A couple of months ago whilst I was out running, I was listening to a podcast (The B.S Report) where the host Bill Simmons was interviewing Doug Collins about his playing and coaching career. During the interview (around 51:00) Doug talks about watching his children and grandchildren playing sport and ensuring that you are in the moment with them whilst they are participating. Which in today’s world means watching, not having your head down staring at a mobile device.
Both of my children do swimming lessons each week. Whilst my daughter still requires me to be in the pool with her, my son has been been swimming without Dad’s assistance for a little over a year. I take my son to his lesson most weeks and before listening to the Doug Collins interview I often spent part of his lesson with my head down starring at my phone rather than watching my son’s progress (guilty parent).
Doug’s comments really resonated with me. “Your child needs to know that you are in the moment with them and supporting their every move”. They are watching you watch them and often look for your encouragement, even you if you don’t realise you are giving it.
Since listening to that podcast (a few months now) every lesson I attend I make sure that I leave my phone in my pocket (on silent). My son has really come on in leaps and bounds (or strokes) and a lot of that I would have missed because my thoughts would have been somewhere else.
An interesting further observation is that I haven’t been alone. Since listening to that podcast I’ve noticed that the majority of other parents (I’d say 8/10) spend the lesson with their heads in their phones, rarely looking up. I often think about how much they are missing as their children are also making good progress.
The world we live in has never been more connected and everyday technology brings us closer together. Sometimes however, we need to switch off and focus on the things and people that matter the most to us. Make sure they know that there is no one more important than them, as you can’t get that time back.