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  • Tara Joy Larrick

Being There and Being Present.

My family and I went to the local kids museum, not too long ago, for the first time. I really did not know what to expect, I figured my son who likes to stay as close to mommy and daddy as he can in new environments would not leave my side. Boy was I wrong! He ran here and there just trying to see everything.

He went to go play in a kid size helicopter with some other kids when I noticed the boy sitting in the pilots seat playing, as his mom has her phone up in front of her face for at least 5 minutes to what, I assume by the finger taps, to be attempting to take the "perfect" Facebook picture.

But it wasn't just her, as I scanned the rom a good 50% plus of parents were on their phones not paying the least bit of attention to their kids. Are we at that point in technology addiction that we don't even care to enjoy our kids while they play?

Are we really doing our kids any good by being in another world on our phones all of the time? I say WE because I admit fully that I am guilty of it too but I am now actively choosing to put my phone away and really work on being present with my son.

You say, it's not really that bad is it? Unfortunately it is. The next time you are out at a restaurant or a play area, take a moment and look around. Are majority of the people laughing and talking to each other? Or are their heads down in their phones not saying anything to their family? Or not paying attention to their kids play at the play ground because of their phones?

I know I have robbed my son and husband of quality time because of sitting and scrolling through Facebook. And it also robbed me of productivity. I wouldn't get anything done because I would get on for "only 5 minutes" but then it sucks me into the realm of social media and I look at the time and an hour or two has flown by!

Looking back at how my husband and son feel to be trying to talk to me, or have my undivided attention when all I could care about is what's on my phone.

It hurts them, and it hurts our relationships.

This year, I have decided to make a huge change. To actually be there in each moment filing away memories and just enjoying LIFE. And not enjoying it only because I got 20 likes on my photo I posted on Facebook, but enjoying it because my life and those moments make me happy. I am making the active decision to put away my phone, stop taking so many pictures and just enjoy life as it comes.

Not only will it make me happy but it makes my entire family happy because all kids (and husbands for that matter) want is our love and attention -- not a shell of a person who isn't really there in the present because the smartphone is super glued to her hand. (Yeah, that definitely has been me)

They want to play, to be shown that they matter the most and that we will be and care to be there for them when they need us.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it impossible? Nope.

Nothing is impossible if you give it over to God and take some active steps to resetting your priorities in life.

What can you do?

1. Pray. Pray that God will help you be aware of when you need to shut off the phone and technology and pay attention. Pray when you have the urge to go on while your family is around. Pray without ceasing. God wants to help you!

2. Set specific goals of when you will use social media, and then set a timer. Don't get lost in scrolling mode by setting a timer for however long you want to be on, then get off when the alarm goes off. It makes it so you don't waste time.

3. Take less pictures. In the, need to take pictures of absolutely everything age, it is so tempting to just want to capture it all. But I recently read an article that says that even though we take so many pictures, we will be the first generation to not actually keep them. In the digital world, there are so many that they often go unseen, or deleted to create more space. They aren't printed out as much, and once those digital photos are gone, they're gone forever. So take one of two photos, then print them out, or put them in an album and have them printed in a photo book via Shutterfly etc.

I promise you, if you take less photos you will actually remember the memory of the event, and your memories will never be deleted.

4. Create a balance. Life is all about balance. My son doesn't need my attention 100% of the time (thats beyond exhausting!), because he needs to learn that life isn't all about him, however, when he wants my attention or wants to play I stop what I am doing and I spend those precious minutes being present with my son. Its in those moments that I get the memories that will last a lifetime. Like the other day he decided to kiss every feature on my face, or the other time when he grabbed my face and said, "my princess". I wouldn't have gotten those if I decided to shoo him away because I was too busy doing something else.

If you don't have a balance, everyone involved suffers. And if you aren't present enough in their life as they grow up, later it is a million times harder to have a trusting relationship. Trust me I know from personal experience.

Cherish every moment given, because in the end its our memories that will survive, not whatever it is we thought was more important at the time.

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