I recently watched a dad and his young daughter leaving a Target store. As this pair crossed the shopping center traffic lane to get to the parking area, the dad held his little girl’s hand and dragged her along behind him. The whole time he was crossing, his face was fixed on his cell phone. The little girl kept saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” I honestly almost yelled out on her behalf, “Daddy, look up!” Daddy never looked up from his phone.
Whatever he had his eyes fixed on was more important than his little girl’s safety or the moment with her. It really doesn’t matter if he was distracted by social media, football updates, or work email. He had one job to do when crossing in front of cars, keep the little girl safe. He missed the mark! Did they get across without harm? Yes, but that’s not the point.
If it is Daddy‘s responsibility to keep his little girl safe while crossing to the parking lot with cars passing in both directions, then Daddy has two jobs. Look and listen! Can we all point our fingers at the bad dads out there? Hardly!
It would be unfair to only single out the dads mesmerized by their mobile devices. Lots of moms get lost in their phones. Yikes, I do it too! “Daddy, look up!” is a message to all of us. Mommy, look up! Grandma, look up! Friend, sister, co-worker… Everyone, look up for Pete’s sake!
We all have at least two jobs in relation to other humans. Look and listen. There are moments in which we need to zone out the kids, the community or the crowd for a piece of sanity. If that’s your reason, go for it! However, regularly putting forth a façade of interest in a child, a spouse, or even the cashier in front of you belittles that person. It is even worse though if we miss out on a moment of connection that could change that person’s world or ours.
The allure of constant connection to the digital world may be the very thing that causes us to miss true connection. Often, hidden in the mundane moments are opportunities to bond with those we know and love or impact strangers with God’s love. “Daddy, look up!” is a message to all of us to engage in two behaviors for the good of mankind and our own souls; Look and listen!