In not being present, in pretending I can hold at least two attentions concurrently, I betray eternity’s moment for the temporary release I feel I could have by taking a look at a little machine at the end of my arm.
Whether it is a significant e-mail I’ve been waiting for, or some form of message by a friend, or an acquaintance, or even a prospect, I really do need to acknowledge that there is always a buzz to receiving email.
I believe the earliest I can remember feeling excited about mail was when I received a postcard or a letter or even a package in brown paper wrapped together with string through the email for a pre-schooler.
The problem is partly about accessibility, about us being too available, but it is also partly about craving info. We are all vulnerable to this new addiction – the fear of missing out, or FOMO.
The timing of this guide is poignant given that it’s Father’s Day in Australia. The Fathering Project have elevated the role of Dad significantly over recent years. And it is normal for dads to expect to be celebrated on this one particular day of the year.
However, what if as fathers we took a while to reflect on the interruptions our apparatus create?
Let’s just be fair.
Could we be as daring to consider a structure of subject that would restore our control over the machine rather than relinquish our control to it?
I’ve done like lots of individuals have over the last few years and deleted programs on my phone. But there continue to be the text messages and e-mails that I prefer to answer in a timely fashion.
I’ve needed to be reminded occasionally to stop looking at my phone during family times, and I guess for me I have come to accept how fast I substitute my precious family time with superfluities. It is fortunate that my wife can be direct with me. However, it saddens me how many precious family moments I’ve missed with my children. I doubt whether they would have even noticed, because it is not that big a problem, but that is just the problem; we continue to permit the technology to interfere with and at times ambush our lives. And some of the time it can be completely necessary.
So here’s a message to dads: Have you been able to be fully present with your children for the precious moments you have them?
It seems that childhood never ends for parents, but like anyone with adult children would tell us, after that time has gone it is gone. I believe I still grieve my three adult daughters having grown up. I’m so glad they’re adults now, but as parents, if we’re truthful, we miss them. Yet I’m so proud they have their own lives.
I think for me being a fantastic father is about refocusing daily and discovering ways of just being present.
Fatherhood is for today. We cannot afford not to make the most of each moment, but inevitably we’ll waste many of them. Let’s make the most of as many of those moments we might otherwise waste.
Notice: being a Dad I will not talk for Mums.