That time I didn’t take my phone to the park

Smartphones are sort of like a bad relationship.  You are convinced you need them and that you can’t do without them, and all the while they are leaching the life out of you in ways you can’t really see until you are finally apart.

I’m being a little overdramatic, sure, and let me say up-front that I am not about to jettison my phone.  But I have started to be more clear-eyed lately about its role in my life, for good and for ill.  And I’ve realized that I’ve been giving it a little more attention than it deserves.

So a few weeks back, when we were riding bikes to the park with the boys, I decided to leave my phone at home.

I actually had to wrestle with myself a little before doing that.  “Whatifs” kept popping up in my mind like a game of Whack-a-mole, and I kept having to use logic to club them down.

What if there is an emergency?
Scott has his phone. You can use that.

What if I want to take a picture of something?
Short of a UFO landing on the playground, you’re not likely to see anything you will die without documenting.

What if I get bored and want to go online?
You are a mom; watch your kids.  You are a writer; look at the world around you.

And it was that logic that worked.  Because I realized that nothing on my phone could or should be as compelling as these precious moments of life, with these two precious boys who are growing up so fast that it scares me when I really stop to think about it.

So I left the phone at home, and I didn’t miss it.  I watched my kids and gazed at the trees and the sky and the flowers.  And what is arguably just as important, my kids saw me watching them and gazing at the world, not being distracted every few minutes but an update on a screen.   They saw a mom who enjoyed their antics, who basked in the sunshine.  They saw a mom who chose to be fully present in the moment, in the way that I hope they will be, too.

Totally worth it.

3 Responses to That time I didn’t take my phone to the park

  1. Linda Larish

    I love your post!! I’m very guilty of thinking my phone needs to be attached to my hip like an extra appendage. I’m even guilty of texting while I walk down the street. When Gil reminds me to put it away, it’s a mental and emotional struggle. Thank you for the reminder to be present in the moment. I will try to wean myself away a LITTLE.

  2. Agree! I think my main motivation for using my phone less is so that my kids don’t see me using it all the time. A great reminder to carry a book with me instead :) (and Taste and See just came in the mail so I’ve got a good one to sink my teeth into).

  3. I love this blog!! It reminded me of a trip on the train to Santa Barbara last year. A boy around 8 years old who sat near me in the dome car was completely immersed in his tablet for the entire 8 hours I was on the train with him. Talk about a missed opportunity to look out the window and see the passing sights along the way – everything from farmland crops and crashing waves, to Vandenberg AFB silos and a coastal lighthouse, to a giant stone quarry, San Miguel Mission, and even a men’s prison!! Just think of what he could have absorbed if his parents had only insisted he put the tablet away at different times and together talk about the landscape, not to mention the sky and the clouds. Such a shame that we (including me) spend too much time looking down instead of up and out. Great message, Ginny!!!