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Friday, October 17, 2008

"Mommy, Daddy, Talk to Me."

On the 25th anniversary of the cell phone, I thought this might be an appropriate time for me to write my cell phone post. I pray it does not come across as a lecture, but more like a "thinking point." I know being old school many people may feel I'm just being "out of touch," but this is an issue I feel deeply and would love to share.

This first came to light one day as my son and I were at a small community zoo. As we wandered through enjoying all the animals and our beautiful day, I became more and more aware of parents on their cell phones as their children took in the sites on their own. This saddened me to no end. When can the child share their excitement with Mom or Dad? When can they ask a question about this or that? I really felt bad.

Then it happened one day at school. We came outside, everyone so excited about Mom and Dad there to pick them up, say "hi," "how was your day?," and guess what? Someone was on the cell phone--they waved and took the child's hand and off to the car. What if the child wanted to share? I just felt bad. This happened a few years ago, but really struck a chord. I have occasionally given my "speech" during orientation. I've told my parents it was time for Mrs. Nodolski to get up on her soap box. I just asked them to remember the children are so excited to see them and maybe tell them what they did that day or who their new friend was. If you are on a call, or need to make a call, please take at least a couple minutes to remember that your child is coming and would love to talk to you.

Think about it this way too. So many parents wonder what can I do with my children to help them Do you have any ideas about how to Well as I have said before children learn best by experiencing their surroundings. For example at the grocery story--size, shape, numbers, letters, counting, sorting, etc., but if the cell phone is in use many of these opportunities could be missed. Same with the zoo--animals, habitats, eating habits. There's a plethora of learning all around them, but they need someone to share their knowledge with them.

I know even my older children are guilty of the cell phone attachment. I remember one day my son asking the youngest if he wanted to go play baseball. Well, guess what, the cell phone had to go too. When a call came in all play stopped until the transmission was ended. I'm sorry, to me this phone should have been off--not even out there. Children need us, they need our time. If they don't have us to communicate with when they are young, and help them learn to become good communicators, what will happen to this younger generation?

I know cell phones are a great advance in technology. I know they are helpful and useful, but I also feel they really do have their time and place. I just ask all people, not just parents, when it's time to be spending time with children, please let the call go to voice mail. Sure, they might just want to tell you that the sky's blue, or you have two shoes, who knows, but every bit of communication is a bit of heaven. Just wait, when they're 12/13 you will be begging them to communicate with you.

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Teacher Sheryl said...

I am on that soapbox with you!

Fortunately, I haven't experienced cell phone neglect in the past couple of years with my preschoolers, but prior to that I did. We had one mom who was hardly ever there for her daughter. She worked long hours, traveled for weeks at at time, and had a nanny who hardly connected with the children. When she did make it to our end-of-the-year celebration at the park, she spent the entire time pacing the park on her cell phone. Why bother?

Another time that really got me was when a mom picked up her child while on the cell phone. Her child was trying so hard to tell her something exciting about the day, and she waved him off and continued to talk. It took all my might not to snatch that phone out of her hand.

However, I have to say that other than that, our parents have been wonderful with cell phone usage. Very rarely do I hear any parent talking on a cell phone during arrival or departure. They give their children their undivided attention.

But then I get in my car and during my drive home see every other person on the phone while driving. Worse yet, some who are texting while driving.

Kelly said...

Argh. I see this happen all the time when I pick up my daughter from school. I can't imagine not wanting her to share her experiences right away - I've missed her, after all!