Reflection: Not long ago I found myself in my doctor’s reception area, waiting for my appointment. Also waiting were three young moms each with infants in car carriers parked at their feet.
All the little ones were awake and alert. All the moms were elsewhere – eyes glued to the screens of their smart phones making no effort to connect with their babies.
Now maybe they were dealing with important issues at a distance. Or maybe they were exhausted and just enjoying the quiet. (I do remember that parenting a little one can really take it out of you!)
But here’s the challenge. Making a habit of connecting to everyone everywhere else can make us less attentive to those we care about most – some of whom may be right in front of us.
Eye contact and interaction between parents and children is a huge contributor to language and social development. If our eyes are mostly on our phones, we short-circuit that connection advantage.
It’s not just a family issue. Constant scrolling and texting while in the company of a colleague or a friend creates distance in those relationships, too.
Action: North American users spend somewhere between three and five hours a day looking at smart phones. What if we reduced screen time and increased face-to-face time by 30 or 20 or even 10%? What might that do for our relationships? Here are a few ideas for making that shift.
- In the morning and when you return home after work, greet those who share your home before your greet your FB friends and Instagram followers.
- Turn off notifications for a time and see what it’s like not to be constantly on alert.
- Stash your phone out of reach for significant periods of time. Don’t just turn it face down or tuck it in your pocket. Put it where you can’t hear or see it.
- Reach out and make a plan for a face-to-face connection with a friend or family member so you can check on their well-being in person.
If you’re lucky enough to have a little person in your world, spend more time making eye contact and conversation. And resist sharing the experience digitally with others. Just soak it up and be present to the wee one, your connection, and the moment.
Quotes Of The Week: The most important people are right in front of you. Look up not down. – Tina Varughese
Invisible threads are the strongest ties. – Friedrich Nietzche
Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. – Rachel Naomi Remen
I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village. – Gina Bellman
Resource Of The Week: Check out this Globe and Mail article on digital distraction by Eric Andrew-Gee: Your Smartphone Is Making You Stupid, Antisocial and Unhealthy. So Why Can’t You Put It Down?
Art News: Last September, I became the newest member of the group, Artists’ Workshop. We work on our art every Monday, and the finale to our year is just around the corner with the presentation of our Spring Show & Sale. This year’s theme is ‘Bridging – Do You See What I See?’
If you’re in or near Saskatoon, come meet the artists and enjoy our work. New this year are Artists’ Chats scheduled throughout the show – ten minutes of Q & A with each of our artists so you can learn more about our backgrounds, our processes, and our inspirations.
The event takes place over three days: Friday, April 12 (7 – 9 pm); Saturday, April 13 (10 am – 5 pm); Sunday, April 14 (Noon to 4pm). Grace Westminster United Church at 505 – 10thStreet East.
Spread the word and mark your calendar. Would love to see you there!