SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


An Observation
By Rod Landis


May 05, 2011
Thursday AM

You know those provocative moments when you see or hear something that suddenly makes crystal-clear some previously elusive truth? I had one Tuesday morning.

Leaving the Post Office, I passed a woman who had her child on a leash. She was chatting on a cell phone while he toddled along off to the side. The boy was very young, perhaps 2 or 3 at the most, and as they exited the inner doorway the child, not looking where he was going, hurrying to keep up with the woman, bumped his head on the door frame.

That hurt, didn't it? the woman said, barely breaking stride and continuing the phone conversation as the child I hope wasn t her son rubbed his head and whimpered.

There are so many things wrong with this picture, I barely know where to begin, but I suppose one would be the cancerous effect of widespread & sustained cell phone use by parents who ought to be spending time with, listening to, and taking care of their young children. I've seen it in Ketchikan and elsewhere: parents or guardians (or whomever the children are with) out walking, shopping, playing with their children but not really with their children -- because they're dividing their attention between a small life in their care and a gadget. The young brain in development will quickly learn about adult priorities. As the number of smarter phones (and stupider parents) increases, the temptation to neglect important face time with one's child will only become stronger.

My epiphany? The real problem with America today, as we banter it about, is not radical Muslim terrorist plots, crumbling infrastructure, irresponsible economic policy, or what we're doing to the environment. It's the way we treat our children... and of course this goes far beyond a brief public "snapshot" such as I witnessed today. Those of us fortunate enough to have children also have the massive responsibility of loving and caring for them in ways the child can always be sure of. We ignore them at our own peril.

Rod Landis
Ketchikan, AK

About: "A Ketchikan resident, off and on (mostly on) for 40 years, and Professor of English at UAS-Ketchikan"

Received May 03, 2011 - Published May 05, 2011



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