My son went back to school a couple of weeks ago, starting the second grade. Parents are supposed to drop off their kids at the door; they are not allowed to come in the classroom. Apparently, some parents were taking the start of school a bit hard and broke the rule, coming in to make sure their kid was settled or to get one last hug or kiss. The second graders, at least the boys, got together and decided there needed to be a punishment for parents breaking the rule. I said, “Great, did you come up with one?” His immediate response was, “Yes, we take away their iPhone.”
I laughed… at first. Then I started to realize how accurately these 7 and 8-year-olds understood what was actually important to their parents. I heard a man talking on NPR recently, and he said, “I think we will see a huge drop in cell phone use in the next generation, because it is a sign of the abandonment they experienced in childhood.” You see it all the time. We have made a big deal out of the group of junior high boys walking together all on their phones texting someone else. Heck, sometimes they texting each other! But we have failed to mention the parents who are on their phone while the family is at dinner. The husband and wife who are together at home or in the car, and both are on their own phones. The fact that we fill every spare moment with checking the news, or email, or facebook or twitter.
If you think this isn’t you, try to make a note every time you get on your phone. And notice how long you’re on it. Maybe find someone that will hold you accountable. A person that will notice when you’re on the phone. If you’re really brave, tell your kids you don’t want to be on the phone as much, or at certain times. I promise they won’t fail to mention that you’re checking your phone at dinner… again.
It makes me wonder what we used to do with that time. I think we might have listened. I think we might have slowed down to think about things. I think we might have noticed what was going on around us. What’s going to add more to your day – slowing down to soak in the beauty of God’s creation OR checking the 140 character updates that have updated since you checked it last? Do you need to know a breaking piece of news or notice that your kid is growing up and soon probably won’t want to talk to you because they’ll be on their own phone? I wonder what God did with us when we had time to listen to Him.
22 thoughts on “Punishment for Parents, by their Second Graders”
This was really good and thought provoking btw!!
be blessed and thank you!
Very Insightful, Todd! My 3 yr old daughter is growing up so fast that I have begun policing my laptop time. Playing with her is much more fun, and I want her to know that SHE is more important!
Ouch. But absolutely true.
Three months ago I gave up my cell phone completely, my teenager on the other hand is an addict. She claims she isn’t but i ask her to give it up for 10 minutes, to prove she wasn’t she handed me the phone and it went off in my hand and two minutes after she handed it to me on minute 3 she asked for it back because she said it may be important, I said what is so important it cant wait 7 minutes the responce I got was your old you won’t understand. I then asked her did she think there was a 12 step program for phone addicts, Other things can get in between us and GOD. what are we willing to give up for him, someone who gave up so much for us. I have so enjoyed the last 3 months phone free, and I have limited my home phone time also the dinner table is a phone free zone we do not answer it during dinner time we all make it a point to eat at the table together and talk about the day it has made us stronger as a family. I want to make a challenge to everyone take 30 minutes of your phone time every day for 2 weeks and instead of talking to someone else choose to take those 30 minutes and talk with GOD. See what happens.
Yep, take away the i-Phone’s of parents and some of their world’s will fall apart. Those of us who don’t have the i-Phone, really do, but it’s called something different….FB, twitter, etc. Wonder how much more I would grow if I actually STOPPED to listen?
I proudly do NOT own an iPhone. I have a cell out of emergency necessity, but do not talk or text with any regularity. I find it all very annoying, especially at church during service. I am amazed (and saddened) by those who text during service, check messages, etc.
Wow! Smart kids! They see how addicted we are to these contraptions! Taking time away is a great idea, because we spend too much time on them instead of the persons God has put in front of us! The Bible said a little child shall lead them, and the Bible is always correct!
You asked what did God do with us when we had time for Him. I spend more time in the Word and in communion with God than anything. The answer to that question is, He lives in me. But the more important question is what does God do when we ignore Him. The answer to that question increases with the amount of time westay away. At first He leaves us to our choices and those go wrong, consequences result from mistakes IAW severity. Long term, the same thing happens to us as happened to Israel when they continued to worship other Gods.
We get shipped off to Babylon.
And yes my son has texted the next table to us at diner.
Todd, I watched a video on YouTube this morning of your song, “My Jesus”. It had such an impact on me that I searched the internet for more info about you and came across your website and this post. I am not yet a parent, but this makes me think about all of the friendships and relationships in my life. Facebook, Twitter, email and cell phones are supposed to make us more connected, but they really do quite the opposite, don’t they? Thanks for the wake-up call about what’s important in life.
