Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Disconnecting to connect

For Father’s Day my son was asked to draw me and then point out my characteristics.  When he brought the drawing home and I took a look, it caught me off guard.  It was a picture of me holding my phone.  As one of my characteristics, ‘What does your father like to do’ he had written
“My father likes to watch funny videos on YouTube”

Children provide the most accurate reflection of you.  They show you the unbiased view that you seldom want to reflect on.  The one my son pointed out was most likely true, I was on my phone constantly.  I would love to use the excuse that it was because of my new job, and the demands of it and maybe I could chalk up 25% of my phone use for that, it would be inaccurate of me not to acknowledge the social media and entertainment aspect.

The truth is I am like many normal adults now a days, we use our phone for work, for information, to socialize and also cure our boredom.  Quite frankly I cannot even remember the last time I was bored.  Even places like the bathroom, the phone provides the world at your fingertips, you can google random questions you always had, research cars you will never buy, play games or communicate with anyone you wish.  The pull to use the mobile device is very strong, and truly addictive.

We try to justify our use because we don’t want to admit the truth.  We can survive without our phones, we can survive without social media, and most importantly if I wanted my kids not to be addicted to this technology, I would have to lead, by example, not lecture.

So that is what I am doing.  Today I deleted all my social media accounts, and had a discussion with my wife.  Though I had not talked to her about it previously and she was surprised she was quickly on board.  We have strategized to place our phones in a box at home, and only check them once every hour or so, for important emails.  I am also setting up some VIP emails so that if there is an emergency at work I can get some sort of alert, and not look completely careless!

I am an above average social media junky, I had too many friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and Instagram, and though I never really understood the appeal of Snapchat I had downloaded it just to see what the hype was about. 

For me the goal is simple, to disconnect to connect to what is truly important.  I had been on Facebook so long I don’t even remember how life was before it!  Ok I do but I do not really remember how we kept in touch, I am guessing via a phone call?  The aim is that come next father’s day, my son does not draw me with a phone in my hand, and for “What does your father like to do”  I would like to see the answer :

“My father likes to spend time with me when he is at home”