I was pottering around the Internet reading blog posts. One link led to another and quite by chance I discovered a post that stopped me in my tracks. A Letter to my sons (the real reason I say no to electronics) by Renee Robinson.
You know when you find a piece of writing that connects directly with your heart? Well this was one of those times. This mom has put into words so much of what I feel about technology and family relationships.
What it looks like when parents are distracted by their phones
I work in a public library and I see a lot of families come through our doors. It is my joy to see parents and children interacting over our books and toys. I have also seen the way in which electronic devices can get in the way of those precious moments.
- I have seen the crestfallen faces of the children as they desperately try to get the attention of a parent engrossed with their device.
- I have seen a little girl fighting back tears, because she simply couldn’t get her dad’s attention.
And it saddened my heart. I was sad for the lost opportunities. For the sadness of a little girl who just wanted to engage with her daddy.
There is no judgment here. I do not know what was going on in this family’s life. Maybe there was a family emergency. Maybe it had just been one of those really difficult parenting days and dad desperately needed a break. Maybe there was something going on at work that simply couldn’t be ignored. I get that. But I was still saddened by the lost opportunity for a wonderful connection between a little girl and her dad.
The subtle messages we send
The trouble is when we choose our phone over our loved ones we are sending a message.
- You are not as important as my electronic device
- I am not interested in what you have to say
- My relationship with you is not my top priority
I know that this could not be further from the truth. But think of it from your child’s perspective. They don’t understand what might be going on in your life. All they see is that the device wins.
Some powerful words
I’m going to quote some more excerpts from Renee Robinson. Before you read this picture your child in your mind. Imagine for a moment that they are speaking these words. Forget the adult language for a moment. Do you hear their voice in your head? Listen to these words
“You see I can’t bear to miss a moment with you…. I want to talk to you when we are out … I want to allow space for conversation that can take us deeper. And if you are always distracted with electronics, well… I might miss those moments.
When we are together, I want all of you. The fullness of you. I want to experience you. Truly experience you. And I can’t do that with you when there is an electronic device between us. You see it acts as a barrier.” And when you hide behind a screen, I miss out on all of that.
And my time with you…. well it will be over in the blink of an eye.”
See what I mean?
For the children’s sake turn off your devices (at least for a little while)
Maybe it’s time to turn off that electronic device? At least when we are with the people that matter to us.
Now it is your turn
Please join the conversation. When have you found that electronic devices get in the way of relationships? What limits do you put on the use of your electronics? Do you have digital free zones (or times) in your house?
I am grateful to Renee Robinson who graciously gave permission to me to quote extensively from her post and use it in this way. Why not pop over to her blog and say hello?