I told the story to a neighbor, and she recounted a time she watched in horror a mother who was too busy on her cellphone to notice her toddler’s hand getting stuck in an elevator door.

Everywhere I turn these days, people are paying attention to their phones instead of their kids. Recently my son and I were playing basketball at our local community center. We were there for almost two hours running and throwing a ball around. A woman approached me and said: “You are a good mother.” I asked why. “I’ve been watching you play with your son while I’ve been working out, and you are really paying attention to him. The days are long, but the years fly by quickly.”

Everyone wants attention. Kids especially need it. Putting my phone away is a win-win. I’m more aware of my surroundings, and every day my son shows me new aspects of himself—stringing together sentences with new words, helping trees when their branches have fallen off (his solution is to tape them back on). These precious moments are fleeting and easy to miss.