Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Phone Zone

Let me take you back to a date and time when phones were used for reaching out to someone because they lived too far away; to a time when the radio or television were on so that you could hear the latest in local news or hear a thrilling detective story; there was a reason the room you sat in was called a family room; parents and children laughed while telling tales of their day and enjoying supper together. Do those days sound strange and obscure to you? Have you lived that way as a child? Or even now as a parent?

Five years ago, I canceled cable and made a decision that I didn't want my family to waste away in front of the television; and I confess...me of all people found a replacement very quickly...my iPhone!!! It started small and innocent, but these little hand held devices are evil I tell ya!!! I was able to justify very quickly why being on my phone for various reasons (FB, Internet, Amazon, Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube etc) was ok, after all, I was home a lot with 3 little ones that don't talk and I'm longing for the outside world and my boredom was starting to kick in. I told myself, "you deserve a break!"...but at what cost.

One day, my eyes were opened and I discovered a truth that sunk deep into my heart. This iPhone was stealing valuable time away from my children...the time I swore I was gaining by getting rid of television. I was tuning out my life, and tuning into the web. I am not proud and honestly a little ashamed because I stand on certain values about being a stay-at-home Mommy. Let me back up by also saying that I do cultivate learning, I am very busy, my kids are well cared for and we have a fairly strict schedule but I'm trying to convey a very specific message here.

When I saw little blue eyes peering around my phone; wrestling fights ensued between me and my kids over the phone; my nursing baby grabbing it while I nursed....I became the very thing I hate in this world! I decided then that I wanted to create an environment where my children would be at the very center. A home with songs, dancing...and a little cooking and cleaning....but love and laughter that bounces down the halls and attention from the eyes of their mother and that is when I created the "No Phone Zone". The zone moves depending on where our family is at the time, but basically consists of ANY room where there is ANY family member who is wanting attention...wanting to be spoken to, looked at, heard , cuddled, fed, scratched, read to, or simply watch a movie together etc. Basically where there is a heart need, there is No Phone!!

We aren't perfect at this yet. I still struggle with boredom but always hear a small voice when I'm letting things slip. I put down the phone...and walk away. I will no longer miss out on small things, that down the road are the biggest things; expressions, giggles, touches, snuggles, shared meals, happy smiles, sad boo-boos, water surprises, chasing bubbles, discovering insects, learning about trees and plants, drawing, teaching about Gods love...you get the picture.

So, for all you mothers and fathers...if you want to miss out on your childrens lives...do these things:
- text friends at your childs soccer game or ballet recital
- check your FB while at stop lights or better yet, change your status while driving
- go to the park and sit on a bench watching a YouTube video while your kids play
- constantly check your messages while at dinner
- talk on the phone while going for a walk
- play scrabble while your child bathes a few feet away
- watch a movie or search the web while you feed your baby

I am guilty of a few of these and of course from time to time, an occasion comes up when you cant really avoid a call and in the case of having a newborn, trying to stay awake at night time feedings. But, we ALL can stand a few hours away from being plugged in and our children will learn about life through the expressions on our faces instead of seeing mom and dad worshipping a little metal box.

Time Surge 1986 - "The Emerald Lights"

                Octavia didn’t say a word, but Tempest noticed she wasn’t flying upward toward the platform but rather back to the eleva...