Taking time to recharge

Last weekend the boys and I took a walk around a nearby lake. I’ve lived here for 10 years and it was the first time I’ve ever walked the 2 miles around its shores. 

As we walked along the boys pointed out turtles and fish they saw swimming. They watched butterflies dance around the flowers. We almost stepped on a praying mantis and talked about how it was camouflaged in the dirt. We discussed what kind of birds call the lake home. The boys wanted to know about the changing colors of leaves and what kind of trees they were looking at. We watched geese nibble on a neighboring farm’s soybean plants.

Walking along the path we passed a man with three boys. Only the child riding in the wagon wasn’t glued to a cell phone. Right after that I snapped the above photo of my oldest standing on the shore, searching the water for signs of turtles or fish.

Two thoughts crossed my mind as I stood beside him. The first is how much the family was missing out on because they were distracted by their phones. With their eyes glued to a screen, I doubt they noticed all Mother Nature has to offer. I couldn’t help but wonder why they bothered to take the walk if they were just going to be connected with their screen. 

I also realized that if the kids hadn’t been with me, I would have missed out. It’s doubtful I would have stopped and taken in the sights and sounds. I would have been hurrying to get through the walk, probably wearing my ear buds and listening to my running playlist. But pushing a stroller and having the pace set by a 4-year-old forced me to slow down. It gave me the opportunity to really enjoy the walk and not just check it off the to-do list. It wasn’t even on my list but rather a spontaneous trip. It’s something I need to do more often. 

It’s hard to disconnect in a world that seems to always be connected. These days I feel like I live and die by my to-do list and am going 100 miles an hour. That hour of walking around the lake and seeing it through my children’s eyes reminded me how important it is to slow down, recharge, and remember what, or who, it’s truly important to connect with. 

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