I have a confession to make.
Please forgive me in advance for shocking you.
I don't have a smart phone. We don't even have high-speed internet at home. Just a slow dial-up connection to check email.
My car has a cassette player and I'm still going through the hundreds of Torah tapes in our collection. My commute is so short that I usually only get 5 minutes or so at a time, and I love that it always saves the place I was at before, even days or months later.
Throw in the lack of a TV and I guess most people think we're living in the stone age.
So the other day my wife suggested that she could be so much more.... productive if she had a smart phone. She could look stuff up. She could shop online.
"You don't know what it would do to you," I said. "It will take over your life."
She didn't believe me.
I realize that most of the people reading this blog think it's normal for kids to have their own phones, not to mention free access to the Internet, TV etc. So what benefit is there to fighting the tide?
Well, the answer is, if you have kids, you have exactly one chance to raise them. No, they don't have to have a TV in their room. No, they don't have to be on Facebook during homework time. Be their parent.
If you don't have kids, but know someone who could benefit from this message, please forward it to them.
If you have a husband, consider this: many, many men have told me that it annoys them deeply when they come home and their wife is on the smart phone or dumb phone and hardly notices that he's home. When you see your husband for the first time at the beginning and end of the day, don't be on the phone. If you're in the middle of a conversation with Barrack H. Obama, you say, "Excuse me Mr. President, but my husband just came in, gotta go." Let your husband know that he is more important to you than anyone else in the world. Think about it.
(PS - guys, this goes both ways)
If you are a parent, don't make your children feel that they have to compete with your phone. Don't even bother answering it between 5-8 pm. That's what answering machines are for!
Be your spouse's spouse and your child's parent and let them know that they are more important to you than everyone else in the world. Actions speak louder than words.
Think about it.
Question for your table: Are you so addicted to your device that the above sounds preposterous to you? Here's a litmus test: for 24 hours, from sunset tonight until sunset on Saturday, don't check your email. Not even a peek.
Can you do it? Prove it.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hannuka
PS - Another way to treat the "distracted living" problem is Hannuka. Here are a couple classes you can download to help your family's Hannuka be a spiritual experience and not lost in the materialism of the "holiday season":
Hannuka of Presence
Hannuka and the Secret of the 36
We have added a bunch of great Hannuka stuff (books, menorahs, candles, toys) to bestjewishkidsbooks.com - if you use these links for your shopping, it helps support JSL's nonprofit educational mission.