipe for conversation.

  3. Amen.

    My husband and I got away for a few days for our 10 yr anniversary. We went to Acadia mountain in Maine where we hiked in the middle of nowhere on top of gorgeous mountains.
    I was shocked at how many people were on CELL PHONES while HIKING in the WOODS. There is something seriously wrong with that.

  4. Although I'm pretty good about ignoring my phone when my kids are around, I am one of the worst offenders the rest of the time.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I agree with you wholeheartedly, although I don't have this problem because I hate phones, all phones and will only pick one up if I absolutely have to.

  6. Oh man, my husband and I have been talking about this a lot lately! I've been debating whether or not to write a post about Facebook that will surely tick a few (hundred) people off!

  7. I remember a similar thing about 13 years ago, when my oldest was about one. We went to a park and there was this dad reading the paper, but I mean really, really focused only on that paper. His child looked so bored and lonely. I wanted to grab his paper and say go play!

  8. My husband has always had a good habit of not picking up the phone unless he wants to talk to someone.

    I used to get jobs by phone, so I had a compulsion to answer every call. Finally ten years after I last worked that way, I got over it. I love voice mail.

  9. You have said perfectly what I think so frequently.

    I am so happy that I had my babies and toddlers pre-ubiquitous cell phone usage.

  10. Brilliantly said.

    I'm trying hard, one teen at a time, to teach the importance of Being Present and Noticing Things. Unfortunately, loads of my students are responding to calls or texts FROM PARENTS during classes...

  11. I love that rule at the preschool. These little ones and big ones need to see our eyes and have our ears. Your blog is fabulous- I'm so excited to get to know you.

  12. Oh how this is true. I know I've been guilty of it before myself. My daughter asked me the other day if I loved my phone!! Oh the guilt:( Great post.

  13. This is so true, so perfectly said. thank you. I needed to be reminded of this. . . I was earlier this weekend, But I needed to be reminded again.


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