Pay Attention

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Yesterday my husband and I went to lunch at a casual Mexican restaurant. There was a family of four sitting next to us — mom, dad, and two boys, around ten to twelve years old.

I sat next to the mom. She was looking at her phone. No big deal, I figured she needed to check a few things before she ate and chatted with her family.

Five minutes later, I was enjoying my burrito, chips, and guacamole, and laughing with my husband. I looked over. The dad and boys were quiet, concentrating on their food. Mom was eating and staring at her phone.

I couldn’t help but notice that the family was barely conversing. The boys talked a little. The dad ate and looked up once in awhile. Mom’s eyes never left her phone. I didn’t want to judge. Maybe she had an urgent work issue or an ill relative. I get it. That’s happened to me.

But she didn’t appear the least bit upset or bothered. I could easily see her phone from where I sat, and it looked like she was playing a game or checking social media. She was zoned out, lost in a fantasy world.

The family didn’t look like they were fighting. Just into their own thoughts — and phone.

By this time I was annoyed. So was my husband. I wanted to say, “Look at each other! Talk to each other! Why did you even bother going to lunch together? TALK to your kids, they’re sitting right there. Ask them questions, tell them something interesting or funny that happened to you. Laugh with them.”

A few minutes later, the dad got on his phone. Both parents sat with their heads down, sometimes smiling a little, probably at something on Facebook or Instagram. The boys looked uninterested and simply ate.

I got the feeling that was normal for them. Sad.

A man walked by, looked at the family, stared for a second, and shook his head in disgust. I felt the same way.

It had been about half an hour since we first sat down. My husband and I had cleaned our plates and were sipping our drinks. The parent’s faces were still buried in their phones. The boys sat there, detached and bored. I hadn’t heard the woman speak the entire time.

Eating out isn’t just to fill our bodies with nutrition. It’s an excellent opportunity to talk, laugh, and bond. Those parents wasted precious time with their kids.

Of course it wasn’t my place to tell them that. Even though I felt like grabbing their phones and yelling, “Pay attention!”

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

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87 thoughts on “Pay Attention

  1. This is such an important topic. I try to sit down to dinner with my kids every night (we usually manage 4-5 nights a week). We talk. We laugh. We bond. This is one of the only moments of the day that we have together. I know that when they are all grown and gone, these dinners and this time as a family will help to shape the family relationships they build from here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I completely agree! That’s so great you have those special times together as a family. We did that too when our girls were living at home. We had a strict rule of no phones or technology at the table. It was our chance to get caught up on the day and bond. Our girls are in their early 20s now, and we still enjoy those precious, chatty family dinners πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing how it works for you.

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  2. I don’t sit down with “the family” anymore but the last few times I visited my youngest daughter, I had to tell her (rather sternly) “PUT DOWN THAT FUCKING PHONE!” Sad world we live in when our cell phones are more valuable than our children…or our childrens’ parents.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I see this so often. It’s really sad. I remember going to a park last summer, looking around and noticed that almost everyone was looking at their phone instead of enjoying their family/friends and being in the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, very true. They’d say they’ve never had good communication with their parents. It starts when the kids are young, the communication and also showing the kids that what they have to say is important and really matters. It looked like this woman didn’t care. I’m sure she does, but that isn’t the image she portrays.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phone Zombies! I see it all the time, too. I’ve heard of people walking out into traffic, not even knowing where their going. And, don’t even want to think about all the texting while driving accidents. So sad.

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      • Oh, that should have been ‘they’re – not their’ πŸ™‚ I’ve noticed people who never talk at restaurants, too, because of looking at their phones. When we go out, I use mine to take a photo of something, but that’s all. I’d rather enjoy the company I’m with, and also gives me a chance to watch other people. πŸ™‚

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      • I do that too, take pics of pretty-looking food or the people I’m with. But so rude to take it out and text or check emails. And lol about the they’re/their… that slipped right by me, I had to go back and see what you were talking about, haha!

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    • It really is a big issue, and I feel like it’s getting out of control. Kids now are brought up with it, that’s all they know from the time they’re babies. It’s sad. Technology is everywhere, and for the most part, is very good and helpful. But this is one issue in society where technology is invasive and hurting human interaction and relationships. Thanks Miriam! x

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  5. I worked for 30 years as an addictions counselor. It’s becoming more and more clear to me that internet addiction is very real. When a person is addicted they drift further away from family and loves as the addiction takes control. This sounds like an addiction. @RosemaryNKnight is now following you!

    Reply w/ FOLLOW @RosemaryNKnight to follow back.
    Reply w/ WHOIS @RosemaryNKnight to view profile.

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  6. In my house we have a rule ‘ no phones, or something of the sort, at the dinner table! I’ve seen the same situation you have many times and I worried that we might fall in the same trap! Thankfully everyone respects rules here (at least some of them )and we always talk about anything and everything at dinner table πŸ™‚ my kids are only 4 and I would hate for them to grow up being ignored because of technology!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s great you have that rule and use dinner time to talk. We had that rule too when our girls lived at home (and even now when they come home for a weekend)… and we were very strict with the no phones at the table rule. It’s a great time to connect! Thanks for sharing that!😊

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  7. AMEN!!!

    For all of the “connectedness” out there, folks are becoming more and more disconnected from what truly matters, their families and other loved ones. It is a very sad problem. I think “social media” would be more properly titled “anti-social media”.

    Have a blessed night. πŸ™‚

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  8. Pingback: Posts of Note Week 12 – Flying Through Water

  9. Such an insightful post Jenny. It really is so sad. We were eating dinner once with my husbands mom, sister and her daughter. It was several years ago and our niece was about 16. She spent the entire meal looking at her lap. Later I said something to my husband about it and he said…Oh! is that what she was doing? I could not for the life of me figure out what she was looking at! πŸ˜‰ It’s a problem across generations now.
    I shared this post in my posts of note today. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Nikki! I just saw your Posts of Note and am thrilled to be listed. Your comment is all too familiar with many families. Big problem! Thanks again πŸ™‚

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  10. This is happening so much….if I am close enough to the kids I try to engage them in conversation….I have had the change on more than one occasion to do this and when the parent finally notices a stranger is talking to her precious babies, they normally give me a dirty look and I reply by saying, oh your done on your phone, just keeping your adorable kids entertained till you were done, no problem…sometimes it works, most time it doesn’t….so sad….xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s nice you try, and hopefully they get the message! It’s to the point that everywhere I go, I see this happening. Everyone so hooked to their phones. I get it, I am too… but it’s important to realize when it’s not appropriate to use it. Thanks for your comment Kat! xx

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  11. Such a sad epidemic these days!!!
    I will say that I love my phone and how it can keep me connected with people I can’t see. BUT….. There is no way that it takes the place of face to face communication!!

    Liked by 1 person

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