Remember to Parent

Every parent wants to do better for their kids than was done by their parents before them.  For my Wife and Me, that means sending our Son to camp at a lake each summer.  He makes the usual trek to camp for several weeks, then as the summer winds down, he goes to his Grandparents place on the beach off the Long Island Sound for two weeks.  It’s a rough life he lives, but somehow he survives…


After 6 weeks being away from home, our bright 11 year old Son texted me from Grammy’s house with a request that we send him more clothes.  I couldn’t imagine that- at Grammy’s of all places- every possible need he might have hadn’t been met.  Upon further probing I realized that it never occurred to him to tell his Grandmother he needed his clothes washed.  Wearing the same underwear for 4 days was, in his mind, the only logical solution.  Somehow the magic maid fairy (aka my Wife) hadn’t followed him to the beach this summer and he was quite off-put at the result.  As usual, he was very sweet and was trying to be self-sufficient, but clearly there was a breakdown in the chain of command here and he was left alone; stranded off somewhere in the tall weeds on a rice patty armed with nothing but good intentions and dirty spuds.


Now here’s the funny part: for a split second my mind literally went into tech mode and actually though; “Hmmm, how can I automate this process? Some smart home device I can use to know automaticaly when the kid needs a wardrobe refresh.  Ok.  Sure.  I can install the “Do” button on his phone and trigger a text to his Mother….!


Will this work? Absolutely.  Is it a gross distraction for both parent and child from actual, you know, parenting?  Absolutely!  Here’s a great idea, why don’t I teach my Son to be responsible by participating in the household laundry effort like I did when I was 5.  Neither Mother nor Magical laundry fairy are going to follow this kid to college, let’s not use technology to hinder the transition.  In this case, I’m happy to see tech lose out to Parenting.  Never fear though the school year has just begun….


Of course, that’s just how I see the world.  Your view may differ.