Why Wouldn’t the Whole Country Be On Board?

I have this thing about parents talking on the phone when their kids are around.

I’ll see a mom chatting away, oblivious to the child reaching for her hand, and I’ll think, She’s missing it. She doesn’t even know her child is there. And that child will be gone in the blink of an eye.

I take my phone with me now, like everyone does in this age of cell phones, but I try to make the conversation brief when my kids are nearby. We use it together – to call Daddy, or the grandparents, to announce an accomplishment.

If the kids aren’t otherwise occupied and I get a call, I cut it short so that I can pay attention to what’s going on with them. I’m not perfect, but I really try to be there – not just physically, but emotionally – for my kids.

Not everyone feels like I do.

One morning, I saw a mom chatting away in the drive-through, drop-off line at school. She had her phone on her ear, one hand on the steering wheel. Not only was her behavior illegal, but her daughter got out of the car without even a simple “goodbye” from Mama. Mama never stopped her phone conversation even to wave.

The thing that really irks me is that that daughter – that child – is going to grow up to be just like her mom. She sees mom on the phone, so that’s what she’ll do when she grows up. She’ll be chatting on the phone blindly, not realizing that her child is leaving the car – and her life – before her very eyes.

Or maybe the daughter will be one of the statistics – one of the kids who learns from her parents that texting or talking while driving is “just something grown-ups do.” Maybe the daughter will think she can handle it, just like Mama. And maybe the daughter will get away with it, and go on to live a distracted but okay life.

Or maybe the daughter will kill someone else’s child.

Maryland, where I live, is one of only ten states where hand-held cell phone usage is illegal. Until now, I had no idea that the entire country isn’t on board with the cell phone laws.

Why on earth wouldn’t the whole country be on board?

Not that the laws are doing much good. I drive all the time, and the number of people I see talking and/or texting as they’re driving down the road is unfathomable.

And now that Dylan is nearing driving age, I am much more conscious than I was, even a year ago.

The kids will do what their parents do.

Mine will have other issues, thanks to me. But that’s a story for another day.

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