You know you’re in the middle of a paradigm shift when the best way to inspire the Zip Line Kid to read & write over the summer turns out to be getting him a phone

My aunt says not to worry.  “You just don’t see 9-year-old boys curling up with a good book during the summer.”

Why should I listen?  My Aunt Mary taught “grammar school” for decades; plus she taught me all the 2nd grade I needed to get into 3rd grade in about a month over the summer of 1963 (yes, dating myself — Vickie’s no where near this old).

I had spent the prior academic year in the Kindergarten row of a two room school-house in Céligny Switzerland because I couldn’t speak enough French to do 2nd grade work.  That’s right Kindergarten row.  You see, there were six rows in one room (K-5) with Madame Fiorina – and she was scary.  Grades 6, 7 & 8 were in another room with Monsieur Fiorina.  He was terrifying!

I hadn’t read, written  or spelled anything in English for a year — and I hadn’t done any subtraction, which is about all the math taught in a U.S. 2nd grade class back in 1962.

Anyhow, Aunt Mary reminded me last weekend that all I wanted to do during the summer was go out and play — just like John.  “It’s normal.  Don’t worry,” she advised confidently.

Back to phones.  We didn’t think we were getting John a phone in order to encourage him to read.  But that’s what happened.  Maybe it’s because this phone has a keyboard, which he likes because it makes it easier for him to text.  And that’s nearly all he uses it for.  Great — he’s reading!

I told John that, about 100 years ago, this guy invented a device that empowered you to have a conversation with another person in real-time.  You didn’t have to type anything.  You didn’t have to read a screen.  You could even close your eyes if you wanted.  I didn’t have to look for my glasses in order to use it.

He gives me a quizzical look for a moment and then, in disgust, blurts out “Oh, Dad,” with that pre-teen attitude you get when you ask if he’s brushed his teeth after he actually has.  Then he turns back to finish texting his cousin in CT.  I hear a bleep from his phone.  Deftly he switches to answer a text from his brother, who’s in the next room.

We’re witnessing the advent of a new era, folks!

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