Parents, Put the Blackberry Down for minute.........

Don't watch the screen, watch your kids

      Columbus Day morning, my children and I decided that we would like to go pumpkin picking.  We have gone pumpkin picking on the holiday practically every year since my oldest child could walk.  It may be silly and cliche, but we always enjoy the day outside away from the distractions of video games, the television and the internet.  We bounce around on the hayride, run through the corn maze, search endlessly for the most perfect pumpkin in the patch and gulp down hot chocolate or apple cider at the end of quest.

     This year, I was suprised and disturbed at the amount of parents looking at their cellphone or blackberry instead of their children.  Trying to give the folks the benefit of the doubt, I thought maybe they were taking pictures and sending them along to friends and family.  But alas, they weren't, they texting, emailing and facing rather than listening to the happy, joyful noises coming out of the littles ones walking alongside them. 

    I don't understand.  I am a total facebook addict.  I check my homepage often, sometimes from my cellphone, but not at the expense of enjoying my children.  What could be more exciting and interesting on that screen?  Even if the person is answering an email from work, can't it wait ten minutes?  Your child won't.  They will grow like weeds and be gone as fast.  I know, mine are living proof.  It seems like yesterday I took my one and and half year old to his first pumpkin patch while I was pregnant with his brother.  In two weeks, he will be 14 years old.  He wanted to go today and walk through the corn maze with his 7 year old sister.  I treasured that moment.  I snapped lots of pictures.  I do not know if they will want to go next year.  Parents need to remember that they are on borrowed time with their children. 

     When my middle child started Kindergarten, his principal warned the parents that the children would grow quickly.  "Don't blink"  he cautioned us all.  I guess I must have blinked because that child will turn 12 early next year.  He now plays soccer, basketball and is a proud member of the Boy Scouts of America.  I do not like to miss any of his games or his scouting ceremonies.  I truly love being a part of the children's lives.  This is the most important job I can have right now.  Raising decent human beings.  People that will contribute to our world, make a difference.

    So, when I see those parents sitting on the soccer field, or at the basketball game playing or facing their friends instead of cheering on their children, I am bewildered.  I wonder if they truly understand the wonderful and special gift they have been given when they were handed their child.  I wonder if they comprehend the depth of the responsibility they have to bring their children up right.  I wonder if they understand what they are missing looking at that screen instead of the sparkle in their child's eye as he or she runs after the ball to score.

     Take a moment, turn off the television.  Don't answer your telephone or text messages for an afternoon.  Walk away from the computer.  Put down your Iphone, Ipod, Blackberry or any other form of technology that we all enjoy so much these days.  Now look around.  What do you have?  The most precious thing ever created, your child.  Now take a walk, look at the beautiful foliage, feel the crisp fall air, pick a few apples, find a pumpkin, have some cider, but above all, talk to your child, without interruption.  That is the best form of communication money can never buy. 

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