That Was Awkward…

I sat in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her music lesson, come into the parking lot, and hop into the car. While I waited, one of her friends walked into the parking lot, briefly looked around, and began walking in my direction. She stared at her phone as she walked, thumbs quickly tapping on the screen. I thought she would walk right past my car and into her own family car. However, she stopped at my car, opened the passenger door, and plopped down in the seat…still texting away. I sat still, looking at her. “How do I say something without scaring her?” I thought as she continued staring at her phone with thumbs dancing on the screen.  Quietly, I simply said, “Hi” and filled in her name. Her thumbs stopped in mid-motion. She looked at me, eyes wide. “Oh, did I get in the wrong car?” I tried to offer some reassuring words, but she her whole body was suddenly in quick motion. She opened the door, jumped out of my car, and closed the door. “That’s awkward” were her final words as the door closed and she walked away. I’m not sure if she knew who I was or not. But, I got a chuckle out of the whole incident.
The whole incident reminded me of news reports about people walking while texting on their cell-phone. There is the “Fountain Lady” (view here) who walked into a fountain while focused on her cell phone and the story of Fort Lee, NJ imposing an $85 fine on people who text while walking (read it here). More importantly, this incident reminded me that we, as parents, need to teach, and “re-teach,” our children safety awareness. We may need to remind our children to put down their cell phone and pay attention to the world around them—to watch where they are walking, to look into the car before they hop in, to observe who is standing or sitting next to them, to make sure the path is clear before stepping into a street, to observe if the dog approaching them is friendly or not… or, to simply enjoy a sunset or a lightning storm. This simple awareness of our surroundings provides a measure of safety in the world. Unfortunately, the rise of cell phones, hand-held games, and ear phones raises another area in which we need to teach our children awareness and caution.  Although I agreed with this young lady’s last statement (“That’s awkward”), I also learned an important lesson. I came home and reminded my daughters to remain aware of their environment; it’s a matter of safety. Let’s all encourage our children to practice that awareness!

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