I don’t know about you, but life in my home is pretty hectic each day. With the Barnum & Bailey Circus closing a few months ago, I found myself thinking about where all those circus animals would go. Those animals probably went to zoos, and I wondered what that feels like when they got used to being in a circus? It also got me thinking about the parallels of a circus or zoo to family life.
I worry that a lot of us, because of social media, are being drawn into a circus mentality. We put on our smiley faces, holler at our zoo children to stay still and smile, and take pictures where the clutter in the house doesn’t show. Then we go back to our ‘real’ life absorbed in an internet-based gadget, and not necessarily paying attention to each other. The truth is young children are learning from us what is important and what to do based on what they see us doing. With young kids I encourage us as parents to find a way to be genuinely present for our zoo children.
Don’t worry I am not saying you can’t be on social media (which obviously you are right now :P) but when you are, make it for a set amount of time. If your child is nearby, tell him or her that you are going to be checking your messages or reading the news and for how long. Then when the time is over, make a point to be present physically, mentally and emotionally for your child. That way your young child will clearly learn from you that what ultimately matters is relationships with people, not electronic devices.