Dads and Their Divided Attentions

People, Father, Daughter, Smile, Happy
In not being present, in pretending I could hold two or more attentions concurrently, I betray eternity’s moment for the temporary release I feel I could have by taking a look at just a tiny machine in the end of my arm.
When it is an important email I’ve been waiting for, or some kind of message by a friend, or an acquaintance, or even a prospect, I really do need to admit that there is always a buzz to receiving email.
I believe the earliest I can recall feeling excited about mail was when I got a postcard or a letter or even a package in brown paper wrapped with string through the mail for a pre-schooler. (There is something about a package wrapped in brown paper and string that takes me all the way back to the 70s.)
The issue is partly about availability, about us being too accessible, but it is also partly about craving info.
The timing of this article is poignant given that it is Father’s Day in Australia. The Fathering Project have elevated the role of Dad significantly over recent years. And it’s normal for dads to expect to be celebrated on this one special day of the year.
However, what if as fathers we took some time to reflect on the interruptions our devices create?
Let’s just be honest.
Could we be as daring to think about some structure of discipline that would restore our control over the machine rather than relinquish our control to it?
I have done like many individuals have over the years and deleted apps on my phone. But there are still the text messages and e-mails that I like to answer in a timely manner.
I have needed to be reminded occasionally to stop taking a look at my phone during family times, and I guess for me I have come to accept how quickly I substitute my precious family time with superfluities. It is fortunate that my wife can be direct . However, it saddens me how many precious family moments I’ve missed with my children. I doubt if they would have even noticed, because it’s not that big a issue, but that is just the problem; we continue to allow the technology to interfere with and occasionally 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 seconds you have them?
It appears that youth never ends for parents, but like anyone with adult kids would inform us, once that time has gone it’s gone. I am so glad they are adults now, but as parents, if we’re honest, we miss them. Yet I am so proud they have their own lives. And I still have a five-year-old who’s such a gift to us.
I think for me being a good father is about refocusing daily and discovering ways of simply being present.
Fatherhood is for today. We can’t afford not to make the most of each moment, but inevitably we’ll waste lots of them. Let us make the most of as many of those moments we might otherwise waste.

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