Lately, I’ve had that horrible feeling that we as parents are failing miserably. I mean, I’ve had this condition from the moment I gave birth-so I’m fairly familiar with it. It started the day the nurse marched in to not at all kindly inform me I was “spoiling” my 2 day old newborn by nursing her almost constantly–(I know. It’s really horrible and the only thing I can say to that is, that nurse is lucky she didn’t meet up with present day Lisa instead of 20-something Lisa who knew in her heart that the lady was
evil wrong wrong wrong, but had zero words to back that up and tons of hormones coursing through her body, and so the only thing she could do was sob hysterically and make her husband go yell at her.)
I’d have to say, that dreaded feeling of not doing it right has been with me so long I could literally fill pages of a book. (It could be called A Trail of Internal Tears, if that weren’t so darn depressing and not at all the whole story.) I mean, not a huge novel, or anything, but a decent sized coffee table book. I would include pictures, of course, which would show absolutely nothing but a smiling girl with her new little babies who turned into toddlers, and on and on. I would put those pictures in there to challenge you to see the worry in my eyes.
Can you spot all of those conflicting thoughts going on in my head, as if they were squiggly lines going every which direction? Are you able to see past the joyful smile and know that behind that smile is a very anxious girl wondering why on earth God let her have this job?
I know you can’t. Because I can’t either. Even though I know this girl so intimately, all I can see is complete happiness. I barely remember thinking, Oh God someone tell me how to DO this! I’m doing it wrong! Yesterday the baby cried for 30 minutes! Someone knows how to do this better than me! And also I’m so tired. So. TIRED.
Isn’t that tricky? I’m wondering how many times all of us are tricked into thinking, that everyone is so happy and trouble-free?
Anyway, back to my latest and biggest worry of failure: Technology. I won’t go on and on about it, because I’m guessing I don’t need to labor over painting you a picture. Teens and their iPhones. Even my youngest, and his iPod. There. Can you see it? Do I need to say another word? (just the word that begins these devices should clue us in: I. )
This was our Christmas card this year, because I think the first step in dealing with troubling issues in your life is to take a picture and make it your Christmas card that goes out to about 100 people. Right?
My worry has been growing and growing, and being the parent I am, I definitely share that worry-with anyone who will listen, or is too polite to say, “Hey lady. Not my job” Sidenote: UPS guys are the best people on the planet.
I’ve said it to my children, as if just letting them know I want them to give up this highly addictive piece of technology will make them just spontaneously do it. Even though a large portion of the world has not been able to do it yet.
I’m understanding that the time has come for actual change, and probable-no, CERTAIN upset is about to occur in our household. My husband’s advice to me, as I showed him the video I’m about to show you, was Lis, start with you and go from there. I thanked my husband for this insightful advice and my heart filled with gratitude for this wise man in my life.
Ok. Unfortunately, many of you actually KNOW me, which makes bending the truth impossible. Here’s how it went down: Defensiveness. Huffing off and coming back to huff in FRONT of said husband. Eye rolling, and man can you ever tell I’m around teens, cuz I got their behavior down pat, let me tell you.
But, since I’m super spiritual and very into self-improvement, I realized that if technology use wasn’t such a big deal to me, I never would have had this initial reaction:
So, yes, I did figure it out. In little ways, like just putting my phone away. At my ripe old age of 342, it really works because half the time I actually forget where I put it! Yesterday, I went 1/2 a mile down the street to Barre class, and didn’t even take my phone.
I know. I’m still waiting for my medal-I’m sure it’s on its way.
Today at coffee with my friends, I kept my phone in my bag, until I pulled it out to show them holiday pictures, which is really the very best use of phones aside from actually using them to CALL people-a super old-fashioned thing to do.
My point is, I did have to do the first hard thing, which was to practice what I’m about to preach to my kids. I’m still scared to do it, because:
A. I love harmony in my life. Icy silence and closed doors cause me considerable amounts of stress. Which by the way, is really bad timing since I’m trying to get the bad carbs out of my life. Amigos? this could be a choose one or the other kind of deal. Because who doesn’t need extra serotonin coursing through their body when being actively ignored by one’s children? Bad Carbs, Zombie children. It’s a tough choice.
B. I’m kind of like the good cop in this parenting gig. I’ve always liked being the good cop. I’m not even sure that good cop-me can turn bad. I mean, how do you TURN? Offer me money on the side? I have no idea.
C. It’s going to be hard work. Meaning, I have to pay actual attention to what the children are doing all the time and notice things like cell phones duct taped to kids’ arms or other appendages.
Sidenote: I’m not the biggest noticer of things, unless it’s when people aren’t nice to me, which I’m a super BIG noticer of– which is actually a slight problem in my life and will probably be the next subject of our Christmas card: (Mom, not noticing obvious things, but imagine-noticing other things that cause her considerable anxiety and worry. Could be hard to photograph. I’ve got a caption, though: Paranoid Girl, able to leap to the worst conclusions in the smallest spaces of time with little to no provocation. )
In summary, I’ve been feeling that horrible, no good feeling of Something isn’t right here and I need to do something about it–for a while now, and so technology use in this house is about to change. Even though it won’t be changing anywhere else in the world, which I’m sure my children will be telling me everyday from the day we start the restrictions. What pushed me over the edge? This video, which I hope you will carve out some time to watch. It’s so troubling to me, and the biggest part? Where Simon Sinek says,
Best case scenario, is these kids will live a life that isn’t joyful….It’ll just be FINE.
I don’t want that for them, and I’m willing to put up with a whole bunch of cold, hard, blank stares when the devices are separated from their little hands. I want those hands empty and their hearts full.
But, I am open to prayers, and I’m not joking about that. As you will hear in the video, technology use is a strong addiction, as strong as smoking, drinking, and gambling. This will not be easy my friends, but then I’m remembering this quote:
Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.-Ron Taffel