So I am at the new yogurt shop called Yo Top It in West Linn on an outing with one of my 12-year-old twins, Wesley. I try to take each of my kids out individually, and with back to school here, I wanted to have this time with my seventh grader to talk.  When we walk in to the yogurt shop, there are only two others in the shop- a mom and her preschooler. The mom is on her cell phone while her pre-school son is sitting there eating his yogurt.

The store manager explains that we can try out different flavors which we happily do. While testing raspberry and vanilla and strawberry and chocolate, Wesley and I talk about which flavors we like and don’t like and the toppings that would work with each. It’s fun to listen to my kids’ thoughts and ideas. . . all, the while, I keep noticing this mom and her preschooler in the shop – the mom continues talking on her cell phone while her kid is just sitting there eating his yogurt quietly.

And, I think to myself, what is going on here? Can’t this mom wait till later to speak on the phone? It made me feel sad for this kid. I thought, would a mom sit there talking to someone on her cell phone if she were with another mom friend, essentially ignoring the person she is with. I understand there are times when we have to make a quick call or text message while in a cafe with another person. But, to talk on the phone the entire time we are with another person is another story altogether.

Yes, kids need to learn how to use the off button when it comes to electronics, but I also say parents need to learn restraint as well. It’s about respect for others in the restaurant – and etiquette regarding how we show others (our kids)  they are valuable to us.

Another recent time, I was at McDonalds with my 7-year-old, and this man was in there with his (presumably) daughter, who looked like she was about 4-years-old. This dad sat there on his I-pod playing games while his daughter ate her food and looked around at other people. The dad glanced up from his game only when he told his daughter to eat all of her food, or when she got up on her knees, he told her to sit back down, then went right back to his game.

Again, I felt sad for this little girl, and once again pondered. As parents, are we so addicted to our electronic devices that we cannot turn them off while eating a meal, or having a snack, with our children?

I also see it when parents are driving in the car with their kids is in the back seat as well — parents in the front on their cell phones while kids are in the back. As parents, we are missing opportunities to speak with our kids during car trips and cafe outings about life and love and culture and God and ideas and dreams and thoughts.

I’ve written about kids learning where the off button is, and I also say adults need to learn to use the off button as well.

You’ve seen the bumper stickers: Hang up and Drive. I will add to that, Hang up and talk to your kid.

Interestingly, I just discovered a story on this issue in the New York Times- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/garden/10childtech.html

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