As 2015 winds down, I had a the awesome pleasure of taking my nephew out to play while he and his family came to NJ to visit for Christmas. While watching Zach on the playground with other kids, I was so delighted to sit, relax with my cup of java and just unplug and enjoy seeing kids play and make friends.
And then I looked around. . . parents, grandparents, babysitters, they were all there, but on some sort of phone or tablet. I often say something about how I wish folks would enjoy life vs. trying to capture pictures of it -but not even that was happening - they were completely plugged into whatever was on their device. This post isn't meant to judge adults for the decisions they make to use their phone when they get a quiet moment while the kids are otherwise engaged, but rather call out an opportunity to just enjoy life - to sit in silence and not feel the need to "do something" but to just be. To be still and watch kids running around with big smiles, to be present enough that when a child calls your name to look and see what they can do - you can actually see it.
It reminds me of a child in dance class last year, parents were invited to come in and see choreography and one girl was so upset because her mom was there- but outside and visible from the window. She was on her phone, possibly on an important call, or making plans for her daughter's playdate, or something else. But in that moment, the girl just felt like all she wanted was her mom to be there -to be present, and in that moment of emotions she blurted out "She's always on her phone." It felt like a dagger to me - because I thought of times when it seems that I'm so busy that I don't engage either.
We adults spend time talking about what we have to do, what needs to get done, where we have to drive. I think the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, to children and families, is to simply be present. Put down the phone, shut off notifications for a bit, be present. Choose to look up and see what the child wants you to see, engage in that conversation with your spouse, call your dad, make some memories.
I'm going to give it a go. I enjoyed watching Zachary play. I felt really flippin awesome that when he wanted to show off for me, I was already looking - I was smiling and waving to him - filling his heart and mind with the knowledge that his aunt loves him. I'm going to start with 5 minutes a day - to be totally present for someone else, and in turn, I think I'll find myself happier and more relaxed. If it's not 5 minutes a day, it's okay, it's the effort made to make a difference. What will you do to make 2016 great? Will you be present?
Modern Motion Dance School