Jon was given tickets for Thursday night’s Cowboy game. We decided that Teen Take-Out would probably have the best time of all the kids, so gave him the green light to invite a couple friends. He chose two friends from his school. Next came the task of inviting the guys.
He started with his friend who has a phone. Preferred method of communication? … You guessed it. Text.
His other friend doesn’t have a phone. 8th grader sans cell phone! (Note to self: Commend those parents for counter-cultural living)
“I’ll ask him at school tomorrow.”
“I think it’s better if you call him at home. Then he can ask his folks.”
“Nahw… I’ll just ask him in person.”
“No … you will call him at home so he can ask his parents,” I reply, pressing the issue which apparently has him sweating.”
“No… I’m not doing it.”
“Choose that and you’ll be missing out on the game.”
“But I’ve already asked my other friend.”
“I guess he’ll be enjoying the game with your dad. … Call him now.”
I couldn’t believe the push back. I’m not sure what was making him so nervous. Was he afraid the parents would answer? … the kid’s sister? I don’t know, but he had absolutely no interest in actually dialing a number and making contact.
He, like so many kids these days, prefer texting. Voice-to-voice (not even face-to-face) communication has almost become a thing of the past. As I watched him squirm over calling a friend, I couldn’t help but get a glimpse of the future – this reaction on steroids when he calls a girl and asks her out. … I went there.
“If you think this is bad, wait until you’re asking a girl out on a date.”
“What?!! … MOM. I WILL NOT BE CALLING A GIRL!”
“Are you for real? … Not only will you call her, you will be picking her up, meeting her father, opening her door, paying for her meal…” Nothing like dumping an avalanche on the poor kid.
“NO. … Okay, so I don’t know about all that other stuff. But I’m not calling.”
“I’ll text her.”
There you have it. The answer for any uncomfortable situation. Avoid it by texting.
Needless to say, I stuck to my guns. The phone call was made. He actually did a nice job, even introduced himself when the other party answered their phone. It seems crazy that something so normal as a phone call that involves asking parental permission is barreling toward the endangered species list.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on a major problem staring all of us directly in the face. A generation of texters is missing out on basic human interaction skills. Somehow, we need to make sure that kids growing up in this technological age don’t completely opt out of learning interpersonal skills.
More to come on this one…
Thanks for walking the road with me.