However, it wasn't until I had kids that I felt how short life really is. I only get 52 weeks with my 6 year old. With my 10 year old. With my 9 year old. With my 8 year old. Madigan had a "private conversation" with me last night expressing his frustration that Kelton copies everything he does and unintentionally mimics his actions throughout every day. I reminded him that this too shall pass - all too quickly - and that Kelton will very shortly want to do everything independently and annoyingly "his own way". If Kelton is to have a role model and hero, I think he has picked a great one and I wouldn't want it any other way. Madigan teared up and said, "Mom, thank you for helping me understand. I won't always be the 'hero' to Kelton, so now is my chance to guide him and help him become the best man he can become, while he looks up to me." How many of us miss this understanding and opportunity, with our own kids?
We, as a society, as individuals have blithely given up our rights to live fully with the ones we love and (for some of us) with the youngsters who have been entrusted to our care to train and guide into their futures. We have given over those rights and opportunities, and we have given them to our devices - our smart phones, televisions and our computers. The most dedicated friends, best moms and dads I know give away hours of their day(s) to this fake world, forever robbing their children of themselves. Those are minutes that can never be restored to them, and are lost in the abyss of tragedy, because it is utterly tragic what we are losing as individuals, as a society, to the devices that now rule us. We willingly relinquish ourselves to our devices, because they "help us unwind", "help us stay connected with friends/family", "help us keep up with the news in the world", "help us relax", "help us do our jobs", but mostly because we have allowed ourselves to be stolen away. Shame. On. Us.
Madigan is 10.5 years old. If we have spent an average of 3 hours/day (and I'm being ridiculously generous to most of us, right???) of his lifetime on the cell phone, that is 11,498 hours. 11,498 hours that could have been spent listening to him, observing him to understand who he is and what makes him that (incredible) person, reading books to him, cuddling with him on the couch, biking with him, hiking with him, riding horses with him, teaching him how to play chess, baking goodies with him, talking with him about the ridiculous and the profound, completing science experiments with him, helping him grow his own garden, and giving him the opportunity to know that time with him is valued beyond measure and never taken for granted. Those hours are lost. Dead.
If a marriage is 20 years old and shared 3 hours/day with a device(s), that is over 21,900 hours lost. LOST. 21,900 hours that could have changed that marriage: time spent working side by side to raise children, time spent cuddling on the couch, time shared over coffee talking about what really matters, time spent fostering love over resentment, time spent building great things together (both tangible, material things as well as relational/spiritual), time spent in the enjoyment of each other's presence, time spent suffering in all the horrible things that life throws their way, together hand-in-hand, time spent standing against the trials of this world together and building strength into one another and because of one another.
Let's try to be honest with ourselves. We don't give 3 hours/day of our lives (hearts, minds, time) to our devices. If we did, it would be tragic and heartbreaking. We give far more. Our society has been completely altered and I think as a whole, history will be the one to reflect that. So, let's be the catalyst for change, and let's change the face of history, let's change what people will see when they look back upon this time period. Time is being stolen from us and we're willingly (happily) letting it happen.