Teens and Texting: They’ve Grown up Just Like Me
Many Oklahomans have their gripes about the most prevalent teen habit right now—texting. Kids sit staring at their cell phones, punching buttons, and managing to convince us all that by the time they’re 25, they will be a gold mine for the carpel-tunnel-surgery-industrial complex.
In Our Day It Was Phones
The basics are not new. Texting is a way to say to everyone around, “You are not as important as the person receiving my text message.” For those of us who grew up in the pre-cell-phone world, there was the telephone. We could attept to ignore parents who wanted us to do homework by spending hours on the phone. In the 50’s there were songs about letters from boyfriends and girlfriends. Maybe someone out there can envision such a thing… that’s too far back for me.
So, Where Do Kids Get Ideas Like This?
Of course, we all feel we’ve taught our kids good manners and set a good example. And we know that kids learn more from what we do than what we teach them through our words. And there is a certain degree to which we all have to learn a little from our own mistakes even though parents and teachers try to save us from the most devastating mistakes.
I was reminded of the rudeness of teen texting just recently. I walked into the office of a co-worker, not uninvited—we were involved in a joint project—and saw a little too late that he was on the phone. He covered his other ear; as if I would make such a ruckus that he would be unable to hear. He was very dismissive toward me, even though (as far as I know) my contribution to the project was needed.
It reminded me of an earlier discussion of office etiquette years back when voice mail was new (now there would probably be no such discussions). I was in a minority of one when it came to insisting that physical people in one’s office took priority over those calling on the phone. (Maybe I’m weird—what’s voice mail for?) Someone who has taken the trouble to come by the office of a co-worker to accomplish some project, pick up forms, or whatever doesn’t take priority over someone who is too lazy to come by and calls on the phone? Of course, trips around a workplace can become a source of inefficiency, and a trip for every little question would be silly. Anyway, I think I was out-voted.
Here’s an Old Song
The whole thing reminds me of an old song from the 70’s, “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. The song relates the story of a dad who is proud of his son, but always has work to do and cannot be present for much of the little boy’s life. The last verse is the clincher; dad’s retired and calls to say he’d like to visit. The son is too busy, but when he can find time—won’t it be great to get together. The father then realizes, “He’d grown up just like me; my boy was just like me.”
Next time you are tempted to complain about a teen and texting, listen to the song.
Check out lyric to this great song:
Arden Rea lives in Oklahoma City.