Forgot my phone again. :)
I’m the mirror image of Erin. My kids are older and my time is freer; what I find myself pondering these days isn’t so much time and task juggling as the quality of those little lives we try so hard to guide as they grow large.
Because quality of life means everything to me, I worked part-time here at The Columbian for well over a decade while being a semi-stay-at-home dad. I hung out with the kids while my professional wife put in the hours and made the real money. Truth be told, we also fell back on family and professional childcare so I could halfway maintain a professional career. But I was also that rare dad who showed up amongst the many moms who routinely volunteer in classrooms and escort the kids on field trips. (Did I earn suspicious glances and skeptical inquiries from some of those moms? You bet.)
I found part-time life enjoyable and balanced. I was proud of my work at The Columbian but even happier about the time I spent with my kids – playing and working, reading and writing, traveling and discussing. The earnings on that investment are already far beyond any money I could have made during that time.
Now, with one kid successfully launched – and just returned from a great freshman year at college – and another not far behind, I’m back to fulltime at The Columbian. Meanwhile, my beliefs and attitudes about this cyberiffically speedy world continue to evolve – sort of.
We’re a non-cable-TV family and we’ve tried to hold the line on gadgetry that – in my humble opinion – tends to turn human beings of any age into something like attention-challenged thumb drivers. (Can you hear my kids fighting back on that front? Of course they did. We were firm but flexible. We mostly held the line. Sometimes that’s what a parent must do, no?) Nonetheless, in this day and age, you’d need to live on the Moon to be beyond the influence of the Internet and social media.
I keep hearing about studies and findings that point to increased social ills like anxiety and obesity – and even cutting-edge maladies with names like “nature-deficit disorder” and “Internet and computer addiction” – among today’s children. Those studies keep piling up and we keep shrugging them off and doing what we do.
I’m one of those “Go-outside-and-play” dads, one of those “Get-wet-and-dirty” dads – and definitely one of those “Leave-your-device-at-home” dads. Feels like that kind of dad is increasingly rare, though I’d like to believe otherwise.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Meanwhile, I seem to have forgotten my cell phone today – again. Better go find it. Important texts are no doubt stacking up, and I’ll be in trouble with the fam if I get too far behind!