Your Greatest Present is Your Presence

Who reading this owns a cell phone?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say anyone reading this in 2015 definitely owns a cell phone.

Where is that cell phone currently located? Your purse, pocket, or at least somewhere in close proximity to you? You might even be reading this post with that cell phone.

cellphone

Let me ask you another question. Who likes presents? We celebrate birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries all of which usually include a present either given or received.

Do you know another group that I know of who really likes presents? CHILDREN! OUR YOUTH! Have you ever experienced a Christmas morning with children opening up gifts? The excitement level for most reaches full volume.

We’re currently living in a world full of constant distractions and it usually starts with our cell phones.

Although, as I mentioned children love presents there is something else that trumps those material gifts. I truly believe the greatest present you can give your child is your presence, your attention, your engagement because we live in this world of distractions and what’s more important than your child?

My philosophy when it comes to parenting is be present. As long as you’re present with your child I’m a big believer that all the other pieces fall into place. However, none of that happens if you’re not present. Presence according to Dr.Frank Lipman’s blog and an excerpt from Lauren Young’s book “Journeys of a Thirsty Soul- Thoughts of Enlightment and Evolution” define presence as following “Presence is about what we bring, the focus and the concentration that we bring into our actions.”http://www.drfranklipman.com/presence/. What has your presence been lately when it comes to you as a parent and your children?

My two daughters were playing on the floor of their room as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when it hit me. There will come a point when I possibly now what’s currently going on with my friends kids via pictures more than my own kids who are right in front of me if I keep up this behavior. Even more so, there will come a point where my girls will be grown and gone and I’ll be stuck there with my cell phone. The thought running through my mind of that happening was a turning point for me.

Now let me be clear cell phones, technology, and social media are a beautiful thing. However, not when it’s constantly done around your children.

So I ask what example are we setting for our youth?

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A recent study by AVG Technologies http://now.avg.com/digital-diaries-kids-competing-with-mobile-phones-for-parents-attention/ surveyed 6,000 kids from ages 8 to 12 from 8 countries around the world. Here are some of the results:

Kids photo AVG

So as a parent especially a single parent where you might only see your kids 50% of the time at max. Are you spending your time wisely with your kids?

Here are three simple, yet powerful ways to keep the phone away and enjoy the moments with your children.

Disconnect

  • I get we have jobs that put food on the table and a roof over our heads which require staying connected at times. However, life will go on if you don’t respond to that email immediately.
  • Even if for 20 minutes, 2 hours, or all day if it’s the weekend will make a huge difference. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Engage

  • Do an activity with your kid that requires full engagement. Depending at their stage in life each activity will look different.
  • My favorites that I like to do with my two young daughters ages 3 and 2 are simple, yet effective:
  • The park, swimming, or instead of a movie at night, read a book and not one from your phone, one of those hard cover one’s they sell on Amazon or at your local Barnes N Noble.

Progress

What do I exactly mean by progress? By definition progress is a movement towards a goal or to a further or higher stage. What do you think about making that your goal with parenting and presence? You moving towards that goal of being more present with your kids. How will you do it? Disconnecting from your cell phone and full engagement.

Material items don’t last. Bikes will be outgrown, toys will be replaced, and clothes will go out of style. Time is something we can never get back and your kids are growing up right before your eyes buried in that cell phone.

Be present.

When it comes to your child the greatest present is your presence.

Sean Pilon

The Single Parent Playbook- “Providing the X’s and O’s to being a successful single parent.
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