What is everyone’s cell phone obsession? People, parents, everyone seems to be glued to their phone.
We went out for supper on Friday night, a weekly tradition in our family after a long week. As We were sitting down for our meal and we were in the excruciatingly long period after the order and before the food arrives. You know the one where your two year old child can’t sit still. Yes, we were there.
A family of five sits down at the table beside us. Dad, mom, teenage daughter, teenage son and a girl whom I would say was six. They seemed like a happy family.
Until the phone came out
They were in a booth seat and it was the youngest daughter, son and dad on the end on the one side. The other was the mom and the teenage daughter. As soon as they sat down the dad pulled his cell phone out and was oblivious to the rest of the family.
Everyone just sat there, barely uttering a word, looking blankly into space. Other than the dad, who was locked into his telephone.
The son had to get up to retrieve something from the car. The dad being on the end, huffed because he had to get up and interrupt his precious phone time. The son returned shortly thereafter and once again silence fell on the table as the dad became immersed in an another reality.
For the second time the son had to get up, this time to visit the washroom. The dad was noticeably upset this time and nearly yelled at him for interrupting again. 2 minutes later, the son returned but the Dad had taken the middle seat so that he wouldn’t be disrupted again.
3 minutes later, the dad put his phone away, the table came alive
It was like night and day the change in the family. The dad was cracking jokes, the teenagers were laughing, the youngest girl placed her head on her dad’s arm and most importantly the mom stared at the dad adoringly.
What changed so rapidly?
The Dad Put His Cell Phone Away
It literally was the story of two different tables. A seemingly loving family set dead in silence because the leader of the group was not there. He was lost in another dimension, in a text, a website, a game anything but the family in front of him. Everyone saw that and reacted accordingly.
As dads, we must lead our families. If we want our children to enjoy life, we have to enjoy it with them.
Being there, but not there had a major effect on those kids and both my wife and I (and to a lesser extent my daughter) noticed.
When the dad was lost, the table was eerily hushed. When he was “found” everyone was laughing.
Be the dad, you would want your daughters to marry and you would want your son to become. As soon as the dad, was the Alpha Man of the Group (AMOG) even at his own table, his family reacted to his cues. He told a joke, they laughed. He smiled with his youngest, she put her head on his shoulder.
He was leading the table, his wife stared at him gushingly.
If those people were watching my table, what would they have seen?
After we ate and hopped in the car, my wife and I spoke about the family a little only because they were right beside us. I kept thinking about it.
How many times do I get lost in my phone?
Ignoring your children for a phone or computer or television, sends a signal that is actually quite damaging on many levels. The obvious one is that you are not more important than X but the not so obvious one is that as a Dad, I am unprepared to lead this family.
Dads, we are the leaders of the family, everyone looks to us to lead, to make the decisions. We are going to make mistakes along the way, but everyone does. Accept it, move on and lead again.
The most important thing though is….put the phone down.
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