5/8/14

Social Networking vs. Social Net-Gains

Like most moms, I only have so many hours in a day and most of those days I seem to be wishing I had more. More time to spend with my kids, more time to focus on myself and my relationship, and more time to take care of all the many things that consume us.

The most important place for me to carve out more ticks-tocks has to be with the kids. It is why we moved to a home closer to my work, which meant two more hours with Donovan and Camryn everyday, versus being stuck in traffic during the commute. Even with those two extra hours I still feel like I am barely keeping my head above water when it comes to being a good mom… .whatever the definition of that really is.

I will be the first to admit that there has been an occasion or two where Donovan has said to me, “Mom you are on your phone too much.” Those words sting pretty hard. Your kid is realizing that you should be paying more attention to the ones most important to you…not peering into the lives of others.

Then on Tuesday I saw a video making it’s viral arc around the internet, one you may have seen as well.  The video called Look Up encourages us to really live THIS life. To put down our phones and engage in our families, our communities, the people around us because if we don’t, who knows what we are missing?

One of the things that I feel has helped me do this is my chalkboard. Yep. A chalkboard. As low tech of a social networking tool you can probably find, this awesome addition of black slate (I bought at TJ Maxx for $40 last year so I am betting it’s not really slate) has quickly become one of my favorite purchases. On it I keep a quote of significance. Something I want the kids to think about, to appreciate, or incorporate into their week and lives. And with it being in my dining room during dinner, after we have talked about our day and the new thing we learned, we talk about the quote. What it means, the importance of the person quoted or the time in which it was said. This is when some of my most memorable conversations take place.

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There are quite profound things that come out of the mouths of children. Some inspirational and some silly but all so worthwhile and important. We are building relationships with our children. Hopefully one of love and respect. I want my children to look to me as their guide, to help them figure out their own way but a part of helping them make difficult or not so difficult decisions.

It is important to remember that while our smartphones allow us to connect with people all over the world it is the connections in our homes, driving conversation to improve self-esteem and confidence in our daily lives that make this life worth living.

Aryanna Hunter is an Iraq War veteran, mother of two, member of The Truman National Security Project, President of One Push Up, a non-profit organization designed to empower veterans out of poverty, and writes from her blog A Broad Sense

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