Cole’s two-week high school service trips are cell phone and computer free, except for a few hours on the weekend. I don’t disagree with this policy in theory, but in reality, I hate it.
The no cell phone policy is announced at the class meeting prior to the trip. Phones can be taken on the trip, but are collected when the group reach’s their destination. My favorite parents are the ones who make it a point to vocally agree with how good the rule is for the kids; the same parents that haven’t stopped texting since they walked into the room. Oh my, I’m judging. I accept the policy, quietly. If I voiced my thoughts, “Don’t take my kids phone away!” I would be starred at as though I was one of those women who talks to her mother almost every day! Oh, wait. I am one of those women.
Instead of confiscating the phones, couldn’t we just teach kids to use their phone appropriately? No, not rules—rules have to be enforced. Step away from the rules. Teach them to use their phones, just like you teach them the multiplication tables, to chew with their mouths closed, or to turn out the lights. Below are some cell phone manners, and tips I’ve shared with Cole over the years.
~ Always answer your mother’s phone call or text. Hell has no fury like a mother whose phone call or text goes unanswered.
~ The excuse “I was driving” isn’t valid. Pull over and answer your mother’s call or text.
~ If your phone takes a ride through the washer, it’s your fault.
~ Don’t ignore the people you are with to talk on the phone. It’s just plain rude.
~ If you say you will call someone or text someone back, DO IT. Just DO IT. No, of course you don’t have to answer or return every call immediately, but if your message says, “I’ll get back to you,” you are obligated to get back to the person.
~ Turn your phone off during class, services, and events. Not silencing your phone during these times really riles up the cell phone haters. If you are bored out of your mind and must text learn to do it discretely —under a coat or behind your program; and make sure you dim the light on the phone. (Come on grown-ups we have all been there)
~ Make sure your outgoing voice mail identifies you, either by name or phone number. You’re not in the witness protection program.
~ Speaking of voice mail, most prospective employers respond negatively when asked to leave a message on a voicemail that claims the person is too drunk to find his phone. Just sayin’.
~ Don’t answer or use your phone or text during meals (unless everyone else is doing it)
~ If you are driving with your mom and someone keeps texting you and your mom asks, “Who keeps texting?” Just tell her. Or if this is an invasion of your privacy, make up a name (I don’t really care who is texting unless you don’t tell me). Can you believe that I actually had to tell Cole this? Kids these days!
Teach kids a few cell phone facts and tips, and they can talk for life; take away the phones, and they can’t call their mothers.
Good news…while I was writing this, Cole called and told me he was having a great time; but when we hung up, I felt as though something might be wrong. His voice sounded a little funny. I hope he is warm enough, people are nice, his pillow is fluffy, his clothes are clean, the food is good . . . . Maybe, I should call back and ask him what he really meant when he said everything was “great?” WAIT! You don’t suppose the no cell rule is more about the parents than the students? No. Couldn’t be!
Odd Loves Company!