I WAS IN a coffee shop alone recently. For a brief and rare moment I could enjoy being in a coffee shop. One of my many loves for the coffee shop setting beyond the caffeine drinks and things to eat is the people watching. When I looked up at the other parties sharing this space I was excited to see two men spending time with children. Upon second glance I became less excited and more bothered about what I saw.
One father and daughter sat across from one another. Dad had his head down and his fingers poked, dragged and tapped his Ipad. His young daughter was oblivious to her father's actions as she was engrossed in the screen of a smart phone.
I looked at the other man and boy at the next table in hope that their situation would be different. Again, I was disappointed. Man was typing on his laptop and boy was involved with a smart phone with ear buds cutting out the sounds of the surrounding conversations and activity.
When it comes to parenting I do everything I can not to judge parenting styles and approaches. Parenting is really hard and parenting styles are the choices of those involved. This did not soften my gut reaction to what I was seeing with these two groups that I watched. Missed opportunities of adults connecting with children were happening right in front of me and it made me feel sad for both parties.
Because I know that I am not a perfect parent I began to reflect on my own life and recent interactions and moments that I had with my sons. Am I making the most of my opportunities to connect with my boys? How often am I distracted by technology or other things vying for my attention when my boys just want me to be fully present and with them? I know that this does happen and they know when I am not fully engaged with them.
With this experience recently in my thoughts I am now even more committed to being connected and engaged with my sons when I tell them that this is our quality time. I want them to experience the value and possibilities of being fully focused on one another without distractions. There are enough things to distract all of us in life so I have no doubt they have and will continue to experience this challenge.