Pay Attention!

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

I might be getting softer with each passing year, but the more I see parents looking at their screens while their kids are playing, practicing, or participating in an activity, the sadder I become. I admit, I am not completely innocent of this. But part of getting better is recognizing the problem.

I don't know how many times I've been at cheerleading practice or a game where I've seen a child look up at their parents to see if they saw the things their kids just did and were so proud of, only to see their parents' attention elsewhere. The look on their faces when they see that mom or dad missed it is devastating.

You can't rewind or push the back button on life to see what you missed, but you can do that on your cell phone or tablet. Watch the video later. It's the internet – it's not going anywhere. The same goes for texts. I think most people know right away, without having to read the whole text, if it's important or if a reply can wait an hour or so.

By focusing on our devices instead of being in the moment with our children, not only are we disappointing our kids, we're teaching them that this is acceptable behavior. We're living in a world that is tremendously distracted, and, by not changing our own behavior, we're making the problem worse for future generations.

I often think back to my sports days – the last time I put on a uniform and the last time I took it off. It's emotional for me. Those activities almost always trigger emotions, if you know for a fact that this is the last time you'll be doing something or the last time you'll be watching someone you love do something. The thing is, we don't always know when that last time will be.

Pay attention. Watch your friend sing karaoke. Watch your kids when they say, "Hey, watch this!" Pay attention to your loved ones.

You never know how many more chances you'll get.