10 years from now, If you are asked what you have done on this particular Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon – you will not be able to recall the photo you saw on Snapchat or the video from Instagram.
Yet, day after day, I see parents picking up their children from school, still on a phone call, texting, or checking Facebook one more time. Walking down the street, I see pleading eyes trying to talk to a preoccupied parent. Parents shouting at their children as the child begs to be heard.
Do you know what your children need as they are picked up from school, taken off the bus, walking in from music class? They need you.
They need your two arms to embrace them, your two eyes to look at them and your mind to concentrate on them as they talk to you. We cannot do any of the above with a phone in hand.
Six days a week our beautiful, precious children have to compete with a physical device. Trips to the country for vacation used to be a great time for the family to interact. Now, it’s often another opportunity for a parent to be on the phone. Or worse all, the children have gadgets of their own and are each preoccupied.
I ask you, what greater treasure do we have then our children?
Let’s pick them up with our full concentration. Let’s embrace them fully, look deeply at them as they speak and truly hear them. Most importantly, let’s show them by example healthy communications and interactions that will be sure to help them in the future. Let’s show them how we talk, play and interact with people and not screens.
The same should be said to teachers, employees, drivers. Get off the phone. That live video on Facebook isn’t worth your life if you are driving. The latest discussion on What’s App won’t make you a better teacher and certainly, won’t make your students wiser. Your phone notifications aren’t making you productive at work.
Hashem gave us one life. Let’s make the most of each day by spending our time and efforts on the things and people that are most important. Let’s be the friend who really hears another out, the present parent, the loving spouse, the conscientious employee.
I’m not saying you should disconnect your smartphone and switch back to a flip phone. What you should be doing is starting to notice how often do you turn to your phone out of boredom? How often do you think the latest text is more interesting than the person in front of you? How often do you ask the people around to repeat themselves because you’re looking at a screen?
Ask the people around you for an honest answer and if they say these instances happen “often,” it’s time for you to rethink your relationship and dependency on your phone. It’s time to start living life — the real life Hashem gave you and will one say hold you accountable for.