Rite of passage parenting: The new pacifier
Let me take a moment to say how excited I am about the upcoming Baptist Messenger Family Reunion at Broken Arrow, Arrow Heights at 6 p.m., Sunday, June 3. I hope any of you who live in the area will come over and enjoy this time of fellowship.
I’m proud of myself because I’ve hit another mile marker. I’ve only had my iPhone for about six months and have already mastered turning it on, making a call and charging it up every night. Just don’t ask me about text messaging and video chatting. I think I have a few more lessons to go.
The other day, I was at the doctor’s office when a mother with three little girls came in and sat near me. The longer these young ladies remained in the waiting the room, the more fidgety they became. At last, the mother pulled out her iPhone and handed it to the oldest daughter, who began to go through some different apps.
For those of you who don’t own a smartphone, apps (or applications) are programs you download for a specific use. If you go to the Apple website, you’ll discover it contains more apps than there are people on the planet. You can find apps for losing weight, for exercising and for finding a restaurant, along with thousands of games. They even have some weird apps like the one called “Dog Whistler” that lets you turn your iPhone into a dog whistle. Its advertisement reads, “Take control and teach your dog new tricks via this simple-to-use dog whistle. Quickly initiate a variety of frequency sounds via the simple dog whistle interface.”
Who on Earth would use their iPhone as a dog whistle? Lots of people, I guess. The app has more than 10 million downloads. I wonder if the Apple people have an app to help parents train their children. What would they call it, anyway: “Children Whistler?”
Meanwhile, back to the story. My little friends in the waiting room wanted me to get in on their fun. They were using an app that allows you to speak into the phone and have a cartoon character repeat your words back to you in a funny voice. I sat there with three little girls standing in front of me holding an iPhone in my face, chanting, “Say something.”
“Hello, how are you?” I said. They turned the phone around to look at the cartoon character, who repeated in a squeaky voice, “Hello, how are you?” The girls laughed and laughed. For the next 20 minutes, the iPhone and I provided the entertainment while the mother waited for the doctor.
Not long ago, I was at a wedding rehearsal where the 4-year-old ring bearer kept acting up. Everybody tried everything to quiet this little handful until his mom finally said, “The only thing that will calm him down is to let him play on the iPhone.”
Sure enough, she whipped out her iPhone. The child turned it on and started going through the apps to see what he wanted to play. For the next hour and a half, he sat there pushing, swiping and tilting that miniature computer as if he’d been doing it for years. How a 4-year-old ever got so tech-savvy, I’ll never know.
Last week, I attended the 100th anniversary party at the Baptist Messenger office where Editor Brian Hobbs spoke about the paper’s early days. Back then, he said, subscribers liked articles that were much longer than today’s readers tolerate.
One of the problems today’s print media faces is trying to get people to read. I used to see a television commercial that repeated the line “Reading is FUNdamental.” I can thank my mom for many wonderful things, but one of the best is that she instilled in me a love for reading. Every Saturday when I was growing up, she drove my brothers and me into town to the library. We’d walk out with three or four books apiece to read before the next week’s trip.
Mom and Dad, don’t get your children hooked on playing with your iPhone. When you go somewhere, bring along a book they can read. Read to them. Teach them to read for themselves and begin early on to encourage them toward the habit of becoming lifelong readers.
Since I have to spend many hours on airplanes, in airports or living in the jungle, I’ve followed my mom’s example and used that time to better myself by reading. Last year alone, I read 117 books.
The Bible talks about reading, too. In fact, it says reading has a direct result. I won’t tell you what it is, but you can read it for yourself in Rev. 1:3.