Sunday, August 5, 2012

Know When to Connect and When to Disconnect

When you go to Walmart, you never know what you'll find.  Some days, the interactions are annoying (trying to use a credit card that is over the limit) and some days the interactions make me sad. Sometimes, the interactions become the data for a mini "ethonographic research"!

The line was long (what else is new) so there was a lot of time to observe her.  She was fiddling with her hair and talking on her cell phone.  Then, she was emptying the contents of her basket onto the counter while talking on her cell phone.  Finally, she was trying to pay, and talking on her cell phone.  Her toddler (about 4) was holding and sharing her iced coffee while attempting to engage in a conversation.

"We go to Namas, after this?"
"Are we gonna go?"    
"Can we go?"
"Can I get this (candy)?"
    pause, puts it in the cart
"Can I get this (gum)?"  
    pause, puts it in her lap
"Can I get this (People magazine)?" 
    pause, pulls off the cover
"Can I help you?"
    pause, puts the coffe on the counter
    coffee spills
                                       "Wait a minute, I'm trying to check out.
                                        Stop it now. You are making a mess.
                                        Don't waste that coffee."
"Are we gonna go?"
"Can we go?"
"Can I get out?"
    pause, attempts to get out

At that point, I intervened, encouraged the child to stay in her seat and started a conversation with the child about where they might be going next. The mom did not appear to notice that I was talking to her child.  She said nothing to me either; instead, she continued her conversation, stopping only to retrieve and put in her credit card.  She did not say thank you to the cashier nor respond to the cashier's, "Have a good day."  As they left, the toddler waved to me and said, "Bye, see you tomorrow!"  I smiled and waved back.  It's a big world at the mart and I go rarely' thus, I probably will never see him again. 
I got home and wrote this post (thinking I might expand on the conversation part another day).  Then my post was responded to by KT, a young teacher mom who long ago was a student in my school!
KT suggested I check out this mama's blog post. I did and it left me filled with a little sadness, yet hope for the future. 

I admit, I didn't have to worry about the distraction of cell phones when my own kids were little as I didn't have one; however, it does fill me with mama guilt for the times I was reading a book at a game and for all the times I was abrupt or too tired to play.  (Please forgive me kids). We all could take note of this mama - even us older moms - with older kids - even busy teachers - with lots of kids - each day is a gift - to listen to the kids - to talk with them - to use the moments wisely.

As hands free mama says:
"The recipe for “How to Grasp a Childhood” requires only one thing: You must put down your phone. Whether it is for ten minutes, two hours, or an entire Saturday, beautiful human connection, memory making, and parent-child bonding can occur every single time you let go of distraction to grasp what really matters."


KT said...

I try to balance connecting with kids. I think that either extreme is too much. I think in the old days moms connected more in person - and no connecting would mean isolation as a new mom! That's not good either. My memories of my mom growing up was her on a phone with a very long stretched out cord - connecting with other moms - we turned out just fine if I do say so myself!

Anita Ferreri said...

Yes you did!