A few months ago Lane — age 4, at the time — asked me if I would push her on the swing set in our yard.
“Sure,” I said.
“Can you not bring your phone with you?” she says right back to me.
And I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
“Of course,” honey, “I’ll leave it in the kitchen,” I tell her.
This interchange got me reeling, and mostly showed me how, when I’m distracted, my kids notice. And, also, that maybe I’m distracting myself more than I realize.
This post is in no way a blast against social media, smart phones, or modern technology. It’s not a call for media fasts. It’s not a judgment on how Facebook or iphones or Instagram are burying us alive. I’m simply naming the reality that we are more distracted than ever with more mediums for distraction than ever. And, it’s not just the nameless culture out there that’s distracted. I am. Apparently, I am, too.
“Can you not bring your phone with you?”
This is what I’m thinking about today, as we enter Lent, and going forward: Could I, for the next 40 days and beyond, consider the things in my life that are distracting me from attending to my priorities? (Whatever the distraction may be.) Could I consider curtailing those distractions to more appropriate times? Could that, in and of itself, be a transformational discipline.
I talked to Luke and Lane about all this. I told them I wanted to put my phone away. I told them they could stop me if they saw me on my phone or computer too much. And that’s opened up an interesting dialogue in our household already.
Richard Rohr writes, “Lent is not a trying at all, but an ultimate surrendering, dying, and foundational letting go.”
What is a go-to distraction that you might consider leaving in the kitchen so you can enjoy the swings a bit more freely?