Monday, May 22, 2017

Navigating Fatherhood

Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by Navdy and I was provided compensation for this post. Look for more posts this year about the adventures my family and I have with Navdy.

No one knows what it is like to be a father until you are. Every time your child opens their eyes to look at you it will remind you of that moment when you first saw each other.

I still feel that flutter in my heart every time I catch their eyes from across the room whether it be at a school concert, a dance, or in their classroom. Their eyes will continue to follow you throughout their childhood. They will look to you for guidance and support. They will look to you for comfort and assurance. They will always be watching what you are doing and emulate you as their example for what is good and right.

But our connections aren't always there. Sometimes we will get disconnected and distracted by the things in life that try to get in the way. Keeping our eyes forward is important because if we aren't looking ahead, they won't either.
**Given the difficult nature of capturing Navdy’s projected display on film, this picture is not fully representative of how Navdy’s display actually appears during use.**
I try to remember this every time I take my kids out for a drive in the family car. It started when they were small. I tried to stay focused with them in the car seat around the neighborhood because it was the only way they would sleep. I remember long trips in the car to visit family while driving and seeing accidents along the road, realizing that if we were driving faster, it could have been us instead. Just a moment's glance away from the road can mean a car wreck by the side of the road.
I try to remember this when they are loud that it's still my job to keep my eyes forward.  Kids themselves can be as distracting as what is outside the car too.
Distracted driving is a killer that is on the rise with technological innovations like smartphones. They beg us to take our gaze off the road, thus putting ourselves and our families at risk. Fatherhood is hard enough to navigate without all of these added distractions.

And then I found something to help me stay connected and yet still keep my eyes on the road. Navdy is a Head Up Display that mounts on your dashboard and projects a transparent image on your windshield, showing things like maps, calls, music, and messages. It connects to your phone and displays your car's information so that your eyes can stay forward and on the road ahead, rather than glancing down at your phone. For just $28 per month or a one time price of $499, Navdy is worth the investment in your family's safety.

Navdy has helped me and my kids go on many adventures together and let me focus on getting us there safely. We've gone on retreats together in areas where finding the "main road," which was actually made of dirt, put me on edge. Fatherhood is wonderful but three kids screaming in the backseat when you don't know where you are going is bound to get on your nerves.

It has helped us locate alternate routes and short-cuts to save us time. The Navdy app connects with the Navdy display and lets me control functions with the Navdy dial on my steering wheel. I can also operate Navdy via voice commands and simple hand gestures.

It has lead us to places we never thought we would be together, like the oldest pretzel factory in the United States where we learned the symbolism behind the twist and how to make one with our own bare hands. The important thing about the journey is getting there together.

Navdy is more than just a navigation system, though. With it syncing to your phone, you can play music, read and respond to texts, app notifications and phone calls while on the road, and it can find areas of interest using Google Maps while keeping your eyes forward, even when your mind isn't one hundred percent present.

Once, my daughters and I went on a weekend retreat together. On the last night my daughter threw up in her bed in the middle of the night and we spent most of the night sleeping very little while she would wake every few hours so I could hold the trash can for her. It wasn't the end to a great weekend that I expected, but when you have kids, these things happen and you have to be able to move forward.

I texted a friend on the retreat letting her know we were leaving before breakfast with my daughter looking pale and clutching a large soft drink cup I had left in the car. We were headed home and hoping for the best. I prayed that there would be no puking in the car.

I couldn't wait for a response because we were in between episodes, but her text came through the Navdy which read it to me so I wouldn't have to look down. "We will be home later, if your other kids want to spend the night, just let me know when you get home." I could either reply to her text through the Navdy display or let her know that I was busy driving and that I would respond later. Or, I could even share my entire trip with her, sending a real-time interactive map showing my exact location and ETA, so I didn’t have to worry about keeping her up-to-date with our location while driving—all without touching my phone or taking my eyes off the road

Navdy is peace of mind for those times when you are navigating more than just the roads. Fatherhood is a long learning experience with no training and no manual. As we travel the long roads with our children, we learn to read signs along the way, learn from our mistakes, and look forward to what else is in store for us.

Fatherhood, like those very same roads, is a journey into the unknown. And if you think that sounds daunting just remember, eventually all of these same kids will be driving you down those same roads someday.

Do you know a dad who could benefit from the Navdy navigation system? It makes a great gift for Father's Day and will help him navigate more than just the roads. Watch the video below to see Navdy in action.

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