Harmfully Distracted

My son created a card for me on Father’s Day, a class project at his elementary school.  He started with a piece of blue construction paper, and wrote the words “Happy Father’s Day!” on the front.  Inside he pasted in a copied sheet of a white paper that began with “My Dad is the most wonderful dad in the whole world!”  And then it contained lines with intentional blanks.  “He is as handsome as a_____________.”  “He is as strong as a _________________”

My son just finished first grade and can be wonderfully creative.  In this case he wanted to be funny.  I’m as handsome as a Dad.  My strength?  Like a bull’s.  The food I favor above all others garnered this answer, “Well, I do not know.”  He claims that he wouldn’t trade me for a Teddy Graham.

And my favorite activity? iPhone.

When I received this card, I laughed quite a bit until I read that line.  Honestly, that one stung.  It’s accurate, at least in his eyes (okay, it’s accurate in anyone’s eyes).  He didn’t embellish any on that empty line to make me laugh.  He just wrote down the truth.

I can get easily distracted.  Especially after coming home from work.  One of the curses of living where I work is the lack of a commute so I can process the day.  I can walk home in less than a minute.  (I’m not complaining, by the way.  I love that I can pop over for lunch or to grab something I accidently left at home or take some time in the afternoon to meet my kids at the bus.)  When I need a few minutes of downtime, my iPhone is my addiction of choice.

At times I get wrapped up in the social aspects of being online.  Seeing clever updates on Facebook.  Making some of my own.  Reading my favorite news sites for the happenings of the day.  Intently consuming Yahoo’s “Top 10 Foods You Love to Hate” story that earned top billing on their homepage.

But I can tell you, my iPhone isn’t the activity I want my son to remember about me when he gets older.  I want him to cherish the time we spent outdoors together, or reading books, or making a derby car for scouts.  I want him to know me as the one who loves to cook, who oozes passion for writing, who can’t wait to climb the next peak in the White Mountains.  I don’t want him to remember me with my eyes fixed on a smart  phone.

So while I sometimes want to connect with people online or to be up on the latest information, I know it can’t take the place of connecting with my family.  And that’ll mean putting down the phone someplace, maybe even turning it off for a bit, and intentionally building memories.  I’m starting now.  I’ve got next year’s first grade card from my daughter to work towards.

And at least I know I won’t be traded for a Teddy Graham.

What about you?  What’s your distraction of choice?  What do you long to be known for by your kids or spouse or friends?  Are you doing that?  I’d love to hear your comments.

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Stock photo from Stock.Xchng by Horton Group (hortongrou).