There is a lot of excitement this time of year in my house. Summer has been magical and restorative. As this memorable chapter ends, so begins the Back to School Chapter with runs to Staples, expeditions to Bed, Bath and Beyond, pilgrimages to Zara, crusades to Forever 21, journeys to the Apple Store and a mission to buy and borrow all the text books for the new school year.
As teenagers prepare for the new school year, cars, rooms and closets are cleaned out: remains of half eaten pizzas are encountered; lost white t-shirts, sports bras and socks discovered under piles of last year’s school books; used wardrobes are sold to second hand stores for cash to buy new school wardrobes; room make-overs and locker designs are the subject of serious conversation; last minute haircuts, waxes, manicures and pedicures take place (teenage girls pack it in like bears preparing for the long winter’s hibernation); friends are literally re-united after of summer of on-line connection; and children of all ages are re-aqauinted with alarm clocks and teens are re-educated on the art of rising before12 noon.
As our children embark on the new school year, we impose the messages of being a good and respectful students, but I am more and more convinced that what we need to enforce with them the messages of basic safety - lessons we cannot and should not expect others to teach.
The lesson that weighs on me today is for my children, my husband and my friends and their children: DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE AND DO NOT TEXT WHILE CROSSING THE STREET. A few days ago, a few miles from my home, a mother and her two small children were killed by a young man who was driving and texting. The same day I heard a radio report on the dangers that teenagers face from motorists when crossing the streets and texting.
We all know the urge to check a message when our phone beeps. We all recognize the immediate need to dial while driving (senior brains). We all feel safe as pedestrians walking across a street when the green walk light shines. BUT the second we take our eyes off the road to text, it is dangerous, it can land you in jail and it can kill. We all should set good examples for our children by keeping our eyes on the road – not on tiny one-inch screens while driving a two-ton car at 40 miles per hour.
We protect our children by providing them with Smart Phones in case of emergency ‘an asset’, but we need to keep warning them that the Smart Phone is also ‘a liability’ especially when it causes them to take their eyes off the road even for a second.
May we all be Smart Parent in the new school year!