It is the goal of any parent to make life better for their children. I did not have a bad childhood but I am guilty of jumping on the bandwagon. I am considered a Baby Boomer because I was born in 1962. As a group, Boomers are considered to be the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation and among the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive.
My children, born in 1982 and 1983 are part of Generation Y, better known as Millennials. This group has grown up with technology and rely on it to perform their jobs better. They are armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, cellphones and other gadgets.
Generation Y is plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Much to the chagrin of us parents, this generation prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messaging rather than face-to-face contact and prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations.
As a Baby Boomer, I have a hard time with these Millennials that need to be continually connected to their phone. Don’t get me wrong, I have a smartphone and I stay socially connected through Facebook and emails. However, I am not on my phone 100 percent and I know the best times to “check in.”
Just the other day I was at a restaurant for lunch and I wanted to tell the young ladies to put their phones down. The three young ladies had two children with them. Through lunch I was able to determine that only one of them was the mother to both youngsters, so I have to cut some slack to the other two; but just a little.
All three of the Millennials were using their smartphones throughout their entire lunch; totally ignoring the young children. They were loud, but even worse, very messy. The mother allowed the children to throw their food on the floor and she was able to tune out the noise they were making.
Just the other day I was reading an article that listed 10 things not to do at a restaurant and loud children and messy children were both part of that top ten list. I am a firm believer that if children are given the attention they crave and need, they will behave themselves. Where is the attention? Where is the discipline when needed?
When our children were young they did not misbehave or make a mess on the floor. If something got dropped or spilled, I cleaned it up. That is not the waitress’s job. Now that our children are grown, Norm and I enjoy spending time with our grandchildren and taking them for a treat. They know our expectations of them and we talk to them, keep them entertained while we wait for our food. Our attention is on them, not social media.
Technology is a wonderful thing but there is a right time and place for it. Please be considerate of others when you take your young children to a public place. Don’t let them spoil the dining experience for others. Pay attention to them, connect with them on a personal level, not a technical one.