Once upon a time there was a sacred time in most households, when all distractions were shut off, and the family sat down together to enjoy each others company, share their day, and celebrate their successes.
Have you guessed? It was the family dinner. Televisions were turned off. If the telephone rang, which was unlikely because all your friends were also eating dinner, you politely answered that you would return their call after dinner. Dinner time was family time. The Beaver would tell how he hit a home run in the neighborhood ball game, while his brother would tell how well he thought he did on the math test. Ward would congratulate the boys and talk about his day, while June would serve up the family favorite: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Once upon a time, most people looked forward to that time when the family came back together, and the meals that only Mom could make the best. But time marches on. Mom is to busy to cook, but the selection of carry in meals is terrific. The family can still eat together, if practice for an array of sports and other activates would only allow it. When the family does finally get together, they are often to exhausted for sharing, and besides, the television is on.
There is an alternative that many families take advantage of a few times a week. They eat out. No television, now they can talk.
Not so with the family we sat near a few nights ago. There they were with their three very well behaved kids. The only conversation those kids heard were from tables surrounding them, and Mom on the cell phone who at least once told them to shut up as she was talking on the phone.
Is it any wonder that these kids, came to visit our table. Mom did get off the phone to order them back by her side, and then manhandled them into place when they did not respond fast enough. The children were then promptly ignored.
This was only the most resent example of families totally being shut out by the cell phone. I’ve seen spouses with one on the phone while the other ate alone in a restaurant. I’ve seen people on an unfortunate date where the phone was in use by one.
Cell phones are everywhere. I’ve been in line at a store where everyone is trying to be quiet so as not to disturb the person on the phone. At the register you can’t tell if the person on phone is really aware of what is going on. At the playground the tweens all have their cell phones out and they don’t even talk, they text.
People driving while on their cell phones has caused many an uneasy moment, and even accidents. These real dangers have lead to a movement to take a no cell phone while driving pledge, and legislation requiring hands free for driving.
I’ve heard of a shop that has posted a sign that if you are using a cell phone, they will wait for you to complete your call so they don’t interrupt you to provide service. At movie theaters they request you turn off your phone, but in the darkened theater you can see the glow of the cell phone as people are texting.
Once upon a time had a lot of draw backs, but it had some really nice things also. If we are a little creative we can take control our cell phones and retain some of those nice things, like family dinners and sharing our day and successes.