Opinion: Put down the phone and enjoy the moment

October 12, 2014

Prior to the recent American Dental Association Annual Session in San Antonio, I was fortunate to be invited to attend a symposium sponsored by CareCredit. During this event, I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Scharenbroich give a talk centered around some of the beliefs he discusses in his book, “Nice Bike.”

One of the points he discussed that impacted me the most revolved around a sentence we have all heard hundreds of times … You must be present to win. Prior to his talk, I think I had only heard this sentence used in conjunction with a sweepstakes entry or raffle drawing. However, Scharenbroich put a spin on it that really hit home with me.

You must be present to win. Think about it … how many times have we not been truly present in the moment when we are surrounded by friends or family? How many times have we missed making a memory because our mind was somewhere else?

You must be present to win. Really think about those words and repeat them slowly in your mind as you read the story below.

During his talk, Scharenbroich told the story of seeing a father pushing his daughter on a swing with one hand while holding his iPhone in the other. The little girl couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old and kept asking her daddy to push her so he could swing. Without looking up from his phone, he would give her a push. With a big smile on her face, she swung through the air, but the dad never saw it. Over and over, the scenario played out … and not once did the man look up from his phone.

You must be present to win.

As the father of a 16-year-old daughter, I would be happy to tell that father that moments like pushing your little girl in a swing fly by way, way too fast. Moments like sitting and watching cartoons with her are over before you know it. Moments of imaginary tea parties, building a snowman, and watching her scurry down the hall in her pajamas to see what Santa delivered under the tree are gone before you know it.

They’re gone even faster if your nose is buried in your phone and you’re more interested in that small screen than your small children.

You must be present to win.

Today, think about how much you use your phone … and how much of time is spent while you are in the presence of your friends and family. Will whatever is on that phone be as important to you in a year … or five years … or 10 years … as what is happening around you?

Today, make a pledge to actually be present with your friends and family. The rest of the world can wait.

ADDITIONAL READING: The 5 worst things overheard inside a dental practice