Parents, cell phones, real life, etc. etc. etc.

I am blessed to be an active part of the lives of my children. One of my rewards is being a basketball coach for my son, Reed-o and his team of 4 and 5 year olds.

So there I was last night. 6:45 pm at the YMCA. We head in there, take off our coats and get right to it. We start with free throws and then move on to dribbling around the cones, bounce passing and eventually wrap up with some scrimmage activity. Nothing too exciting - but the kids love it!

Half way through our practice there was little Brice – a “struggling” young boy with crooked glasses. This little guy can barely get the ball up to the rim – which is set at just above 7’. He so desparately wanted to make a basket like the other kids. We tried and tried to position him in just the right place in front of the basket, hands exactly spaced on the ball, just the right amount of ‘umph!” and after 10 or 12 tries HE MADE IT! What a joy for little Brice. He was so excited he looked over and said “Hey Mom! I made a basket!”…….

Sadly when we both caught Mom’s eye (she hadn’t been paying attention) it was apparent she was on her cell phone in a “very important” conversation. She simply couldn’t be bothered with it right then. I mean – she had brought him there – wasn’t that enough? Wasn’t she doing her part?

That wasn’t really any big epiphany for me. Happens all the time. This is the 5th or 6th kids team I’ve coached. Nothing surprises me any more. Half the parents act as if they would rather be anywhere other than with their kids. So parents not really being interested in their children's sports activities makes me feel bad for the kids – yes……but doesn't surprise me.

But something did dawn on me as I looked around the rest of the court we were practicing on. Out of 6 parents there – believe this or not – only 1 seemed to even be watching. The rest were ALL ON THEIR CELL PHONES!

Texting I think. Twittering? Possibly. But to whom? About what? What could be more important than taking ½ hour out of your day to spend time with the child you just picked up from day care 1 hour before?!!!!????!!!!!?? Hey parents – would you at least pretend to give a $#&%?

Are we so caught up in our virtual lives that the one right in front of us no longer holds our interest?

Sadly that seems to be the case.

Views: 95

Comment by Tina Huckabay on December 4, 2008 at 12:38pm
If you are Tina with three kids each at their own activity it is not ever an option to not answer the phone. My wednesday evenings have me driving one to youth group at church, one to volleyball and the other to football. I don't overcommit them, but three kids in four years causes lots of phone calls. Add band concerts, girl scouts, play dates since kids don't "go out to play" anymore, tutoring, any after school club and my phone doesn't stop with kid calls.

I think it is sad that any parent can't devote their attention to their child for thirty minutes....unless it's the rest of their kids needing them too. I used to walk home from basketball, track, yearbook and all the rest of the things I was involved can't do that anymore or they disappear. Most parents don't even let their kids walk home alone from the bus stop....sad.

I hear you though husband has coached my son in baseball and football since he was 4 and he is now 13.... and he has to wait for late parents for practices and games....some kids don't even have parents there.

I don't think my father ever missed a basketball game of mine, not one....
Comment by Jerry Albright on December 4, 2008 at 12:46pm
Maybe it's just that Tina. Maybe we all feel as parents we have to sign every child up for every activity that comes along? Could it be these parents I'm dissing in my post are actually coordinating their next activity for the night? It just might be.

I'm just saying - can't we just put our phones away for a bit?
Comment by Julia Stone on December 4, 2008 at 1:06pm
Interesting observations, and nice job making little Brice's Day!

Alot of people over-schedule their lives to the point that they don't know how to actually participate in anything, especially spectator sports. Makes me wonder if they are also the first ones to yell out Coach like advice in the middle of a game though.

I think people are actually afraid of doing nothing for 30 minutes, which is how I would guess they see it. They don't know how to unplug.
Comment by Dean Lockett on December 4, 2008 at 1:14pm
<--- answers his cell phone, hello Jerry, yeah, I hear ya on this post. This is something that is going to turn around on everyone when their child grows up. I made it a rule in our household that our daughter doesn't answer or look at her phone when we are speaking with her - It happened once and that was when I drew the line. Cell phones are a pet peeve of mine, I called a parent out one time on the soccer field when THEIR child had ran the ball from one end to the other to score and all the while they were on their phone completely oblivious to what their child just accomplished. I saw the joy/excitement in the kids' eyes when they scored, but at the same time I saw their disappointment when they looked to the sidelines for their parents support/approval and there was nothing there. My parents never went to any of my activities, (I was the last kid out of 4) .. I never missed any of my kids activities - even the road shows we went to in soccer. It was a promise I made to myself and my family before they even existed. Could I also throw into the peeve pot, not using cell phones while driving, I got rear ended picking up my child at school and I warned her it was going to happen when I saw them in the rear view mirror. Flame off ;-)
Comment by Jerry Albright on December 4, 2008 at 1:17pm
What seems to be dawning on me here - is just how detached from the "real" world many people are becoming. Even when we get together for the holidays - there are a few of my relatives that just have to bring their laptops so they can surf the internet! Their jobs have nothing to do with anything on the web - so what in the hell are they doing? (Though for me to suggest that THEY don't need their laptop would start a war......but that's a different story!)

Another point here - I can tell that not ONE of these kids is getting any kind of practice at home. Ever. Is it too much to ask mom or dad to get off the damn internet/cellphone/blackberry to go outside with little Brice and do something real?

oh my.......
Comment by Jerry Albright on December 4, 2008 at 7:38pm
I can certainly appreciate just how much this profession demands of us! I am quite certain the distractions these parents were occupied with were not at all any form of actual "business" or involved in their income stream. (Since I'm a coach I tend to visit with all the parents - and as a recruiter I typically get around to "what do you do?" type stuff!)

So I guess my original rant was about being so occupied with catching up with your friends, talking about the next Pampered Chef party and who's driving to the I.U. game have become more important to some than the few minutes they can pay attention to their child outside the home.

But yes. I am blessed to be able to do so myself. With the cell phone off!

P.S. My kids are all in bed now so I'm back to my toys!


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