Monday, October 10, 2005

It doesn't count if you are on the phone

I own a cell phone. I virtually never leave home with out it on purpose. There are a couple reasons for that. I have a job that requires me to be on call and carry a pager 24/7. I have children and can not always be with them, and my greatest fear is that something would happen to them and I could not be reached. Neurotic? Very likely. Nobody is perfect, not even me despite the fact that I am always right as my horoscope has stated.

Today I was fortunate enough to have my last client of the day cancel on me and turn a work day that was slated to end at 7:00 end at 4:30. Pretty good deal. Since I was off early and got the evening dinner, homework, and chores out of the way in good time I decided to take a walk with my little darlings down to the local park. Once there #2 wanted to swing so I obliged her. Next to us was a man with a little boy perhaps 2 or 3 years old who he was rather absently swinging as he talked on his cell phone. A short while later a little girl about 6 I would guess came up and repeatedly tried to get her dad's attention to help her do a cherry drop. The dad ignored her first several tries to get his attention, and then he finally grouched at her to be quiet he was on the phone. Now I know children need to be taught not to interrupt when someone is on the phone. BUT THEY WERE AT THE PARK. You are supposed to have your parent's attention at the very least for safety reasons. She then started to push her younger brother on the swing while he walked off and gabbed.

We were at the park for about 1/2 an hour and the man FINALLY got off the phone about 5 minutes before we left.

I have been unreasonably bothered by this since it happened. I can not think of too many calls that can't wait while you give attention to your children on an outing to the park. I realize that there may be factors in this situation that I am not aware of and am in great danger of being judgemental. There is probably a fair amount of my own guilt at never feeling like I have enough time to spend with my children at play here too. I am sometimes jaded by the fact that the work I do involves helping parents who are struggling and have lost custody of their children due to poor parenting.

I am not a perfect parent. I sacrafice time that could be spent with my kids in favor of work and chores often. But I can say that when I make the time and effort to do something with my children I am present and involved, and I try to do that regularly.

So when you are out there at the park with the kiddies, put down the phone. Play. Talk. Trite as it may sound in a few years once they have outgrown the park and are walking 30 feet ahead of you everywhere you go in an effort to pretend they don't know you, I guarantee you will wish for those days when they constantly sought out your attention. Those days are coming for us faster than I like to admit, and I dread them with all my heart.

So tomorrow, I will read an extra story and play one more game before we get ready for bed.

I am going to put away my soap box for the day.



Ted Carter said...

Amazing how those folks who are supposedly "super-connected" to the world because of their cell phones end up, in reality, being less connected than the rest of us, isn't it?

Ali said...

Although sometimes, man... After 10 hours with the 9 year old, sometimes I need 5 minutes of time on the phone - whether it's my agent calling or Matt. And I can get super-annoyed if, after I've explained that I need a minute of privacy, the kid can't give me that time. Maybe dude just needed a quick break?

Missy said...

Now that could be, and of course if you have given hours of undivided attention you are entitled to a break(s), and kids need to learn to occupy themselves as well. He appeared to be talking about stuff that sounded job related. (as much as I gathered, I was not paying attention a whole lot to what he was saying.) But I have had fear since I posted this that I jumped to a conclusion with out having all the facts.