prepare to PARTICIPATE!

Amazing how generations have changed.. I remember as a child the fun was in camping trips without technology (although I also remember the rotary dial phones and party lines and black and white Tv shows). I remember the whole family involved in whatever the activity. If we went to our cousins home to play hide-and-seek in the dark or campfires, the adults talked while the children played.
In two days I have observed many of the things that I have found disturbing. Some I am even guilty of! It is time I PREPARE TO PARTICIPATE! It has been a huge conviction that our family works on that when we are together around the table we are together to talk to each other – not to consult our phones, our Facebook, our emails, etc. We are not always good at it and our daughter will remind us (although at times she can be the guilty party). Tonight at dinner, a stranger next to us even pointed out our flaw… Sam was on my kindle fire playing a game ( is normal escape from a crowded restaurant without any menu options that he is remotely interested in), Jim on his phone reading Facebook, Mary reading a real book, Mary’s friend reading a book on kindle… I just watched. Today however we had spent the whole day as a family and were escaping for downtime (at least that is our excuse).  But if a stranger observes it, why can’t I put that magnifying glass on my own family?
I dug a big hole in the sand for Samuel yesterday and some cute little kids were amazed and wanted to help. I knew it would be a meltdown for Sam to share his sandpit made with tunnels for dinosaurs. So I went over to where they were sitting and dug another large hole (big enough for 5 small children). Not complaining BUT the dad sat and watched me dig this huge hole and complained as the little kids helped and got sand on him! Then we introduced these little kids to sandcrabs and gave them a couple in their bucket.  Another dad in that group later in the day just dumped those sandcrabs in the sand way above the water because he did not want to take the bucket to the ocean! Shame on those men for not stepping up and not participating in those children’s lives! They missed a moment.. missed a story in their kids’ lives and let a complete stranger enjoy the moment, the smiles on their faces, that story! (and shame on me for all my missed opportunities in the stories of our children’s lives!)  It is easy for me on vacation to be involved because most of the distractions are gone.  I thought to myself if those men are not committed here where there is only sand, sun, water to distract, what are they like at home?
Tonight Sam and I went to the pirate ship… I watched as moms and dads just sat around and text and read on their phones while their children played. This is one environment I am 100% on duty because I know that no one else is watching their kids and at least one bully will show up! The little bully showed up and was throwing sand into other kid’s faces and then one little boy threw sand back.  The bully went to tattle to the mom… the mom who was on her phone and missed the whole thing defended the bully and then went back to her phone and he went back to being a bully!  One little girl peer her pants because her mom was too busy on her phone to see the “potty dance”. One mom sat and read her “Fifty Shades of Gray” book, which from my understanding is not a playground appropriate book. I did see one very attentive dad that when his boy fell in the sand he attempted to wipe off the sand and I handed him a wet one. He was grateful, cleaned up the little boys hands/ face and then leaned in to give him a kiss on the forehead. He participated… another couple was also attentive and made sure their 4 children were safe and having fun….
A friend of mine liked a link on Facebook about a hands free revolution – about letting go of our cellphones. I cannot just be a hands free mom (although that is a start!) I have to be a hands-on mom… I have to PARTICIPATE! I have to participate in my husband’s life too because if I am not involved in what he does and support what is important to him, in this society, some other woman may try to participate in his life (and not on my watch).  But that means I have to step it up for my children and husband!!! I have to stop making excuses with my weight… stop making my phone/computer more important than the moment. Will it happen overnight – no! But, I can put my children as the police… I also actually got in the swimming pool instead of sitting on the side enjoying a book… I did dig holes and castles and caught sand crabs (not just for my children but another one too lol).. I have signed up both children for cyberspace school and will be participating in their education…. But there are things I still need to eliminate to free more participation than just presentation in their lives. Just a few *my weight * my physical endurance *my disorganization in our home *my work schedule * my cellphone /electronics… of note all things changeable. I want my children to know I am not just there but I am a willing participant (:  (And now with the list out there it steps up my commitment)

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