Prescott is a mile-high city that usually gets snow every year, but you don’t have to live in it much. It’ll snow hard, the roads will clear quickly, and you can play like a kid without having the rest of your life interrupted too much by it. It snowed a few weekends ago and I took the kids sledding at a park near our house. Just long enough to make the walk back up not too miserable, the hill we use is perfect. I race the kids down, run up the hill, and generally try to forget I’m an adult when we hit the hill. To that end, I left my phone and wallet in the car on purpose this last time, so I wouldn’t be thinking of time restraints and would instead give them my full attention.
Time restraints. While we were sledding, we got to witness a dad yelling at his little daughter in heart-breaking fashion. She must’ve been around 4 or 5 years old. They showed up after we did and left before us. Dad stayed at the top of the hill. After a few runs, dad yelled “I said one more, not fifteen more. Let’s go!”
Now, everybody has stuff going on in the rest of their life and it’s hard to engage on a Saturday morning with kids in the snow. It’s a little cold. You’re under pressure to provide. I get it. But get on a sled and go down the hill. I leave my phone in the car so I can remember what it’s like to be a kid again and spend some quality time with them. It lets me remember what it was like waiting for the bus in the cold hours of the morning.
Facebook survived without me during that time and will live without you for few hours. I gave my kids my full attention, without distraction, and that meant something. I understand that physically we may not be able to get down and play with our kids the way we want to. But unless you’re disabled, don’t be content to stay there. Drop some pounds if you have to. Do some mobility drills with a rumble roller and limber up if you have to. Stretch. Do what it takes to get out there in the snow, sand, or trees with them.
Attention. Much has been written and debated about what Third Wave coffee is and isn’t. For Blue Bottle and their competitors in San Francisco, being ‘third wave’ is defined by roasting their own coffee, focusing on single origin coffees, and running their own cafes. Inside their cafes, there are also some characteristics that unite them.
They don’t have outlets for you to plug your laptop into and most don’t have wi-fi. James Freeman was quoted as saying he wants people to “engage with each other” as a reason for not having wi-fi and outlets. I’ve worked and wrote a novel in cafes. I get the need for it. I really do. But I also get this- that we will choose the path of least resistance. Don’t be like that family where everybody is sitting in the café and all their attention is on their phones. Let’s be intentional not only about our coffee but about our interaction with one another.
For my writers who are quick to crucify me for removing their power source, let me remind you of Ray Bradbury’s early writing experience of writing dime novels- so called because the typewriter cost ten cents to rent. They would write fast. So you write fast. Quit surfing and get to writing. These external constraints, like Jeff Goins says, will help your productivity.
So put your phone away when your kids are around and make them put their phones away as well. Turn Candy Crush off, get up off the couch, and go play outside with your kids. Then come on in and make them some hot cocoa and yourself a cup of coffee.