On July 9, Janice Green posted a wonderful blog about the lights going out and shared some great ideas on how to interact as a family. It reminded me how important it is for parents to connect with their children often–even when the lights are on.
My husband and I were in a restaurant a few weeks ago and sat near a family of four who were in a booth. Mom and Dad sat across from each other as well as a brother and sister. The children looked to be about 8 and 10 years old. Mom and Dad were both using their cell phones to send text messages. The brother and sister each had their own personal portable electronic devise and were deeply engaged in their own private activity. The only time they spoke was when the waitress came to take their order. They did not speak one word to each other the entire meal. How sad!
When I see a mom going for a walk with her children while talking on her cell phone, it makes me sad too. Mom is spending time with the person on the phone–not with her children. When I was raising my children, my phone was attached to the wall. I am glad it was.
Janice’s ideas brought back fond memories of games we used to play while in the car or going for a walk. These little guessing games were not only fun and creative, they made us use our brains. When we went out for dinner as a family, we talked to each other. We used our mouths rather than our thumbs to communicate.
When my Internet goes down, I have to unplug the modem and router, then plug them back in to reconnect. So here’s a thought–why not unplug the electronics and plug yourself into your children to reconnect with them? Modern technology is a wonderful thing, but it can also be a distraction that robs us of quality time with the ones we love.
I know that raising kids is exhausting and overwhelming–I have been there. But your kids will be gone before you are ready to let them go, and then you will have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the electronic world.
Here’s to giving our thumbs a rest!