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Monday, March 4, 2019

Thought for the Week: put your phone down

I felt guilty the second I did it. While I was sitting with Waverly as she was having breakfast, I picked up my phone to scroll through email before starting our day. I glanced up and there she was. My eighteen month-old daughter had a silver dollar pancake in one hand, a strawberry in the other and she was smiling at me, trying to get my attention.


I immediately put my phone down and celebrated her accomplishment of eating with two hands. There was no email or text message more important than my daughter knowing that she was my priority. While she wasn't the best conversationalist yet, she still watched my lips as I spoke and babbled back at me happily when I asked her a question. She deserved my full attention and to be honest, so does everyone else that I interact with.

When you're on your phone around others, this action conveys that what is happening on your mobile device is more important that the people or even the environment around you. I have a friend who is always on his phone. We have gone on extended drives (two hours+) where he stared at his phone the entire trip. I tried starting conversations. He would give me a monosyllabic reply and keep playing with his phone. Once when driving along the coast I said "Look a this. It's gorgeous," pointing to the surf and the sunset. He looked up, nodded his head and went back to a social media app. I gave up and turned the music up.

Spending time with someone who is always on their phone is not only unenjoyable but also a statement of boredom. I never want Waverly (or anyone else I am with) to think that what's on my phone is more important than being with them in that moment. I think of the funny or insightful moments I would have missed had I been looking at my phone instead of focused on Waverly. I think of the beauty I would have missed around me had I been focused on my phone than the amazing beauty of the Colorado Rockies from 35,000 feet above.

This week, see what happens when you leave your phone in another room during dinner. At lunch when you're eating alone, look around you. Maybe you'll be filled with joy watching the way the sun hits the water feature outside. Maybe you'll catch the eye of someone who is trying to stay off their phone too. Maybe you'll make a new friend.

Waverly taught me a good lesson as she smiled at me and waited for me to look up at her. You can't get back moments in your life. If you don't pay attention you just might miss something wonderful.

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