Social media truly never does sleep but what I find is that social media is very reactive. You have to put out to get back so at some point, usually late at night, you simply have to put a hard stop in place. That is hard for me since I am a content producer on Twitter and since I think in 140 characters naturally I am always spitting out content. Since I have come to realize that I can survive on 4 hours sleep for many nights in a row, but anything less than that does not work, I know I cannot carve anymore time out of the day, so 2am is usually my hard stop when I find myself going overboard.
Order and consistency is all in how you perceive what you are doing and how you maintain your connection to what is important. My personal brand, and who I am, is all about being responsive and creating trust and relationships. So I find the social media world, and all the connectivity it affords, a perfect medium for maintaining connection and consistency.
When it comes to my daughters social media tools are out of the mix. I can check Facebook to see what they may be up to, the only tool they use (fortunately as I do not believe these are good things for kids), but the last thing teenagers (13 & 15) want is their Dad communicating with them in a visible format. I stick to primarily text and phone calls. They rarely check email, but before I fly I always, always send them an email to remind them how much they mean to me and how much I truly love them… just in case, so they will always know.
I think looking to social media, apps or otherwise, is a critical mistake too many parents are making with their children. It is face-to-face and truly paying attention and being involved in what they do that is so very important in their development.
I have been fortunate enough to build deep, rewarding relationships with a host of Mommy Bloggers and since I share being a divorced Dad of teenage girls I have gotten so much valuable advice, feedback and input that doing what I do has made me a better, more sensitive and insightful Dad.
Sometimes I am asked “if I had just one hour to do something with my girls, what would that be?” At this point… anything I would be doing “with” them. When they were young and I really had a choice I would say swimming with them because it was so interactive.
Some ask me how has being a dad changed my perception to my work. That’s like saying “How has being a dad changed your perception about everything.” It makes it all about what you can do for your kids and how you can make the world and their lives better. Simple.
In business I am known for preaching about the importance of relationships. If there is one legacy I would truly love to pass along to my girls, that has to be It’s all about relationships… and never give up on something you believe in, never. My dad taught me about never giving up and always being there for your friends and family… that says it all.
My dream day… Skiing with my girls and them truly wanting to be there with me.
I’m sure your girls truly want to be with you no matter what you are doing. Parents are just parents though, definitely not as cool or interesting as friends 🙂 I’ve been blessed to have a good relationship with my kids(so far).
Beautiful post, Ted; and lucky daughters.
I agree with your take on social media and parenting. There is a time and place to connect with your kids in the social space, but parenting is not always a 140 character endeavor (although perhaps they would appreciate the brevity).
Having older kids (18 and 21) I will tell you that there is an advantage to having these tools at times, but they never replace real time together… which gets more and more rare.
Face-to-face is a must and a commitment. It’s not always possible, but it’s invaluable. When you turn off all devices, often something much more essential is turned on. There’s no substitute for that. Our kids need us there, right in front of them.
Thank you so much Ted for sharing your heart, it is valuable and as always excellent commentary.
Thank you all for your interest. An important topic that I think if often overlooked.
This was a beautiful post. You might think in 140 characters or less, but you have a beautiful way of stringing more words together to form wonderful thoughts and feelings. Your daughters are so lucky to have such a loving and nurturing father. Very lucky.
Thanks so much Lee. Means a lot. Really appreciate your comment.