My way of parenting in the age of electronic gadgetry has spawned an entirely new way of living life at our house. One category is “The Car Ride”.

“NO gadgets when riding with me in my car,” I said to the youngun’ some years ago..

Response: Eyes roll. Chest heaves with exaggerated sighs. Attitude displayed even in the kink of her hair.

“Call out the streets we cross. Make sure you can spell them out loud for me to hear and do that before we get to the next cross street.”

“Tell me what businesses we’re passing that provide a service we can use— shoe shop, cleaners, laundromat, pharmacy, office supplies, furniture, plumber and whatever else you spot.”

“Share with me what bus number travels this route? Which streets does it stop for passengers?”

“ “Ah, this piece of communication produces an opportunity to use a gadget,” I would announce and then happily add, “when you get back home” .

The gadget assignment? Get on the computer and learn the bus route of 3 of the buses we encountered while driving in the car.

Now, who would call this call this communication?

Me, and I’ll let you know why.

Even with the eye roll, the sighs and the ultimate attitude being exhibited there’s a carload of connecting.

Non-verbal communication works. She wants me to know she’s had enough. I get it and don’t really care. And she knows I don’t care because, in part, she needs the ride .

No real talk necessary here, other than the assignment. Consistency when communicating with children is essential for positive results.

She knows the full routine, after enough times of her non-verbal, “I’ve had enough of you.” not working.

Granted a ride in the car could be a lot simpler if just the gadget were allowed and the young lady only looked up, came to attention, once the car was stopped and the destination reached.

We’ve managed to have great conversations regarding the people on the street – Who’s too fat for the outfit they’re draped in. Pointing out the homeless man who walks all over the city, and recognizing a street name also seen in another city.

Then there comes the time of helpful directions, “Are you turning here? I thought we were headed to the freeway!”

“Oops, your’re right. Thanks much. What was I thinking?”.

Conversation can really take place when the adult makes sure life isn’t left to gadgets.

But this electronic device rule has to start early and the adults in charge have to lead by example.

The big guys from Silicon Valley don’t let their kids run amok with the gadgets their companies created.

More and more people in the professional arena, who watch over what’s happening with our children, warn us against the over-use of electronic “temptations” and the setting up of our kids to become “addicted.”

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Caroline McKiernan

    Wow. So much is being taught here. For one, a sense of direction…for second, a sense of presence…for third, a sense of place (of connectedness to the community in which one lives)…survival skills too, and most importantly defiant love. Thank you for this. In this way, I have failed my precious daughter.

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