I’m guilty! When I am in an airplane, waiting room or Lyft… I’m on my phone. I’m usually checking emails, social media or just surfing the net. Sometimes it’s a need, but many times it’s just a time pass. So I put myself up to the test of going back to the days where we didn’t have our phones as a distraction. It was amazing!
Not only did I realize that the emails and texts could wait, but I realized how much I had missed looking down at my phone. Missed eye contact, missed conversation, missed observation of my surroundings.
The Human Connection
On a recent flight to San Francisco where I usually relish in the time to recline my seat, open the United app, and watch a movie until I reach my destination. This time, I was determined to strike up a conversation with the person next to me. Fortunately, it was an older woman who I noticed didn’t pull out her phone once….it might have been more difficult with someone who looked like they had no interest in talking. She was enroute to Hawaii for a family reunion. She had strong a Samoan linage and I loved learning about their culture, food and customs. Knowledge comes in so many forms, but so much of our learning comes from what we allow ourselves to take in.
Distraction with the phone has become a challenge in parenting, as well. I am personally challenged by the accessibility to my phone which creates a constant need to be connected. Even when I try and walk away from my phone, I reach for it when I remember I need to send that email to the teacher or look up that number for the plumber. I’ve recently been making an active effort to engage with my family in a more meaningful way and stop worrying about setting up the next play date or signing up for the next summer camp. I want to look at my kids in the eyes, make sure they know I am listening so they feel empowered and valued for their thoughts and ideas.
While I think technology has tremendously improved our quality of life, it comes with some downfalls. Put the phone down…better yet, turn it off….walk away and be present. Challenge yourself to connect with other people in the most human way possible….eye contact and conversation.