This is an update to a blog I wrote after our Thanksgiving feast 2017. As you'll read below, the evening didn't turn out the way I'd hoped, to say the least. I've included the original post below and added a section upfront about how I'll do it differently this year.
Whether you're hosting a meal for Thanksgiving or attending as a guest, you'll agree "that person", who insists on digital media restrictions is rarely voted most popular at the party. Yet, despite the deep sighs, eye rolls and threats of noncompliance, I continue my fight against addictive media influence, especially when it comes to family.
Before you give up the fight against society norms, remember this: your attention is the most precious commodity you have -- more valuable than money -- and the personal, authentic connections you enjoy with people in your life are what you'll be remembered for in the end.
If you'd like more help...
Happy Mother's Day to all women out there raising children with a feminine touch, an iron fist, and a persistent headache from fighting about screens.
Soon, it will be summer "break", that magical time of year when teachers get to return the little darlings they've enjoyed for months back to their parents. Kids get to sleep late, hang out with friends and play outside. Although family traditions vary, we can all count on long days, relaxing nights and family bonding. That's the plan anyway.
Unless, of course, your family owns a few digital devices. Today, most homes offer a cornucopia of options for plugging into the Matrix including laptops, connected TVs, iPads, smartphones, gaming consoles, smart speakers, and more. With daily school structure, team sports and homework out of the way, summertime with screen-obsessed kids can turn into a special kind of horror show.
In August, my father, with whom I was very close, died from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Towards the end of his life, he’d lost the ability to eat, read and socialize -- the things he loved most in life. To see him in this condition was heartbreaking, yet, the weeks leading up to his death were oddly inspiring. The disease had taken his body, but I knew his legacy would carry on.
During the days I sat by his bedside, my three sisters would visit and we shared poignant, funny and sad moments from our childhood. Did we ever acknowledge his parenting skills or thank him for investing time in our future? No way! At least not then. As I watched the disease take his mind and body, I reflected on how much my life choices were shaped by the time he spent teaching us how to live.
My dad taught us about values. He didn’t care about keeping up with the Joneses, societal norms, or embarrassing us in the grocery store. He toted vitamins in his “Man...
"The evidence is clear, but we're not ready to face it. Society has gone all-in on tech and we don't want to accept that the devices on which we've become dependent have gotten out of control. Even more difficult, is taking responsibility for giving devices to our kids with developing brains."
-- Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids and How to Break the Trance.
My son runs cross country and track. If you've ever been to a track meet, you know it's a full day event, during which you get to watch your child compete for about 5 minutes. With all that time waiting patiently on the wooden bleachers, I’ve had a chance to ask other parents how they manage screens in their home.
99% of the time, the conversation starts like this…
Q: “Do you let your teenager sleep with his/her phone?”
A: “Yes, because it’s his/her alarm...