There’s a drama at our house and it revolves around an electronic device. Sound familiar? The only thing unusual about this particular drama is that it’s only occurring within the ravages of my mind.
You see, part of me thinks my 11 year old son, Levi, needs a cell phone. I mean he’s constantly using mine to talk to classmates about assignments and set up social arrangements. Frankly it’s a bit of a nuisance. But more importantly, he sometimes needs to call me from after school activities when schedules change or plans vary. It would be, well…convenient.
However, when I say “cell phone,” I’m actually talking about a device used to connect to people telephonically. No texting. No internet. No video capabilities. Just a simple, highly limited calling plan. In short, not the cell phone he would like to acquire.
I once floated the idea to him. When he heard that it wasn’t 4G or invented by Steve Jobs, he politely declined the offer, preferring instead to remain disconnected and untethered from such an utterly uncool parental figure. So the first part of my dilemma is that he has no interest whatsoever in obtaining a cell phone. We all know too well how items with no personal value are kept and maintained by 11 year old boys. This does not bode well for said cell phone.
The second issue is that no matter how vehemently a parent opposes the whole electronic invasion, eventually your will is eroded and you give in to things you never in a million years believed you’d give into. So I figure it’s only a matter of time before my son manages to coax an evil, spend-your-life-texting implement out of us. But the earlier we start the descent down that slippery slope, the sooner he’ll be lost to us in a sea of cyber-space. Putting off the inevitable, even for a year or two, gives us more time with him as a viable and meaningful member of our family. One could also argue that more time as a child, unencumbered by a device that teaches people to be 100% accessible to their peers, co-workers, and even enemies at any given moment, would serve to cultivate a more thoughtful and emotionally connected adult later on in life. So why start the journey earlier than absolutely necessary?
Hmmm…Sometimes clarity comes from simply seeing your issues in black and white. I think that is my experience today. As I reread this, I am convinced that, unless I am harboring some internally masochistic yearnings, I’d better hold off on the cell phone idea for a while. Maybe I’ll wait until…he’s driving, or legally drinking. Oh lord, I just hope he doesn’t combine those two things; especially while he’s texting.