To Be the Only One

Rachel is learning how to create info graphs. Today she came home with a dataset that consisted of the number of electronic devices in the possession of each student in her fifth grade classroom.

I was shocked to see that out of twenty-two classmates, the average number of devices per student was 4.68.  Even more shocking was that the maximum was nine. The minimum was zero.

Rachel was the only zero.

We have talked about this around the dinner table a few times. We have explained our reasons for why we have not yet permitted her to own a phone or iPad. We have shared our logic against X-Boxes and video games. We have talked about safe use of computers and games on our iPads. Although the kids are able to earn time on ours, they are currently i-less … perhaps the last ones standing at their school.

At dinner last month Rachel shared some insightful words. “I don’t want to spend all of my time on a phone. I like to be outside better. If I was playing on my phone I wouldn’t get to do a bunch of other cool things.”

Her next comment did not surprise me. “Mommy, I’m the only one who doesn’t have a phone or anything. Sometimes I feel left out.”

Alright, that’s the hard part. When is it time to break down and let your kids be in the club? When is it time to say, she’s old enough?

I know she’s old enough now. But the irony is, I think she is growing up and learning something by being the only one.

Today while assembling the dataset, the students went around the room to ask each other for their stat.  Rachel spoke up. “I have zero.”

The shock registered on the faces of several. “You don’t have ANYTHING? Why NOT?”

Rachel replied, “My parents don’t want me to yet. And, anyways, I like to play outside better.”

It’s not an easy situation, and of course this is only a temporary state of being. But for today, she seems to be ok being different. Maybe this is an example of a momentary light affliction that opens up a teachable moment in life.

It’s a joy to watch her play.

This story is to be continued…