Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BUSY (02/02/17)
- TITLE: Cat's In the Cradle
By Lisa Hudson
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Growing up I remember hearing the song “Cat’s In the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. Even as I child, I was moved by idea that a father would miss own son’s significant growing years due to a hectic work schedule and general busyness. As expected, his son turned out just like him, leaving the dad to be the one left behind by his son’s busy life and ambitions.
Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” stirred similar emotions for me, to the point that brought me to tears when “One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more. Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar”. I suppose all of us still tap in to the child that will forever be with us, but for me, that child still comes to the surface more times than I would like. I have come to the point now that I can recognize those childlike emotions when they emerge, and have even learned to embrace them when trying to empathize with others; especially my grandsons.
The feelings emitted from these songs are renewed when I watch so many young parents missing simple joys and treasured memories because their full attention is aimed downward toward their cell phones. Their children run up to them with squeals of delight to share a new idea or tell a funny story, repeating “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”, because mom can’t tear her eyes away from the little screen. By the time they finally do acknowledge that little voice, the child has all but forgotten what they were trying to share with them in the first place.
I have watched little ones wander from their parents in malls, grocery stores, playgrounds, and airports, while their parents are oblivious to the possible danger their children could face. Children are left to misbehave in waiting rooms and stores as mom and dad are without a clue to the chaos around them. So many times I have told my daughter, “You’re going to miss out”, if she doesn’t put that dumb thing down once in a while.
I love my cell phone, I really do. Not only do I use it to keep in touch with friends and family, doctors, pharmacies, church members, etc. but it is my watch, my note taker, my camera, my news and traffic source, my bible. But nothing will replace those little faces looking up at you with wonder and innocence. Nothing will replace those first steps, or witnessing your child share their toys or help another child get up when they fall without your prompting. You might miss that pivotal moment when you see something that causes tears to well up in your own child’s eyes and they look your way for reassurance that it’s going to be okay. If you’re too busy to look up from your cell phone, you’re going to miss so many things, so many moments.
Our teenagers and youth are going to be the hunchback generation if we don’t get them to look up from their phones. They bring them everywhere, including the dinner table. Our kids are losing their ability to communicate. My own son’s girlfriend ‘broke up’ with him by text. I admit, it is easier to deliver bad news this way, but we lose the face to face contact. We miss looking into the eyes of another human being. We miss seeing tears emerge in the corners of their eyes, a sure cue that they need a hug. These social cues are learned only through interaction, which begins at birth. If not careful, there will be a lot of lonely senior citizens in the years to come, as their children learn from their example.
The Cat’s in the cradle, and the silver spoon.
Little Boy Blue and the man in the moon.
“Dad,will you put the phone down?”
“I don’t know when.
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
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