Recently, someone shared a photo comparing the audience at a recent golf tournament where Tiger Woods was playing. He was making the same shot from the same place and the photo comparison was for 2018 and about ten years ago. The one from this year showed everyone with their phones up getting ready to snap the “perfect picture”. The other photo showed everyone actually looking to see the shot.
I saw this photo awhile back and felt really convicted by it. I especially find myself doing this with my son. Instead of looking to see him walking or jabbering or showing off a new skill, I often am trying to capture it on my phone. And, honestly, I’m realizing that by doing that I feel like I miss more.
Motherhood has taught me many things, but one of the greatest lessons it has taught me and is actively teaching me that I need to unplug. (Which I guess is ironic given the fact that I’m on my computer, writing a blog post right now…) We haven’t allowed our son to play with our phones, with the exception of a few times in absolute desperation, and very rarely let him watch TV. He does get more exposure with our computers, largely because I work from home so he sees a computer screen more often than I would like. Despite all of our efforts to limit his exposure to technology, he is totally obsessed with our cell phones. Like they are magnets. I know that educating him on technology will be important for educational purposes, but I don’t want to influence him too much especially at his age.
I want to not only foster his creativity and allow him to explore, but also know how to entertain himself without technology as a resource. (Or crutch depending on your thoughts on technology!) I am also recognizing how much I need this too! My husband and I have noticed how often we will grab our phone and stare at it or have our computer open or just plop on the couch to watch TV after a long day. Literally, the other day we stopped watching a TV show and went upstairs to read in bed (albeit on a Kindle, ha!), and it was really refreshing….which feels kind of sad to say in that way!
Here are some ways I am hoping to be more present and pay better attention in my day to day life…what would you add?
- Take time to unplug – It is both freeing and frightening to leave my cell phone plugged in upstairs or leave it at home while we run an errand. But it is in those moments where I realize how much I NEED this. So, I’ve started more regularly leaving my phone upstairs after we do the bedtime routine or leaving it on the kitchen counter while we get outside. Hopefully, the freeing feeling will continue to grow.
- Identify new ways to refresh – I think that, in part, my addiction to technology has been as a result of needing time to relax and just rest. It can be really nice to just plop on the couch after a long day and enjoy a TV show. What I’m realizing, though, is that I really need to broaden the types of activities I use for recharging. Some things that I love doing (and often forget about!) are taking a bath, reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea, playing with our cat…to just name a few things. (I enjoy other things too, but we are talking non-work related here!)
- Be okay “losing” the moment – I often will grab my phone to get a photo or a video of something, mostly relating to our son, because I want to “capture the moment”. I’ve been working on practicing how I can be present in those moments rather than worrying about capturing them. Sure, there are a lot of pictures and videos that will only ever be in my mind, but that’s okay, because I was there and I was looking.
- Take stock of your crutches – Have you ever been that person who is watching TV, with a computer or phone in their hand just scanning Facebook? Well, I have. I am starting to realize that I use technology as a crutch. Sometimes, I use it when I don’t want to talk to people (sorry honey!). Other times, it is because my mind is racing and I have a million things on my internal to do list and I literally can’t stop the feeling that I need to be doing something. Often, it is because something will come to mind and I am afraid if I wait too long, I’ll forget to do it so I should just do it right now. Regardless of the reason, I’ve let technology be my crutch to deal with feelings of exhaustion and disorganization, and there are other ways I can and should deal with that.
- Be child-like – Our son is so interested in everything around him. He wants to deeply understand the loose thread from the rug or the soil in the garden or the people passing by at the coffee shop. I have lost a lot of the child-like curiosity and imagination that I am desperately hoping to foster in him. I’m hoping to learn some lessons from him on how to be present in every moment, and hopefully that will create an environment for him to continue to grow.
As always, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And thank you for reading!