The Power of Powering Down

Written by Michelle


Her big brown eyes found mine.

Her eyelashes were low, and her look confirmed that she was somewhat defeated. She connected intently to my actions. Her tone was terse, but her demeanor was sweet.

Focus on me!

Her words reached me, so did her actions.

Short. Focused. Not Needy. Intense.

And like everything that characterizes my six-year old daughter, right to the point.

As she said those words, her fingers lifted my chin, so that our eyes had no other choice but to lock instantly. My eyes, which had been glued to a small screen, as I furiously typed away at my iPhone, had been lifted. Her words stopped my thumbs and were a blow to my heart.

Focus on me.

As she spoke, she tilted her head to the side and looked.

I recognized that look: the same one I gave her when I knew the answer to a question before I asked it, the one I used to admonish her and her sibling’s behavior when they were out of line.

Now, she more than looked…she stared!

At me. At us. At the relationship I had with my phone.

As she sweetly, but sternly held up my chin so that our eyes were in line, she removed the phone with the other hand. She placed it on the table and turned it face down. The intruder, a good two feet away from us, now.

What felt like minutes, hours maybe, amounted to no more than a few seconds of those big brown eyes. Her gaze spoke to me and within the deep hues of that alarming coffee color, I lost it.

I was 6, and she was 37. With tears welling in my eyes, I was stricken, mortified and moved all at the same time. I was being dutifully reprimanded by a child. My own child. Sweet and stern, strong and respectful. She didn’t require explanations or excuses. All she wanted was me, my undivided attention and time.

I held her, opened up our daily reading assignment and began our task at hand. She snuggled into my embrace. I crumbled inside.

Her gaze remains stuck in my memory and produces an ill feeling every time my phone goes off in her sight. I’m terribly embarrassed and ridiculously ashamed.

In a world running at such high speeds, I’m waving a white flag. I simply can’t catch up.

iFalter. iGrow.

I can live being known as the woman who did not reply to a message on time. But I can’t risk being the woman who isn’t there when she needs me.

iGive and iWill do anything and everything for those big brown eyes.



Categories: Culture, Family, Michelle

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8 replies

  1. Aw, this is so sweet. eMotions running high.

  2. Amen! Your daughter is right on! No one NEEDS to be connected every second. So thankful you saw her need and chose to be “in the present” with her! She is a wise young lady!! You may not think so now, but those times with your children go by fast & are gone forever! When I see people constantly checking their phones, I want to take them & throw them FAR away and ask them what is REALLY important – those you are supposed to be interacting with now, or that rectangular thing that takes your attention away??!!

  3. How very sweet! I love that – and the picture is precious! I was really impressed the other day after church Mr. T finally gave in and we went to Denny’s (I had been mentioning it as we drove by for weeks!) and we did sit down, glance at the menu, place our order and then “Free WiFi!” and we had to check our phones. But, it only lasted a minute or two before we both put them down and focused on each other. It felt good.

    He knows I’m on my phone more than a teenager, but he also knows that I can set it aside and just be in the moment. Not going to lie, I’m pretty proud of us – and of you! 🙂

    • Kate,
      Thank you for reading!
      It is hard….and I feel like with this generation it’s only going to get more complicated. Proud of you for being “in the moment” too! 🙂

  4. It is amazing what they are capable of reminding us. I was shocked when my 11 month old picked up my phone and was swiping the screen with her index finger. (I blame her dad for this 😉 ) It is difficult in this world of immediate gratification and constant stimulation. I try to make a conscious effort to fight for their childhood. Finding that delicate balance is tricky. God bless the gentle reminders they give us.

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