We're living in the modern age. My son doesn't remember a time without smartphones or on-demand movies. Consequently, instant gratification is the expectation for his generation. However, my peers and I grew up renting movies from an actual store and making phone calls from the family house phone. Therefore, we tend to have a greater appreciation for technology's advances because they've transformed our lives in a big way. I also find that we eventually realize that these modern gadgets should have a place in our lives, not run them.
Today's world is all-consuming and extremely demanding. If I wanted, I could spend every waking moment on my tablet, phone or laptop, completely plugged in but utterly disconnected. Yes, social media and the online world play a crucial role in our everyday lives. I couldn't effectively blog, write, bank or shop without the wonder that is the internet. However, I've learned the hard way that there's a price to pay for being perpetually plugged into a virtual world. For me, that price is time away from my child. For others it may be their productivity at work or their commitment to personal relationships. It is possible to be physically present but mentally and emotionally distant. That is not how I want to live my life and that is most definitely not how I want to parent.
I thank the slower pace of my upbringing for bringing me to this realization. I am not perfect and it's often difficult to just say no to picking up my phone or tablet. It takes a little self-restraint to achieve balance but the payoff is worth it.
The modern family is a marriage of old and new, the simple and the complex coming together to create an efficient and effective union. We carry the torch of a time passed but not forgotten. It is our responsibility to teach our future leaders the importance of being present in their own lives while using technology to advance their existence in a balanced manner. Instant gratification is grand but patience will always be a virtue. From now on I'll work on teaching my son that instead of checking my email three hundred times a day.
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