Phone Free(dom)

Phone Photo

My Current Phone

Today marks our official end of summer 2013.  I mean it isn’t officially over for world, but it is for this Bagwell family.  Weirdly enough there are some reasons to celebrate about summer ending.

  • We start a predictable schedule (I love predicable schedules).
  • There is a routine for almost everything (something I need badly).
  • Life become more organized. (Summer seems like controlled chaos).
  • Time for new things.

Those are just a few of my highlights of summer ending.  Wow… I guess I like control and organization more than I had thought.

Anyway… back to what I am writing about…

Today started a new routine and commitment for April and I…

The Back Story:
We determined a few weeks ago that our phones were getting in the way of our most precious times with our kids.  My job at the church isn’t the normal 9-5 job.  Almost each day is different, and the times I get home varies greatly.  I also have a 6 minute drive home, which doesn’t allow me to bring closure to my day.  I started noticing some issues (with April’s help).  I was being distracted during the first hour of being home in the evening.  I would be closing down text message conversations, firing back emails, and catching up with my to-do lists.  I was not completely ignoring my family… I was in the room with them doing the daddy stuff.  But, every few minutes my phone would ding and I would feel compelled to check the text message, email, or tweet.  Even worse I would find myself browsing Twitter for absolutely no reason at all.

Even worse was that April and I were doing the same thing.  This constant connectivity to the world outside our home was draining April and I in a way that is hard to explain, and probably should write about later.

This might be a completely normal experience for most American households.  But… I believe that there is a better way to do family life while living in the most digitally connected generation on the planet.

The harsh reality hit me… NO way would I want Paisley or Weston to develop what April and I were modeling.  I was not enjoying my kids like I should.  I was distracted.  I was spending emotional energy somewhere else.

Let’s face it; from the 5-8PM time (dinner through bedtime) is one of the most important times with my toddlers.  S0, why am I spending this precious time being distracted by things that are worth much less?  I was giving of my emotions by browsing twitter, reading text messages and emails.  Why…?

It took taking a really big step back and I dose of humble pie for me to see my actions for what they were.  I had always thought…

“I can do this, I can multi-task, and I can learn to manage my phone and my kids at the same time.” THAT’s just dumb thinking.

Something needed to change…

Something New:
April and I decided that today we would start a commitment to our kids and each other… from the time I get home from work and until both kids are in bed we will be hands off of our phones.  We will create what we are calling “Phone Free” space for our family.  Knowing that this was the case today it actually changed the way I ended my day of work.  In fact, I looked forward to putting my phone on silent and spending quality time with my family.  Call me crazy, but it was a very freeing experience.  I felt some freedom that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I can’t wait to see how this new commitment changes the culture of this Bagwell family.

A HUGE thanks to my beautiful wife April and the Holy Spirit for helping me see my failures, and reminding me that I must lead through my actions.

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