So my wife Bethany typed this out earlier this morning. I think it’s worth sharing on this blog, since I often try to write about life, faith, and the messiness of it all… this is a killer reminder about the power of being present… or maybe better, the loss of not being present. My wife has quite an uncanny ability to speak into my life, even when that’s not her point…. and this little story is no exception. Take a look:
If I had a blog, today I would write.
I would write about judging others. I would write about seeing beauty in our children. I would write about cherishing the here and now.
My son Kylan taught me all of these things with one simple, sweet comment.
It all started when my husband found an abandoned iPod Touch in the park near our house. It was password protected so he couldn’t find out who the owner was. He posted signs in the park and no one contacted us for weeks. He tried to track it with no luck. So, finally, he swept it clean and gave it to me (if it’s yours, we’ll give it back, we promise).
I have never had such technology at my fingertips. For the past 7 years I have happily survived with a pay-as-you-go Tracfone that I use for texting and emergencies. I obviously can’t do much on it, so I don’t carry it around often or look at it much.
And for years, these limitations have allowed me to sit at the playground and haughtily judge mothers who bring their kids and spend the entire time with their eyes and ears focused on their phones. I watch my kids. I talk to my kids. I push my kids on the swings. I play with my kids (sometimes).
Today I was in the living room enjoying some time online via the iPod Touch, pretending to pay attention to what my boys were saying as I Facebooked away. It was nice to be able to multi-task. All of a sudden, I could be pseudo-present with my kids while I actually did what I wanted to do. This. Was. Awesome.
But kids are not stupid.
Apparently I had been doing this more and more over the past few days. Apparently I was conveying that my iPod Touch was very important to me. Apparently my kids were aware of my split focus, because when they invited me to go downstairs with them to see the pretend monster they were trying to slay, I hesitated. And they noticed.
Kylan suggested in the sweetest, most genuine voice possible–
“You can bring your phone with you, if you want.”
I can bring my phone with me? So, my three year old thinks, after only 3 days, that the only way I would want to play, pretend, imagine, or explore with them is if I can bring my “phone” with me? They aren’t interesting enough? They aren’t special enough?
I dropped the “phone” and went with them. And because I did, I learned all about blueberry monsters and how big they are and where they like to sleep. We jumped as far as we could together and chased monsters out from behind the couch.
And because of the simple choice drop the distractions and focus on my children, I experienced first hand my boys’ creativity, vivid imagination, enthusiasm for life, perceptiveness, and sweet hearts.
Amazing how a simple comment and a simple choice could make me fall in love with my kids all over again.
How easy it was to judge others for this. Turns out all I needed was a plank of my own–
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 1-5)
Preach it, Jesus, preach it.