we are sitting with our lounge chairs sinking into the tide. The sun is setting and we are sipping frosty Coronas. Two sun-kissed little boys run and dip into the waves, wielding their sand shovels. Our little boys. We have figured it out. How to vacation with kids.
Sometimes, however, the most useful thing you can do is make yourself happy, or try to make others happy, or get away from school for an afternoon, or maybe even spare your mother the role of cake-server, just once, on a Sunday afternoon.
When I had my son almost three years ago, I became much more conscious of how often I was using my devices in his presence. Though he was just a baby, I realized he could tell when I wasn't giving him my full attention.
My father didn't leave me much when he died at the relatively young age of 53, save his name and a savant like recall of classic Christmas carols. We were living on the army base at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Only three of our eventual brood of seven kids were born then
No drone of the air conditioner could be heard. No television blared in the background. Not even the familiar hum of the refrigerator or a solitary screen saver could be detected. The sacred wedge of silence was magical, entrancing and wholly alien to those huddled upon the floor and sofa.
What do they lose without the extended net of people coming and going, without the example of constantly welcoming friends new and old? Will they grow up to be exclusive, or clannish, or closed-minded?
One day, 3-year-old, Sami and 1-year old Jessie wanted their mother's attention, but she was talking on her mobile phone. After several attempts at getting her mother's attention, both of her daughters started crying and Sami yelled, "You love that phone more than me!"
We've been very blessed to spend our summers on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for many years. It all started back in 1942 when I attended Camp Idlewild on Lake Winnipesaukee. I was 10 years old and anxious to get out of the hot summer heat.
I had mumbled something to the twins about their excessive X-Box use or texting, asking them when they were going to turn it off and work around the house. But, then, one of the twins said to me: "Mom, can we just relax?" Oh, that hit home.
When they were younger, my children used to create gifts. I still have them scattered about my home office. My favorite part of the creative process back then was hearing them say, "Mom, be surprised when I give you the _____."
As someone who both consumes and creates content for modern gadgetry, I've wondered: How might our family dynamics be different if we were forced, on a regular basis, into something as terrifying as a traditional conversation?
As time passed, we felt increasingly blessed to have this time together each day, and we began to realize what we were doing was downright revolutionary. Whoever heard of an entire family stopping to do absolutely nothing together?
I yearn for those moments. I yearn for lazy Saturday mornings spent lounging in pajamas -- not for my sake (although, it sure would be nice to catch up on some sleep!), but for our sake. We need them. We cherish those moments. And they are far too rare.
I dread the day when my daughter is too cool to give me kisses and my son would rather play basketball with his friends than hang out with his mom. But even when they complain, I'll be forcing the tradition of family days.
I have figured out the art of visiting my family and having a good time with them. I would like to share what always seems to work. I have given this advice to several friends and colleagues, and they all have come back saying how they had a very good holiday.
An outright ban on digital devices won't win your kids' respect -- or compliance. But with a little planning and intentional involvement, you can balance your family's tech activities with much-needed face time. Here's how.
To My Darling Children, I hope you don't mind, but your father and I are spending your inheritance. Actually, it doesn't matter if you do mind because we are spending it anyway and we don't need your permission to do so.