This morning I stopped at Sonic for a breakfast burrito. When I pulled up I saw a dad and his little daughter (I'm guessing she was about 6) at the stand-up order booth by the tables. They placed their order, sat down at a table, and then - like clockwork - dad pullled out his cell phone. I sat there in my Jeep watching this little girl work harder than an army of ants trying to carry a ham - trying with every fiber of her being to get her dad's attention. And as far as he was concerned, he was giving it to her. Heck, he brought her to Sonic.
What more could she want?
Allow me to answer that question.
She wants her dad's attention.
She wants her daddy to ask her, "What's your favorite color today?" (because you know that changes about every 3 days when you're 6).
She wants her daddy to tell her, "That dress is amazing! Obviously only a princess could wear that dress."
She wants her daddy to play "I Spy". (Like 38 times)
She wants her daddy to share whatever it is that he ordered.
She wants her daddy to comment on her hair and ask her questions and tell her about what he would do with his dad when he was 6.
I sat and watched this in great frustration, not jugdment. I've been that parent before. I've been guilty of it just like he was. Maybe just like you've been.
I've been deceived into thinking that physically being there automatically meant I was present. I was wrong. I might as well have been absent.
I watched that little girl stare at her daddy, then stare at his phone, all the while making little 6-year old mental notes. Those notes say things like:
"When I grow up, I'm going to look at my cell phone 24-7."
They're not only missing us being there because we're not fully present or engaged; they're also watching us, learning what it looks like to be less than present and living a life somewhere else rather than where we are - giving more attention to people who AREN'T there than people who ARE.
We get one shot at this.
These opportunities are slipping through our hands like sand. I'm not called to raise or disciple my smartphone. I'm not called to respond to email every 10 minutes. Facebook and Twitter (and everyone on it) can live without me and you for awhile. Our kids can't. They need us. They need us right now!
Let's take intentional steps today to show them that we're here & we're present.
Let's show them what it looks like to love someone by putting them first.
Read John 10:10.
Ask yourself: Would the Good Shepherd tend to the cell phone...or the sheep?