The Mishaps of Nanny
Proverbs 22:6 “Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.”
Ephesians 6:4 “Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.”
Proverbs 15:23 “A man has joy in an apt answer. And how delightful is a timely word!”
Proverbs 4:25 “Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.”
The other day, I was waiting in my Doctor's office for my dreaded yearly physical. I know it needs to be done, but it always makes my pulse quicken. I can feel the vein in the left side of my neck get tingly as soon as I enter the parking lot.
As I was waiting in the waiting room, patiently impatient, I noticed the cutest little boy. Around 2, I would guess. Perfectly blond hair, highlighted by the summer sun. Gigantic, sparkling blue eyes. Tan, squishy cheeks. He was desperately trying to get the attention of his “Nanny”, who looked to be his grandma. Continuous requests for Nanny filled the quiet waiting room. He needed help with his shoe. He wanted to show her something that he had found on the floor. He needed her to look at his boo boo. He wanted her to play a game with him. And the way Nanny was handling herself was driving me crazy. She never looked up at that precious boy because her eyes were always on her phone. As she put on his shoe, she scrolled through someone's life. She didn't make eye contact with him, or smile, or listen to his story.
I couldn't figure out why it was bothering me so much until I realized I was a third person witness to something I do all to often. Pay more attention to my phone than I do to my family. I can halfheartedly listen to them while I answer in robotic replies. “Oh, that's neat.” “I am not sure.” “Go ask your dad.” I was as annoyed with myself as I was with Nanny.
That night, I made a random decision to go on the elliptical that is in the garage. I hadn't visited that machine in over a month. My littlest followed me and decided to ride his scooter around me while I attempted to exercise. My first instinct was to pick up my phone to help distract me from the protest I was getting from my out of shape legs.
Then I remembered Nanny. I put down that phone and talked with my sweet 7 year old. Nothing deep or earth shattering. Just normal little boy discussions. What if the world was run by robots. What kind of bug do I like the most. How much he loves snacks. He showed me tricks he could do on his scooter. I responded with awe. I looked him in the eye, as best I could while he was scooting around me. I answered his questions with full explanations. When my time of torturous exercise was done, something heartbreaking and beautiful happened. My little guy looked at me with his deep brown eyes and said, “Thanks for talking to me, Mom.”
Just one, deliberate act of putting my phone down for 20 minutes and talking with him had made such an impact on him that he thought to thank me. Thank you's can be hard to get from a 7 year old.
What are we missing, Moms, as we scroll through people's highlight reels? For home décor to try and recreate? Shopping for something that we don't need?
We are missing connections and sweet conversations. True relationships and affirmations that our children so desperately need. Sure, there are times when we need our devices. But aren't there a lot more times that we don't?
Our kids need us, Moms. Our families need us. Are we online shopping at ball games instead of watching our children? Are we at the pool, checking out social media and missing time with our little ones? Are we semi-listening to them as they tell us about our day?
Join me in being deliberate. I will be trying to do it, too! Invest in your children while they are still in your home. Enjoy them. Guide them. Listen to them. Cheer them on. With no phone. With no distractions. With eyes on them.