A few years ago I made a decision not to have my laptop out At home when my family was awake. For the most part, I still hold to that commitment. I even wait till everyone is in bed to do my homework for my masters classes. Unless I am really pressed for time and then I go back to my room.
A couple of years ago I decided I should add my iPhone to that list. I never want to hear my kids or my wife say, "Is your phone more important than me?" That would wreck me. This one is more difficult for me to keep. There are some phases where I find myself having it out.
Tonight I was enjoying the perfect weather and sunshine sitting outside of Jamba Juice. As I walked out I saw a guy with his three or four-year-old daughter. They were having a daddy daughter date. My heart was so thrilled to see that. I think this is so incredibly important! Especially for dads and daughters, but also for dads and sons and moms and sons and moms and daughters, for that matter. I try to take my kids out on special dates so they know they are important to me. Sometimes it's just for some ice cream, sometimes we go play games, but whatever it is, I'm spending quality time with them.
My back was to this dad and daughter and I heard, "Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off?" Over 20 times! I turned around and saw he was playing a game on his Galaxy III. My heart was crushed. This little girl had the sweetest voice and she just wanted her daddy's attention. He didn't even acknowledge her once.
All of a sudden I discovered a tear rolling down my face. It caught me completely offguard. I don't want to judge this guy, but at the same time I do. I wanted to shake him and tell him that this was such a precious moment for him to capture but I couldn't. I wanted to hold this little girl and tell her it was okay. I never saw her face, but I could hear her voice. It was killing me. Another tear fell.
When he was done with his game he took her cup and pulled the lid off, after she asked him again. She reached over and he told her to calm down. They got up and left and I just had heavy wells at the base of my eyelids.
I completely recognize that I am no better than this guy. I have been there. I just don't want to be there again. I want to give my children and my wife the attention they deserve and need. So today I make a commitment to put my phone away. Would you join me?
(Side note: When you have your phone out on the table while we are out to lunch, you were telling me that you care more about any interruption that comes in than you do about me. I see your eyes dart down every time you get a text message, tweet, email, etc.)
*don't let this happen to me ever again*