If you’re a parent, you might recognize this scenario. You’re sitting around the dinner table, and then your phone buzzes. You don’t look at your phone while you’re eating with the family. And yet, it could be important?
Just a peek.
Nope, not important, but without even thinking about it, your finger tapped the Facebook icon and now your attention is fully on the riveting status update of some long-lost acquaintance.
You hear your name and look up. Your beautiful children want your attention, have so much to say to you. You stop and think, and then you put away the phone. For real this time.
You’ve been there, right? It’s a daily struggle for me. The phone is designed to capture my attention. It knows me, knows exactly what makes me tick. And click. Sometimes I’m not strong enough to resist its charms. But when I’m thinking clearly, I empower myself to choose where I focus, instead of letting an algorithm do it for me.
When I connect with my kids instead of connecting with the digital distraction, it makes me feel awesome. That time is precious. Those moments, those choices make a statement about my interest and engagement in my family. They feel it and I feel it.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have been sounding the alarm for years, but now it feels like we’re at a tipping point.
Here in Boston, City Sports, a solid locally-owned chain with a strong reputation and a loyal following just filed for bankruptcy and shuttered all 26 locations. As liquidation began, their logo T-shirts were the first thing to sell out, as crestfallen fans rushed to get one last souvenir.
The business is vanishing from the local business districts. If we don’t start being thoughtful about how we shop, soon the shopping landscape will be altered permanently.
The reverberations will be widespread. Shopping in pajamas is convenient, but will it be convenient when you need something right away and there’s no place to get it? We’ve gotten too wrapped up in our digital connections. It’s easy to forget that there’s a human cost.
I’m committing to putting down my phone when I’m spending time with my family, and I’m committing to buying 100 percent of my holiday gifts at local businesses.
I feel really good about both decisions. Who else is in?
Eli Gurock lives in Brookline, Mass. with his wife (business partner and childhood sweetheart), Sheri, and three kids. He is the co-owner of Magic Beans, a small chain of baby gear and toy stores in the Northeast.