Younger can also be the wiser

?Maybe go outside? Maybe look up, instead of down at your wobbly thighs and aching feet? Maybe look up at the wild canopy or stars overhead, those goofy birds? If bird song were the ONLY proof there was a God?an intelligent love energy of some sort?it would be enough for me. Thrush, chickadees, loons? I?m in.? ?Anne Lamott

Being the older and wiser in my house, I guess I assumed I was, you know, smarter. But I?m not, as it?s been pointed out to me in the past couple of weeks by others who live here. And I?ve made it so easy for them, too.

First, I was told by a 10-year-old who I am supposed to be technologically monitoring that I am always on my phone. And after quickly preparing my argument, I sucked it up and asked, ?Am I?? And the guilt hit hard.

I know it?s true. I could have pulled out my parent card and made up something about crucial work emails or a life-or-death texts, but I think it was more along the lines of Etsy.

If anyone is going to get the ball rolling with Internet overusage admissions, I?ll do it.

I got a last-minute opportunity to see author Anne Lamott last week at the Steifel Theater in Salina. She said if we could cut back on how much we?re on our phones by just 10 percent, imagine what we could do.

What I could do brings me to the second thing this child of mine brought to my attention with the simple request of, ?Let?s take Jack (our dog) on a walk.? I hate to admit it, but I was looking for a quick excuse there, too. I can?t say it?s because I was busy on my phone but I can say with confidence I was busy doing a lot of nothing crucial or life-or-death.

So thanks to her, we did it. It was longer than we planned. She collected rocks, told me stories about bike club I never would have heard otherwise, and our dog was in his own personal heaven. Not to mention he used up a lot of energy that would have otherwise been expended running up and down stairs all night.

For all of the complaints about kids and teens and their incessant preoccupation with technology and dismissal of spending time with family, I must say we have to be open to the fact it?s, at least in part, coming from somewhere else. Like us. The older and wiser.

If it weren?t for my oldest daughter, we wouldn?t have as many meals at the table, television off, music on. If it weren?t for her, we wouldn?t turn the television off as much, period.

And if it weren?t for my youngest daughter, I wouldn?t be paying so much attention to how often I mindlessly reach for that phone. Or the iPad. Or the computer.

I am antsy to get to the next Candy Crush level, because I still play Candy Crush. But it can wait. Really, it can. And luckily I have people who will remind me. If I just listen to the truth and respond accordingly instead of retreating to another corner to check my texts.

Ten percent less. Easy to do?

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree?

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