Connected with My Son, Disconnected from Everyone Else

ZMB2I’ve been writing this blog for many years now. And as I look back over the hundreds of posts, the ones I have enjoyed writing the most are the really personal ones, where I tell a story about a family member or a friend, that helps me illustrate a relevant point for you.

This past weekend, I snuck away from life with my six-year-old son. Mom stayed home with our infant daughter, and father and son took a big adventure to Washington DC. We took the train (an adventure unto itself), went to the Air and Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Korean War Memorial, Georgetown University, the White House, and the highlight of the weekend… we saw Georgetown kick the crap out Syracuse on the basketball court. We stayed in a hotel, took cab rides, walked all over the city, stayed up late, had plenty of special treats, saw some old friends… My son and I will be talking about this weekend for years to come.

And you know what the best part was? I was totally disconnected from the things I normally think about and obsess about. Other than two Facebook posts to share photos with friends and family, I spent the weekend with my phone mostly off and tucked away in the back pack, next to the snacks and juice boxes.

My commitment to myself, and by extension to my son, was to be fully present the whole time. We talked, we listened to each other, we told stories. It was truly grand. Had I allowed myself to be distracted, I might have missed a few of these gems that came out of his mouth:

When we first saw Apollo 11 at the Air and Space Museum, this precocious six year old said, “Daddy, I have been waiting to see this my entire life.

When I asked him the names of the three astronauts who went to the moon, he said “Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the other guy who didn’t get out of the module.” (Poor Michael Collins…)

ZMB1When I asked him what he knew about Abraham Lincoln, he said, “Well that statue is really big. He must have been very tall.

When I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk after dinner to see The White House, he said “Please tell the President I am really tired, and may not want to stay very long.

And when we first got to The Verizon Center for the basketball game, he said “Daddy, why does Syracuse have an orange as their mascot? That is a dumb mascot. It is a really boring fruit.” I agree, my son. I agree.

The point here is that so many great things happen around us every day, professionally and personally, and unless we decide to be present, we will miss a lot of it. Not everything will be as priceless or as cute as the things that a little boy might say. But the point remains the same. Put down the phone once in a while, look around, listen up, breath the air. Be present. You never know what you will see and hear.

Have a great day.

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3 Responses to Connected with My Son, Disconnected from Everyone Else

  1. First of all, what a great Dad to make the commitment to yourself and your son to spend some special time together, sounds like an awesome trip that neither of you will forget. But to your point professionally, I would ask everyone to consider leaving your cell phones and tablets behind when in meetings. Sales meetings, one on one’s, of course client presentations – any meeting. By disconnecting for this time, as you said, you can truly focus and it tells your audience that you are listening and what they have to say matters to you. I never take my cell phone or tablet into any meeting – ever – whatever call,voice mail or text I receive while in a meeting will get the same undivided attention I give to whomever I was meeting with when they contacted me. Great post Dean, thank you for sharing!

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