I know that seems like an odd combination, but please try and bear with me. I had initially planned on writing about my experiences with attempting to put together a trampoline, but that will have to wait as I have a thorn in my paw.
It was really a fairly innocuous tweet from Lucretia M Pruitt (@LucretiaPruitt on Twitter), that really got me started again… but I really guess I should start with a little back story first, so insert the wavy screen filter and dreamy music as I bring you back a couple of years ago.
Here we are, circa 2007 or so. My daughter whining about wanting a cell phone. After all, “all her friends had them,” and she wanted one too. It was also a time when you couldn’t open a newspaper without hearing stories about kids texting in class, and schools banning cell phone, and other such stuff. I was honestly confused at the time. Why were parents buying kids cell phones at such young ages? I wasn’t indignant about it (more on that in a minute), but just couldn’t see the rationality of it. Then slowly people started giving some rally valid points. Kids in more than one place at more than one activity, was one of the first that really resonated with me. But surely I didn’t have that issue since I only had one to worry about. Some pointed out the GPS feature in case of a child being abducted, but that to me was more about marketing attempting to scare folks into buying a phone, because more than likely that phone would get tossed by the abductor.
Fast forward to 2009, and my daughter would be finishing her ice skating camp approximately 1/2 before anybody could get there to pick her up. Now there was plenty of things to do and to keep her occupied for that half hour. But there was something missing. Something that didn’t fit in with our “in case of emergency plan” of making sure she had change to call one of us should the need arise. That problem… there was no pay phone. Look around. There aren’t many left, and even fewer that actually function.
We thought about it… not for very long, and I went out and picked her up a Pre-paid mobile phone. I sat down with my princess and explained the rules to her. I explained the charges, and what limits she had to abide by. A year later, she has followed those rules quite well… and it has worked out that we feel quite comforted that she can get in contact with us at any time in case of emergency. (Quick Pimp… This is what lead me to review the new Kin Phones from Microsoft, which I have done on my new Review Blog)
So now, we are considering the next step, and that is giving her a better phone. Back in 2007, I was dead set against this, but in reality, it was trying to keep her little, and not acknowledging that times are different. Markedly so. There isn’t a pay phone everywhere. And (provided you set down the rules and they listen to them), it teaches responsibility as an added bonus. So really, it really is a great thing all the way around.
Now, I am a rather opinionated fellow (hey… I heard that). Of this I do not and cannot argue (oddly enough). Certainly, Lucretia and I have disagreed on things before (aha… you thought I forgot that I had mentioned her earlier didn’t you?). But disagree doesn’t mean anything but the fact that we have varying view points at times. What got me started on this was her Tweet that went:
You can curse me all you like. We got the kidlet her own cell for emergencies. Tired of loaning her my ‘droid
Curse you? For giving a kid a cell for emergencies? WTF. And as is not uncommon, somebody else stated (better than I ever could) what was on my mind (in this case it was BusyMom)
@LucretiaPruitt Ya know? A phone is just a tool, not sure when it became some sign of parenting superiority. Don’t even start me…
There it was, something that has been bugging the ever living hell out of me lately. Snooty, who the hell they think they are people with some sort of superiority complex. There are some places, that it is just as equally inappropriate, but more expected, like in political conversations… but in parenting?? If you are a parent presently… then guess what… you are still going through on the job training, and that job isn’t done yet. You haven’t graduated. You do not have a “proven method” regardless of how well Muffy and Chad are doing at the Academy of Really big Important Sounding Name School that I use to show how great my kids are and rattle off to get adoration and hear sounds of jealousy from others. You not not done. So please, stop and think for a minute before you open your mouth. Consider for a second that somebody else’s situation may be different than yours. Consider the oh so slim possibility, that you may not be correct. Shocking, I know. But it is possible. So just climb down off that high horse. This doesn’t just apply to cell phones, or any one particular issue, but your overbearing, unwanted “edict” of trying to rein down your superior knowledge. If you are still parent… your job is not done yet… and that means, you still do not have all the answers. You have opinions. Nothing wrong with sharing them. But before you are going to start lecturing somebody else about their parenting. Stop, sit down, and shut up, until that feeling passes. Then try talking to somebody as an equal, share your opinions (if they are wanted), and don’t forget to listen as well… because you just might learn something.
Recently, I’ve learned that it is not always what I say, but how I say it that makes a big difference. Tell me, what have you learned that you didn’t know before.