This was supposed to be this year’s theme but I opted for being independent instead in light of my recent foray into the world of freelancing. I thought I would take a minute to outline what being present is, and why I was going to make it my theme for the year.

The world we live is increasingly dominated by technology and distractions. Ironically what you’re reading right now is a distraction, but let’s just say it’s a good distraction.

Anyway, technology and distractions. Being a dad of two kids means that you are inevitably in the presence of other parents and their kids a lot of the time. One thing that I notice is the number of parents that are glued to their mobile phones when they are in the presence of their kids.

On one of our frequent trips to the driving range last year, I decided to treat my son to a round of crazy golf there. During our game, I noticed that the mum in the family in front of us was checking her phone every minute. She spent more time with the phone in her hand than her putter. The sad part was that while her kids were trying to impress her with their putting abilities, the mum was too pre-occupied with her phone to even notice. She wasn’t being present with her kids.

Being present for me means your undivided attention. Since observing this I’ve become more aware of the time and attention I am giving to my family. I generally turn my phone off at night now after dinner. It’s so that I can be present at home, mentally and physically, without any distractions putting me off. I don’t want my kids to remember me as having my head buried in a phone all the time. I want them to remember all the times that I was present for them.

It doesn’t always work out this way though, but I’m learning to schedule my freelancing work during the day and to limit my time using technology at night and at the weekend. Being present might not be this years theme for myself, but I’m more and more aware of it every time I go to check my phone or pick up the iPad for a quick surf.