Last week, while on a family road trip to PureMichigan, T-Mobile failed to connect. All of a sudden, my smart phone wasn’t so smart at all. I was disconnected – no Internet, no GoogleMaps, no Facebook, no 4G. It was frustrating at first – we are so used to reaching for our phones for everything from looking up the weather and getting directions to picking out a place to eat – that without the Internet we feel powerless. Have we become overdependent on our phones?
Think about the last time you were disconnected from your phone, the Internet and the work email. It was probably a long time ago when you were on vacation if at all. Being “connected” has become more than just a commodity – it has become an addiction. Look around the train on your way to work in the morning or at the driver in the car next to you sitting in traffic. Chances are, every second person is staring at a screen. You are probably reading this post on a mobile device yourself.
I see mothers and fathers on playgrounds reading on their phones while pushing their kids on the swings. My own daughter seems to think that I have this magical box that plays music and makes her father’s voice appear out of nowhere. It is just the world we live in today.
But has being connected actually disconnected us?
In being available online all the time, we seem to have forgotten the most important connection of all – that to our family. I am guilty of this myself and I needed to be forced out of connection to realize just how much I am reliant on my phone and how much I am missing out on because of it.
So, I embraced it. After all, we were on vacation… I played with my daughter, laughed with her father, and took some photographs, including the one above. I was WITH and PRESENT for my family. It felt great!
I encourage you to do the same next time you are on vacation or out with your family – leave the online space behind and connect in the here-and-now to your loved ones. There is time for work and time for play.
So, PLAY a little! Your kids will appreciate it.