Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Children need two things: roots and wings

Last month I ditched my Smartphone.

Here are some reflections why I prefer my new life....

I did not realize how fragmenting it is to be looking at your cell phone all day. I knew on some level that my days were being chopped up, but I did not fully comprehend just how distracting a phone is until I got rid of mine. Calls, texts, emails….the constant need to check all three—and Facebook and Twitter.

The Smartphone interrupts your ability to think. All. Day. Long.

I am at least three times as productive since I got rid of my phone. I am actually able to write a complete article, instead of starting articles that get pushed to the side indefinitely.

I finished my book. And most importantly, when I am with my children, I am completely in the moment.

I remember so many times when my son was young and I was looking at my phone when I should have been with him. He called me on it, and his little voice still echoes in my heart.

I can never get those years back, and I mourn them. Ironically, I now have time to mourn them. But better now, while my children are young than to look back at the end of my life, my children fully grown, knowing that there is no way I can ever make those moments up to them.

We now have more time for painting, reading, yoga and playing card games; my attention is never diverted by an email that could wait.

My children are also slowly discovering the freedom to wander the neighborhood as I did in the 80’s. They are growing into incredible, brave, caring and courageous human beings. I think a large part of that has resulted in my ability to let them have their own adventures. As the Chinese Proverb goes, “Children need two things: roots and wings.”

We can’t give our children either at the expense of others.

My definition of being a “good” mom has changed a lot since I became a mother 10 years ago.

It is fuller and more inclusive of the earth and all her children. If I can’t do something without hurting someone else—whether they be here or abroad—I don’t want to do it.

I am no longer buying into the fear that something that will happen to my children if I don’t play by all the unspoken rules.

Statistically speaking, the chances of that are slim to none. And yet I now know that there are things that I was doing as a Western mother that were directly causing harm to children abroad—I am no longer willing to live like that anymore.

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