Earlier this week I ran a promotion for my coaching business – 30 minutes of FREE coaching, just for dads. I talked to 3 dads that were curious about my ideas about being a better thirtysomething and how they could put their best ‘dad-foot’ forward this Father’s Day.
Well, we had some great talks, a lot of laughs and made some great strides. And, amazingly, these thirtysomething dads have allowed me to share some pieces of our talks, and I’m so glad because there are some things here that can help all young parents and anyone looking to infuse their lives with not only more quantity of time but quality time.
One of the things that came up with all three dads was the issue of technology and how much it takes up our time and steals our focus. I don’t need to tell you that it’s a struggle for everyone. And, of course, it’s one thing to get the kids to put it away, but even another for parents to be the example and not pull out the phone or email when there’s a lull in the action.
One dad had a particular story that really stuck with me and brought him to his own realization:
I saw a boy around ten or eleven out with his dad the other day, walking along a street near the beach and the boy saw a really cool dog. So he looked up so excited to see if his dad saw it too, but his dad was doing something on the phone and missed the dog, which was really cute, and worse – his kid’s face! You should have seen how bummed this kid looked – totally devastated that his dad wasn’t watching. It really made me wonder how many of those faces I’ve missed and so I’m just trying to be extra aware of having it (smartphone) out around my kids now.
He’s hit the nail right on the head. What are we missing by not simply putting away the technology? It’s a simple concept but, admittedly, harder for some more than others. What’s more is that this conversation was pretty timely as well since I had just written a piece on mindfulness for another blog on how even cameras are starting to get in the way of just enjoying the moment during great dinners with friends. (Read, The Tricky Business of Living in the Moment here).
It was great that this dad got to his realization on his own and what I added is that once we’re able to put the phone down, there’s still another few steps to go towards being really present and fully engaged with your kids and it all comes down to your own self-development and commitment to growth. Bringing your best self forward all areas of life, including parenting, yields amazing joy, success and abundance.
What I also suggest is that we can also engage kids in our own struggle with technology. Sure, they’re supposed to see you as a superhero, but memories are made of truly authentic moments as well. For example, can’t you pinpoint one moment when you saw your dad cry? I’m sure most of us can because it was a rare glimpse into his humanity or vulnerability that he showed.
It’s possible that your kids would appreciate your honesty and the fact that you’re treating them as on the same level as you. It could be an interesting experiment to see who can hold out the longest without texting!
It’s also important that we don’t feel the guilt for our behaviour, but rather learn from our mistakes as this dad has. Technology’s place in our lives is relatively new and we’re still learning. So give yourself a break and just do the best you can, keeping a ‘mindful’ eye.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Father’s Day yesterday. I certainly did. Some quality time with grandpa led to some serious overeating and drinking. Wonderful stuff!
I hope to talk with you soon about the amazing abundant life you desire for your 30s!