Put down the cell phone

Is there a way to make more time with family? Yes, says jazz trombonist and music producer Delfeayo Marsalis, a member of the acclaimed Marsalis jazz family of New Orleans. And it’s much simpler than you might suppose. As a touring musician whose travels take him far and wide, Delfeayo (Del-feo) wants his time at home to really count, so the constant stream of potential distraction delivered through cell phones is something to be avoided…well, sometimes.

“People are becoming more aware and concerned about technology replacing quality face time – that message is even showing up in Starbucks commercials,” says Delfeayo, author of a new award-winning children’s book, “No Cell Phone Day,” about a tech-entrenched father who spends a happy birthday exploring New Orleans with his daughter – and no cell phones.

“Once a year, once a quarter, once a month or even once a week, families should decide to spend an entire day together without their cell phones,” he says. “Trust me, if you tell folks that you’re unavailable, they’ll either call back, text or leave a message. The key is to just try it for a day. If you fear withdrawal, start with eight hours cell phone-free!”

As we approach fall and winter holidays, find additional opportunities to unplug.

•  Thanksgiving is a family affair. Hopefully, everyone can make it home. This Nov. 27 is a perfect date for your first No Cell Phone Day. From the kitchen to the table to the couch, consider mixing up the evening with additional activities, such as a family ball game in the yard, or board and card games in the living room. Make the most of your time in real-time, not via a Facebook newsfeed.

•  One of the best gifts you can give during the holidays is undivided attention. Given the ceaseless distractions today, one’s full attention is a valuable commodity. Don’t take anything for granted when it comes to the people you care about with a: “She knows I love her” or “He understands that I’m a busy person.” Give them the gift of your full attention.

•  A new kind of New Year’s resolution: Less time distracted with unimportant pabulum. While technology offers unprecedented convenience and even safety, it’s clear that surfing the web can be about as productive as surfing channels on TV.



Published: Nov. 13, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 31