I have a confession to make: I’m a distracted homeschooling dad. My problem isn’t golfing on the weekends, working long hours, or hanging out with guys shooting hoops every night. No, my problem is in my pocket. I’m a digitally distracted dad.
When my wife and I started homeschooling there wasn’t much to distract us or my son. We had a gaming console (original Playstation) but it was rarely used, dial-up Internet was still prominent, we had no cable TV, and I had a pager for work that rarely beeped.
As the years and technology progressed the distractions started to creep in. Sure, we had gotten rid of the Playstation but we now had cable TV and Internet. I traded in a pager for a cell phone. A few years later I ditched the cell phone for a Blackberry. My son was given a Nintendo Gameboy DS one year for his birthday from a friend who had gotten a new one.
We had more kids and the technology continued to creep in and continued to distract us (mostly me, to be honest). I got an iPod as a gift from a friend. We ditched cable TV but I bought a Roku which at first seemed like a way to eliminate the TV distraction but really introduced a way to binge on TV shows and movies.
All this time my wife is homeschooling our 7 kids and I’m helping out (a little) and the technology creep continued. Now that the kids were older they were using the computer in their free time to play games. I was issued an iPhone at work and my kids and I continued to spiral down into the pit of digital distraction.
Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a whirling vortex of first-person shooters, Minecraft, or Farmville requests on Facebook. No, it’s been more like a slowly sinking ship in shark-infested waters. Any moment the ship could capsize and we’d be swimming for our lives.
There’s one thing that keeps that ship afloat: my wife. I’m so thankful for her. She occasionally pulls me aside and lets me know when I’m getting sucked in again. Thank God she’s behind the technology curve because otherwise our entire family would be hopelessly swimming in waters infested with 8-bit sharks.
Because of her digital “life-guarding” I’m able to keep my passion for gadgets and tech a little bit lower than my passion for my family. A few weeks ago I decided that wasn’t enough, though. I took some steps to make my use of gadgets more intentional and to remove some of the distractions that keep me from being a great homeschool dad.
Next week I’ll talk about those steps in detail. Believe it or not, it started with a status update on Twitter I saw from a fellow podcaster. I hope you’ll join me on this journey from distraction to dedication.