I find my smartphone incredibly useful. Within seconds, I can text my family and friends, check my social media, and even do a little work. And while I think the technologically-driven world we live in today is pretty amazing, I do believe there's a time and place for taking advantage of the mini-computers in our pockets. And I had to learn the hard way that my children's events is not one of them.
For the most part, I've always been pretty good at keeping my phone put away at my kid's big performances, like their ballet recitals and school plays. After hours upon hours of dance rehearsals and running their lines with them at home, I know firsthand how hard they've worked for these events, so their final performance deserves my full attention. So before the house lights go down, I set my phone to silent (not off, I'm not an animal) and keep it stored in my purse for the entire event.
For the first time this year, my children's school held a Spring concert that neither of my kids were particularly excited about performing in. They never practiced their song at home, and neither one of them had a solo. Instead, they'd just be onstage with their class singing a song their music teacher picked out for them. Frankly, I couldn't even hear their little voices. To say that I was bored would be an understatement, so I admit that I did go on Facebook more than a few times during the concert.
After the show was over, I told my kids that they did a great job and to my surprise, they called me out on it. They both said that when they looked out into the audience, they saw me looking down at my phone instead of up at them — so how could I possibly know whether they did a great job or not?! My heart immediately sank, because I knew I had royally messed up, and crushed their little hearts and spirits. Not only was I disappointed in myself, I was embarrassed. When my children looked out into the audience and saw my eyes on my phone instead of on them, it made them feel like they were unimportant and insignificant. Worst of all, it made them feel like they are not my number one priority, which they totally are.
Just because I didn't think the Spring concert was as important as a ballet recital for example, it didn't mean it was less important to my kids. And even though they acted like they were not excited about the concert at all, they were still counting on me to be there for them and show my love and support, and I disappointed them. The truth of the matter is whether it's a volleyball game, a karate tournament, or a science fair, I need to make every effort to be present, I mean really present, at my children's events to show how much I love, care for, and support them. I never ever want to be the reason I see that disappointed look in my children's eyes again. That devastating moment still haunts me.
From now on, my focus will be entirely on my children and making them feel loved and respected. Checking my phone can wait. My children are and always will be my number one priority and I'll always be their biggest fan. I'll never regret devoting my attention to my children, and although it may not seem like it at times, being present at their events, no matter how small, means the world to them.