How to miss a childhood: The dangers of paying more attention to your cell phone than your children
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 driving time to call other people regardless of the fact that you could be talking to your kids about their day — or about their worries, their fears or their dreams.
Read emails and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won't remember that 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
If you find this recipe difficult to read, if you find that you have tears in your eyes, I thank you, and your child thanks you.
It is not easy to consider the possibility that the distractions of the modern age have taken an undeserved priority over the people who matter in your life. In fact, when I admitted this difficult truth to myself almost two years ago, I experienced an emotional breakdown. However, that breakdown became a breakthrough that propelled me to begin my life-changing "Hands Free" journey.
Here's the thing: You don't have to follow the above recipe. Yes, it is the 21st century. Yes, the whole world is online. Yes, the communications for your job are important. Yes, at times you must be readily available. But despite all those factors, you do not have to sacrifice your child's childhood, nor do you have to sacrifice your life.
May I recommend this recipe instead?
How to Grasp a Childhood:
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.
The recipe for "How to Grasp a Childhood" requires only one thing: You must put down your phone. Whether it is for 10 minutes, two hours or an entire Saturday, beautiful human connection, memory making and parent-child bonding can occur every single time you let go of distractions to grasp what really matters.
The beautiful, life-changing results of your "Hands Free" action can start today, right now, the moment you put down the phone.
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