On several occasions, I've asked my son a question only to realize he's glued to his smartphone screen and hasn't heard a word I've said. It's hard competing for a teen's attention when his entire social circle can be access by a few touches on a screen.
One of the struggles with work life balance today as a parent is making time for our kids when our kids want to make time for us. My guest blogger today is Jamie Goodman (no relation to me). Jamie's parents got divorced when she was 2 and her brother was 7. The kids now live in St. Louis. Over the years, her father, Rick Goodman of Pembroke Pines, he has talked to his children on the phone, and they've visited him in Florida. However, he found when they were with him, they were tweeting and texting and not talking with him as much as he hoped.
So, he invited his daughter on a summer trip abroad to connect more with her. Before leaving on the 24-day trip to Europe, Rick set some ground rules. Jamie had to leave technology behind. No smartphone and no computer. Jamie journaled during the trip and her resulting book, "Jamie’s Journey: “Travels with My Dad,” recently climbed to #4 in the parenting & relationships category on Amazon.com.
I hope you enjoy Jamie's perspective as much as I did.
(Above: Rick Goodman and daughter, Jamie)
When my father approached me with the idea to travel the world for twenty-four days without technology, my initial reaction was, “You’re joking, right?” Well, I assure you he was not, and after three months of planning we were to begin our journey. Throughout our trip we had our fair share of arguments and moments where all we wanted to do was escape one another, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have changed my experience for the world.
Each day my dad and I documented the sites we had seen, the fights we had, the lessons learned, and advice to other parents and kids. For example one piece of advice I give is that, “ Most of the time dads can be annoying, so enjoy the days he isn’t. They don’t happen too often!” These short entries and pieces of advice paved the way for what is now my book entitled “Jamie’s Journey: Travels With My Dad”.
Our trip, unplugged from technology, allowed me the opportunity to learn more about my dad and gave us the chance to reconnect and create a stronger relationship. From our journey I learned many things, but the most important being that you are never too old or too young to connect or reconnect with someone. It’s never too late.
Though my dad has lived in Florida almost my entire life, he has never missed a day of calling my brother or I. My dad never gave up on his relationship with his children, and this trip allowed me to show him that I had not given up on trying to reconnect with him.
For the next thirty days I am asking all of you to reconnect with one another, to put down your cellphones, computers and escape from technology. The only way we can truly connect with one another is to interact face to face, and that doesn’t happen when technology is involved.
Rick's take away: "It's never too late to reconnect with family members. There are so many ways to connect on a daily basis.(if you both leave behind your smartphones) You don't have to spend a lot of money. You can go to local attractions together."
So readers, hearing what Jamie and Rick got out of the experience, I'm wondering...Would you be able to take on Jamie's challenge? Could you go for 24 days without your smart phone?