While walking with friends of ours at a town function, our daughters conversed in giggles and chatter down the street. In a flash their 13-year-old whipped out her cellphone to text her other friends. Such a look of envy passed over my daughter’s face that at that moment, had she asked me for one I’m sure I would have relented. I felt a bit sad for her really. Her friends from her old school all have cell phones now that they’ve hit the big age of 12 in grade 7.
I guess what flashed through my mind was more like pity for her. Being homeschooled here, although popular, can be a very lonely endeavor for my kids. Homeschooling around here is thought of as a means for a kid to cram more into his/her life, like violin, hockey and drama club mixed with youth group, choir and cross country (I knew a child whose schedule this was). When we decided to homeschool it wasn’t so we could fit more in, it was so I could allow my children to blossom into the best they can be, both academically and emotionally. I do not believe in scheduling my kids to the max as they do not thrive in that space, nor do I. Being homeschooled, and being as social as she is has been rougher on my oldest daughter. More so than her younger sister who thrives in a hermit-like existence. Rougher in the sense that keeping in touch with the people she enjoyed being around has been tenuous at best.
So when I saw that look on her face, it caused me to rethink my no-cell-phone-until-she-can-pay-for-it-on-her-own diatribe I’ve been spouting off for years. It’s possibly due to the softening of my heart, or how much I adore her, but more likely that I don’t want her secluded in any way due to our family’s choice to homeschool. That, and similar to me wanting to get a tattoo when I turn 40, it’s likely I’m just getting old and changing (yeah Kara, you read that right, you in for another one? maybe we’ll talk my mom into it too).
A few years back when every kid was starting to get a cell I balked at the idea and thought their parents were giving in. That and I figured they were rich to be able to afford our mobile system’s outrageous pricing (and can I say can we PLEASE get Verizon, or any of the other Stateside providers so our prices decrease? M’kay? Thanks). It was weird to see a 10-year-old walking down the street talking on the phone. I thought it strange to see an 11-year-old on the ski hill texting. Then every teenager I saw had one either glued to their face or their thumbs. We adults spouted off that this generation was going to grow up to be stupid with no actual social skills because every waking moment was spent behind the screen of a cell phone using short code to communicate. Oh sure, there’s the story of college kids just finding out their professors do not accept ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’ in papers handed in, or the movies portraying every teenager as sullen parent haters with a desire to Google how to make pipe bombs in the basement, but it isn’t reality. Or not the reality here.
Many parents I’ve met of these cell phoned teens are still teaching them to not whip their phones out in the midst of a conversation, or to text during church. Oh, and those shows that display kids texting in class? All schools have an all out ban on cell phones, even in the hallways. Caught in class and you’ll likely lose your phone. I don’t want to say that my kids will be better with their phone and won’t be glued to it because that’d be lying. I know if we didn’t limit her, the texting per month would be outrageously high.
I’m still on the fence about handing over a $40 a month, plus the cost of phone, item to a 12-year-old. I’m sure she’s reading this, hoping like hell I’d change my mind. Perhaps that’s a good position paper, or blog she could do to convince her dad that paying that every month is a good idea.
And she knew I’d turn this into a homeschooling project. ~insert evil laugh here~