OUCH…too true. Our family recently experienced a similar situation so now dinner time is family-only time. No answering of ANY phones. We instead pepper/pester? each other with “what if?” type questions from our Loaded Questions game. This has become so much fun (as well as often hilariously informative) that we now do this when we are out to eat as well and challenge each other to make up our own questions. This, in turn, has led to the long-overdue reinstatement of weekly family game night. Hooray for reduced phone usage; our family is having a blast!
Pingback: Punishment for Parents, by their Second Graders | Todd Agnew « Wonderings of aSacredRebel
Read this from the link on FB
….parents… teach your own children…
there are too many blessings to count
when you homeschool your children
best thing we ever did was leave the
govt schools when my dd was in 2nd grade
dd is 20 now and ds 17… they and we
wouldn’t trade it for anything
they are both in college now
don’t WORRY about teaching them
all /only the academics
what they need is so much more than that
pray and do it today
you will NEVER be sorry
that you did
Wow! That hit where it hurts. I have noticed lately that when I’m not playing games on my iphone that my kids are fighting over it to play their games on it. I also noticed that they ignore the educational games that I put on the phone for them.
I dont use my cell phone much. However, I am a fulltime student and much of my homework is online so I have to be use it a lot.
Being a single parent doesnt help either. And my kids more often than not end up with the eletric babysitter. While I sit at my desk doing most of the things you mention. I feel awful all the time, that I am working toward being financially self sufficent and my children are growing up at warp speed. They are only 6 and 4 right now. I have made a few changes recently though, They take the bus t church on sundays to sunday school. I study then. And my new schedule during the week is 8am to 5pm. So, I can spend my nights and weekends with them. But I get a few hours on Sunday to study and organize for the week. We are starting to attend church together saturdaynight so, Jesus is an event or enterainment to be chrished instead of what is typical. I am blessed that my kids never want to miss the sunday school bus to jesus and are learning young how to choose a relationship with him. instead of being dragged toto him. My son at four prays like a champ. I cant always pay attention to them but Amen i hope the attention igive them is blessed.
Amazing conformation of what I have been so painfully aware of in the me and the world around me. We are all becoming so isolated from our surroundings with our I phones and Blackberrys we don’t even participate in our own lives. Became aware when we noticed our granddaughter zoned out with the DS in the car. Remember when we use to talk and sing and laugh , in other words enjoy the time we had together. What was so painful about my new awareness was the fact that I set an awful example by often zoning out with my Blackberry. Thankfully I got rid of the Blackberry and detached from that world in an effort to be a good example for our family . Real freedom in living and thinking again without the distractions. Thanks for making my day by posting !!!!!!!!!!!
Children will observe and point out our short comings, always.
Iterestly enough I read a tis recently and got my responsibility as a parent.
Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Matthew 18:6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Corinthians 8:12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Is my behavior teaching my children to sin and offend God and better yet dose my behavior lead others to to ungodly behavior?
I am a new christian with a life long faith in God. But, recently God has seen fit to bless me with some wisdom while rading the bible. i cant Quote scripture unless my bible is near but I can apply his messages to me.. Amen.
Actually, this is one of the primary reasons I don’t own a smartphone. I have a basic cell phone and only recently got a text plan because I was paying too much for all the people texting me.
For me, though, it’s the time I spend on my computer. I’ve learned to make an intentional effort to close it and talk to my husband and children so they know I’m really present, not distracted. I’m not doing it perfectly, but I’m working hard to make it a habit.
You’re right about our kids needing parents to focus on them. They need us. If they didn’t, they’d have been born fully grown humans, or gone from infancy to adulthood in less time.
My children have let it be known to me time and time again that they were jealous of my phone, it has gotten to the point when we are doing something together, I dont answer MOST of the time. Every now and then I start to fall back into it and they are quick to remind me…to turn it off!
And Here we all are writing lengthy replies. I am guilty! Especially with my wife and 2 granddaughters.
There are many, MANY times I wish I didn’t even HAVE a cell phone!!! It’s too easy to be found and too easy for people to call or your kids to text and say one more “mom I need….” The worst part of the cellular technology I think, is the fact that you can text whatever but no one can see your facial expression, the intonation of your voice, the feeling in your voice or your body language. All those things are so important in communication – they make it so much more real. Thankfully we can’t text God – we have to come to Him in prayer or praise. And He can always see the whole message – not just the words. Hallelujah for that!!!
And now here I am, thunderstorm brewing, outside in the yard exiled from my house by 2 tv’s. I had a very worldly professor who advocated going tv free. It did not take much convincing for me to realize he was right. I grew up in the age of network television. Just 3 or 4 channels, but much better entertainment than communing with live people. Got to run!