Buddie decided to return his 4G iphone, which was a major decision for him. I offered to do the leg work on it since he is swamped at work right now. The kids and I headed to the Apple Store after we dropped Mom at the airport this morning.
The friendly genius at the Apple Store sent us to the At&T store about a block away to get the phones switched around, then we had to go back to the Apple Store to actually return the phone.
If you’ve never been to an Apple Store, it is the best Techno-Geek playground in the world. Our kids love the place. The girls each had their own computer to play on. The Buster was bouncing back and forth between iphone games and ipad games.
The AT&T store…not so much. Walls of phones and accessories. It took us about 40 minutes at the AT&T store to jump through all the necessary hoops. After 7 minutes, I doled out my supply of 3 iphones to my 3 children, and they sat down on the floor and began to play. If I’d had an iphone for myself, I would have taken a picture.
With my free time to stand around and wait, I started thinking about self-control. I wondered if I was actually robbing the children of an opportunity to learn self-control by always having a distraction available to them. We’ve always got at least one phone on us, and the children are certainly adept at using them, so…we use them.
Is that wise? Is self-control something that comes with age, so the children will naturally grow into it, or, does it take opportunities, like being bored at an AT&T store, to practice? Or, if there weren’t an iphone, would it just be me being the distraction? Or the children figuring out a way to play together as a distraction? Hmmm.
It’s rather like the mental paroxysms I went through before we purchased a DVD player for the car. We make multiple 8-12 hour car trips every year. Our kids have always been great car travelers. When they were younger, they were fine with random toys, books to look at, lots of sleeping, etc. The three of us, when Noa was 8 months old, drove from home to Chicago in 12 hours, with only 3 stops! Personal Record.
But, it began to feel less “fair” to them as they grew older, and were in that stage between being babies and learning to read. Plus, Monkey wanders into car sickness, so even now that she can read, I’m not sure it is a good option.
Hence, the DVD player, and we’ve never looked back.
Do I sometimes wonder if I’ve robbed them of some opportunities to talk and fight and visit as we take these marathon car trips? Well, I might if I didn’t, then, quickly remind myself that we are homeschoolers, and hence, spend approximately 15 hours per day together, talking, fighting, and playing.
And, God love’m, when Buds is in the car with us, he’s on a computer or his iphone. I’d love the children to see him as a role model in most every way, so maybe this instance should be no exception.