Parents: Stop Being Distracted, You're Missing Out!
I almost lost my son the other day at the beach.
I was at the beach with my husband, my 5 year old daughter, my 3 month old son and my 3 year old son.
Everything was going well.
We had a friend from church with us and told us that he was going to his car to go get something.
10 minutes later, Alyvia (my daughter) says "Where Caleb?" (Our three year old).
I look around and I panic!
My husband stands up and looks up and down the beach. Then he goes to the water. There are people everywhere in the beach. I can't find him, he can't find him and my daughter starts to sob saying, "He's gone, he's dead!"
I start to cry too, I have no idea where my son is at. I start running frantically up and down the beach, holding my 3 month old and my 5 year old yelling out Caleb's name. I even ask people on the beach if they had seen him. I have never had to give a description of my child to someone before.
"What color hair does he have?" "How tall is he?" It was too many questions for me. I just gestured my hand and said, "This tall" and pointed to my hair and said, "This color."
A million things were going through my mind. Seeing the EMS come to find his body in the ocean. A car hits him in the road. A sex trader puts him in their van and drives off. We live in a crazy world. All of these things were possible.
Then my husband runs to the parking lot and sees him- getting ice cream from the ice cream man, holding the hand of our friend.
He ran back to the beach with a Thumbs-up sign. The group of people that had gathered to help me all cheered as if they were happy for us. Then they dispersed to their normal lives.
I lost my son from not watching for 1 minute. Imagine if I was on my phone for 10.
I was at the park today with my 3 year old son and my 3 month old son and something surprised me. Out of the 20 parents that were there, only 3 were walking around with their kids and interacting with them in some way. Most parents were sitting on benches on their phones. Some parents had both parents on their phone not talking to each other.
Now, I am not one to say that I am absolutely perfect in this area either- especially since I own my own business and my business has to get done on the go!
But, I really try that when I leave my house- I am have quality interaction time with my kids.
I remember that I used to be a supervisor at a summer camp in Maryland. The number one thing that they always taught us was the average time that the working parent is spending with there kid in quality time everyday is.... can you guess it? 30 mins? 45 mins? 2 hours? NOPE. 10 mins!
That factoid always stuck with me in my life as a parent.
Because I do work at home and I homeschool- it is very difficult to find a work-life balance. When I am at home- I tend to be in my "work" box. So that's why a daily field trip with the kids is so important. Sometimes we just go to the library or to a park. It doesn't really matter where you go- as long as you are interacting with your child. I think that is why taking pictures of my kids is so special. I have to get close to them and interact with them to get a good pictures. I have to make a scene happen. I can't just be on a bench on my phone.
I can imagine my kids as parents. They are SEEING EVERYTHING that I do. They watch how I act, how I speak, how I love their dad, how I dress. They soak up everything. I would hate to know that their childhood memories always consist of me and my phone. Me and the bench with my phone. Me at the park with my phone.
If I develop good habits now then when they are older, they will also develop good habits!
And we wonder why our teens are not interacting or talking to us!
How many parents did I see holding their kids and helping their kids at the park? Very few. How many times did I see them interact with there child through positive touch (high five, hug, holding hands etc.)... barely any.
How many parents were carrying their phone in their hand and a drink in the other? 17. How many minutes were they touching or holding their phone- the whole time that they were there.
If we don't hold our kids as long as we hold our phone- we have a problem. No wonder why our kids become so distant from us when we get older- they haven't felt close to us from the beginning.
I remember that I read an article about a lady that quit her job and just stood in New York with a sign that said "free hugs." Why did she do this? Because she realized that working for cooperate America made her distant from her family and friends. She discovered so many people that just wanted positive connection with another human being. She also discovered that people needed 11 positive touches day to feel loved a appreciated.
Do I touched/hold/hug my kids 11 times a day? I know my baby son I do. But what about my 5 year old? What about when our kids are teens?
I believe that distraction will steal from you. I believe that distraction is the number one way that parent's can fall in this area. We think that when we go to a park that the park will entertain our children and we don't have to.
We think that we can be on our phone for 1 minute- five mintues- ten minutes.
I lost my son from my sight in one minute. What if it was 20? He could have been hit by a car or even drowned, or God-forbid halfway down the highway with another stranger.
Let's not be distracted- they are growing up right before our eyes!
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