After a delicious mother-daughter breakfast, we strolled through the Beaver Brook Park en route to our parked car. A little boy was demonstrating his prowess jumping from boulder to boulder. With every conquest, he turned and called to his parent, perhaps in search of praise or recognition. After several failed attempts, he ran back to his grown up and attempted to explain the greatest of his feat. We both paused to watch the boy gesture enthusiastically, whispering about how adorable he was. Then it occurred to us that the grown up was not taking note of the child, but continued attending to the smart phone at hand. My teenage daughter tugged at me and whispered "Mom, this is so sad! I have such great memories from this park! His [parent] is missing it ALL!"
Yes, I was a parent before the days of smart phones and cell phones (gasp!). We played with the children at the park, in the house, in the car. We pushed the swings from the back and sang about swinging to the moon. We pushed the swings from the front and talked about bagels, puppies, and Dragon Tales.
As our children grow, we will not be able to control them. We will want to be able to influence them. That influence will only come if we know them and they feel known by us. Let's put the cell phone on vibrate and put it in the back pocket. Let's give them our full attention. No text, no post, no email is quite as precious as those moments at the park.