Never before have I ever been so ashamed to be a parent in today’s world of technology. I’m not talking about our kids watching too much television or playing video games. I’m talking about the parents.
Yesterday I took my two kids to their weekly swim lesson at our local YMCA. Once I had the kids ready and into the pool I moved over to the observation area. I’ve been to at least 10 lessons, likely more but something really struck me as I watched.
As the kids practiced their kicks and jumping in the pool I would catch a glimpse of my daughter checking if I had seen her big jump. She would sneak a little smile at me and I thought how such a little moment could be so special. Then I noticed another girl looking at me and waving. I immediately waved back but she shook her head and motioned behind me on the benches. There sat her parents both oblivious to their daughter and consumed in their phones.
I felt bad for this little girl at such a young age, just trying to grab the attention of her parents. I took a good look around the observation area. I would guess that over 80% of the parents were entrenched in their phones and oblivious to the outside world.
I’m guilty too; I have caught myself being stuck on my phone from time to time. I do check my phone but most times it goes right back into my pocket. I just wonder what kind of message we send to our children? What happened to living in the moment, enjoying your children and the world that surrounds you? What was that little girl thinking as she tried to grab her parents attention?
This handheld technology has developed on such a rapid pace in the last few years. I really don’t think we truly understand the danger, risk and potential damage that stems from our behaviour as parents in this regard. When using your phone while driving the risks are serious, immediate and often life threatening but what about the less drastic consequences of our phone use over a prolonged period?
I’ve been told several times by older parents and grandparents to enjoy my kids, especially when they’re young. I think this is a valuable lesson. It’s time to wake up as parents! Forget about the past, stop thinking about the future and just enjoy the moment, the present moment with your child.