The month of July represents a significant change of pace for Mary and me. Downtime. Reflection time. Study time.
During this break Mary and I went to a popular local breakfast restaurant which provided the perfect canvas on which to paint a morning memory. We took advantage of scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy as our pallet.
As we were enjoying our final tastes, a dad entered the restaurant with his young daughter at his side. They were ushered to the perfect two-person table in a quiet corner of the thriving establishment. It was an ideal father/daughter moment if ever there was one.
But that’s not what happened. Within seconds of being seated in the ideal memory-creating location, the dad was transfixed to his cell phone. What made this more offensive than a typical cell-phone distraction was that his daughter had nothing in her hand. No phone. No game. Nothing.
She sat, staring at the face of a dad who was enthralled with anything but her. She faded to boredom, even as he grew increasingly more unresponsive.
This wasn’t a moment stolen; it was a privilege given away.
Make no mistake, the message was powerfully clear to me, and to the wanting heart and fragile self-image of this young girl. “My phone and the information or entertainment that it provides are more important than you are.”
Relationships are a commitment; a priority setting; a calibration on the transcendent relational realities that while individuals are within my reach, both physically and relationally, I would be wise to steward each moment with intentionality, focus, and enthusiasm.
Healthy and engaging dialog doesn’t just happen. It requires commitment and diligence and preparation. Whether that’s with a student, a board member… or your daughter. Stumbling into a conversation will invite a collision of priorities, demands, and distractions.
Take it from a seasoned dad who has missed too many “moments”; a dad who squandered his share of biscuit and gravy conversations. Don’t let the latest app, the trendiest Tweet, or the most compelling headline entice you to ignore the precious opportunity that sits across the table.
Prepare to engage. Unleash your heart to be involved.
Just imagine what could happen if we shared a meal without our cell phone at our side.
Relationships on purpose.