Sunday, May 18, 2008

Countdown to the end of school year

It's the Sunday night before the last three days of 6th and 7th grade. Sixth grade is a breeze, according to my son. Seventh grade will never end, according to my daughter. How much homework can a student actually have before the last few days of school? Do the teachers really want to stay up late every night the last week of school grading mindless projects? I think not! My daughter, however, believes they do.

So goes our last Sunday night of homework angst. With an uncanny ability to procrastinate, I have found that the only way to force focus on absolute homework is to take away the cell phone.

The "cell phone" to a middle schooler is their primary, and most critical, form of communication with the outside world. They send text messages, e-mails, and leave voicemails for each other on an annoyingly frequent basis.

"Did you just get married and didn't tell me?" I ask. The frequency of the chimes and annoying ring tones can lead an old fart to believe that they are horny newly-weds who can't be alone for more than 45 seconds. If the kids set it on "vibrate" it might become a mother's helper!

When I used the telephone to talk with my best friend who lived three houses down the street, my mom would suggest we actually go outside and talk to each other. Today, with the kids' texting each other, I find myself saying, "honey, why don't you just talk on the phone, like humans?"

I really hope we don't lose our humanity in all this shorthand, techno discourse.



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