Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Dividends of Childhood

I only had a few more things to do before we left. Just a few. That was it. My focal strength flowed to the MacBook bolted to my lap while I sat in our cuddle chair, the one the Mama and me bought way back before the girls were born.

But while I worked the Mama was upstairs getting ready, and Beatrice and Bryce were natives beyond restless -- bouncing across the living room impatiently while waiting to go to their fun pre-K and preschool event, the 10-year Bridges to Kinder anniversary celebration.

The irony of the cuddle chair isn't lost on me (wider recliner built for two adults); I sit there and work and write a lot week after week, as long as I'm not traveling. Yes, I have an "office" nook away from everything else I work in most of the time, but I'm still in that chair.

Again, just a few more things to do...almost there...and then boom! Bryce jumped from the cuddle chair arm into the space next to me. Over and over and over again. Bea shrieked and hopped and bopped like a crazed bunny until I finally got mad and frustrated -- because I just have a few more things to do!

Although I know I shouldn't have been. Angry. At. All. That's when I checked myself because I knew the girls just wanted my attention and wanted to play.

I raised my white flag and parked the computer on the desk.

It's actually the same with any device  of choice, because there's always the immediate (gratification) need -- that important text or email to answer, there's always that great photo to share via Instagram, or there's always that quickly crafted witticism to share on Facebook or G+, all the while my girls simultaneously wanting the immediate gratification of my presence.

Guilty as charged.

This was all prompted by an NPR article this week titled For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone. In it one expert argues:

"And when parents focus on their digital world first — ahead of their children — there can be deep emotional consequences for the child, Steiner-Adair says. 'We are behaving in ways that certainly tell children they don't matter, they're not interesting to us, they're not as compelling as anybody, anything, any ping that may interrupt our time with them,' she says."

Am I putting my devices away? And if I don't, do I feel like I'm telling my kids they're not important? No way, Jose.

I'm always going to have work to do, I'm always going to want the immediate gratification of social sharing, but they're not always going to want my attention and play.

So play I did. That was the right choice.

Business is transitory, and so is childhood, but childhood can pay dividends that far exceed any promising business plan.

Just ask an infamous sock puppet (Daddy wrote, while sharing the photo on Instagram).


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