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In 2017, Let’s Have Less ‘FaceTime’ and More Face-to-Face Time

My husband has been getting on my nerves lately. Whenever I look at him, he seems to be looking at a screen — his computer, iPhone, iPad, tv… It’s not that I care so much about being ignored— it’s our children I’m concerned about. What kind of a message are they receiving from a father who is so absorbed in anything and everything other than them?

It’s 5:30 p.m. on January 2nd.

“Mom!” screams my sporty 10-year-old, Moshe.

“I need you to help me with my math homework!”

Oof! How annoying, my thumb was in the midst of racing through my e-mails. “One sec, honey!”

But in that one second, my thoughts are pulled back in the direction of my thumb.

“Mom!” he yells again. “I really need your help! I have a test in a few days!”

Oh, yeah. Must help Moshe. Wrenching myself from my cozy cushions and blankets, I rush downstairs to see what can be done for Moshe. Barely do I sit down when a buzzing sound demands my attention. Dad is WhatsApping me from Montreal. With fingers racing, a heated discussion erupts between us in the palm of my hand.

“Mom”, sighs Moshe, utterly exasperated. “You’re doing it again!”

“Doing what?”

“You’re sitting down next to me, but you’re far away…”

Ouch.

But then it (finally) hits me. I’m just as bad as my husband! We are walking screen addicts, concentrating on human being miles away, while the humans right in front of us are ignored. We, I, have become total clichés, addicted to technology.

It’s early January 2017.

Time for resolution-making, right?

What could be more obvious than a strict resolution to improve my interpersonal skills?

I’ve heard, in the name of the great Mussar movement leaders, that there is no such thing as failure— only failure to chart. The only way to make my new resolution work is to create a chart and meticulously record my triumphs and trials, much as I do on my Weight Watcher’s diet! For other Forward screen addicts seeking to create meaningful change this year, here is a copy of the chart I’ve designed.

Image by Courtesy Revital Belz

2017, here I come! Here’s to less FaceTime and to more face to face time!

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