Live life without a phone

Published 4:29 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A light sprinkle falls gently, keeping the temperature from soaring to an unpleasant scorch. The early drought we experienced appears to be a thing of the past, and luxuriant lawns beg to be mowed more often.

On this particular morning I dressed in my somewhat tight gym clothes, reminding me of why I purchased a membership in the first place. I planned on working out first thing and then mowing. Before heading out the door I remembered my son, Robby, mentioned stopping by for breakfast. I grabbed my cellphone and gave him a call to see if he was still planning to come over.

Soon he turned into the drive, and I sauntered out to meet him. To my surprise and delight, my grandson decided to forgo sleeping in and came over too. The three of us laughed and kidded around as I made breakfast. Come to think of it we talked between phone calls and video games.

I can’t point to my boys as being the only culprits because my phone rang, and I took a brief call while stirring the eggs. We did have a nice time, but I realize that it would have been much more pleasant if we had put our phones on silent. When did we all become so connected that we let others invade every moment of our lives?

I’m sure that some of you make it a point to silence your phone at mealtime at least. Family time is so important. It’s nearly impossible to listen and especially read between the lines when our focus is elsewhere. Surface-level conversation is only the initial form of communication. A person’s body language and tone of voice give clues as to what the other person is really feeling. How many times has a friend or family member said they are OK, but their body language said something entirely different?

Fortunately, I think Robby and Gauge are doing great. But I realized that what may be a small problem now could loom large if steps aren’t made to correct our overuse of electronics. I’ve decided that my electronic devices are for my convenience, and I won’t let them encroach on my family time anymore.

Obviously, I can’t make everyone check their cellphones at the door, but I am going to ask that we all put our phones on silent during mealtime. This one simple change should make a huge difference in our times together.

This caused me to think that instead of sitting in front of the TV tonight wasting time I could read a good book or work on that illusive novel I have sitting on the shelf. And there is always the gym, as my snug outfit reminds me. If I make a few changes I may actually have a book ready by this time next year. Now that excites me! But more important by far is the knowledge that my family will have memories of uninterrupted moments shared around grandma’s table.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at