The whole iPod, smart phones, tablet craze has been going on for a while now and there’s no stopping it in our house. It’s like a runaway train and I think I got flattened on the tracks.

My grandpa and grandma are 95 and 93 and they had an iPad before I even knew what it was. In fact, they upgraded to a new one prior to us even owning one! By 3 years old, Levi had mastered the skills required to use the camera, play games, as well as delete some of mom’s important stuff.

I remember 15 years ago, teaching Caleb ,when he was 3, to use the mouse on our computer. I was so impressed at how quickly the little guy mastered that skill, practicing his ABCs with Winnie the Pooh. Levi, now 5, was helping me clean out a closet when we found that old Winnie the Pooh CD. We only have one computer that you can actually insert a CD into and when it came time to play, Levi hadn’t a clue how to operate the mouse. But switch it over to the touch screen and he had it mastered in minutes.

Considering all that’s changed from my oldest to my youngest, it’s no wonder I can’t keep up.

Pulling at the reins

I read the articles and books, I go to all the talks and information meetings offered by church and school to keep myself updated and aware of trends. I’m doing my best to make sure I’m not a parent who comes from the stone ages and is clueless as to what’s going on under their nose. We waited until we felt they were ready and by 16, Caleb had his own phone and at 15, Drew did too. It was a big step, an expensive purchase, one that locks you in for the next 24 months and let’s face it, for the rest of your life!!

But by the time they’ve had a device for a year, it’s out of date and the gift you bestowed on your child bears the scars of being dropped, sat on and heavily used for 365 days. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me so much that they only last a couple years. I’ve already replaced my washing machine three times in 20 years of marriage and I don’t use it every day or even for a good majority of my waking hours. 

We took the advice of the professionals and tried to be proactive rather than reactive. We made rules in advance and tried to avoid the pitfalls that come with giving too much freedom and then having to rein them back in.

We even met with Steve’s brothers and wives and came up with a plan, a “let’s stick together in solidarity and present a united front to our teens” kind of plan. Devices were strictly prohibited in bedrooms, they go in a basket in the kitchen at 8 pm to foster good connection and communication with the family, no devices at the supper table, etc. 

But the lure of that flashy little touch screen connecting them to the world had too great a pull and since all that kumbaya time made them gag, in the end, I was the lone survivor, paddling up a raging river with no one at my back. Flattened again. 

Not that it’s all bad.

I certainly see the merits of those little hand held tracking devices. As long as I can find their phone, I’m sure to find them! I quite like the sense of security it gives me and it works well with our chaotic life as I can simply text them when the schedule changes while flying by the seat of my pants.

I even tried the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” motto but I just can’t seem to give it my all like they can. When supper time came, my mom-guilt kicked in and I was compelled to put it down and head for the kitchen.

The Raging Bull Dog

I may be a little worse for wear after my run-ins with that runaway train and raging river but I’m tenacious.

Just ask Steve.

I’m like a bull dog with something clamped between its teeth, I’m not letting go. I may not be able to, or even want to completely rid my home of those mind-numbing-attention seeking-time sucking-hand-held-gateways to the world but darn it, I’m going to give it all I can to steal back some of their time and attention.

If they think I’m going to go away quietly, they’ve got another thing coming.

If you don’t like the sound of my nagging, feel free to put the phone in the basket at the allotted time (which may or may not have been negotiated to a later hour). If you don’t like me popping into the bathroom while you’re in there, feel free to leave that device on the counter when you head down the hallway. If you don’t like having your iPhone privileges revoked, feel free to keep me in the loop, using it like the responsible, reasonable, respectful young man I know you are. 

Soldier on!

I’ve got three younger boys chomping at the bit to join the ranks of the iPod/smart phone/tablet crazed world. And chances are, Levi will be a whole lot younger than Caleb’s 16 when he enters this world of technology.  That’s okay; my goal isn’t to rid the world of these devices, though sometimes I do wonder if the Amish may have it right.

But while things are changing fast, some things, like the pleasure I get from spending an evening hanging out with my boys, will never change.  And though it feels like I’m the last man standing at the battle of the Alamo, it’s a battle worth fighting and so I will soldier on!