KingMidget's Ramblings

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I Concede


If I had to put my parents’ parenting philosophy into a few words, it would be that life is about balance and rules and limits.  My mother always made well-balanced meals — a fruit or veggie, a protein, a starchy carb.  Our lunches were the same.  But there was also a dessert offered at the end of each meal because, you know, if you stay balanced you get a reward at the end.

We weren’t allowed to watch TV during the day unless we were sick.  We couldn’t just sit in front of the boob tube, the ol’ idiot box.  There were many other things to do that were more real and more rewarding.  And they had rules for most everything.

It was about limits and how to live a responsible life.

Once I had kids, I understood and my role as dad became much the same as the example set by my parents.  Rules.  Limits.  Balance.  Responsibility.

When my older son got to middle school, we got him a cell phone.  This was back in 2007 or 2008, pre-smartphone days.  But not pre-texting.  We got him the 200 texts a month package because the point of the cell phone was to be able to communicate with us.  It was not intended as an entertainment device.

The problem was that all of his friends already had cell phones and they all had unlimited texting on their phones.  So they began to bombard him with texts.  One of those friends sent and received 15,000 – 20,000 texts a month.

After a few months of my son going healthily over the 200 text limit and having to pay for the overage — more money each month than he got in allowance — I caved and got him unlimited texting.  Because, you know, in the rest of the world there are no limits.

Did you know money grows on trees and in sunny California, that pretty much means a bumper crop of the stuff?  And that also means that you never really have to control your spending.  You just spend, spend, spend.

So, he got unlimited texting.  A couple of years later little brother got his phone and then eventually we all got smartphones.  With data.  For years, I’ve tried to keep the lid on data.

I have given up.

My older son occasionally makes deliveries for a company called Postmates.  It requires him to use his phone for directions and getting orders.  That sucks a lot of data.  My younger son moved off-campus this year into a house that has crappy wi-fi.  It hasn’t stopped him from incessantly using his phone, no matter how much I tell him that there’s this whole life out there that isn’t phone-centric.

For all of my efforts to keep a lid on the soul-sucking leech that is a smartphone, almost every month we get the text warnings that we are approaching our data limit.  Every couple of months I finally give up and add more data to the plan.  It never ends.

This weekend I finally switched to Verizon’s unlimited data plan.  Which is a soul-sucking leech of another kind.  The monthly bill for four phones with unlimited data is just north of $300.  It’s a scam.  I know it is.  But I concede.  In a world that has lost its mind, where people can’t do anything unless their phone tells them to do it, and where the cell phone companies can do whatever the hell they want, my efforts to impose limits and responsibility are pointless.

Now if only I could find that money tree.

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12 responses to “I Concede

  1. pinklightsabre April 2, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Ha, I feel you man. After living in a small village in Germany last year and coming back, I really wanted to hold out and resist…but it’s futile. It’s the world we’ve made.

  2. hirundine608 April 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    The money tree lives at the end of the rainbow …

  3. Kevin Brennan April 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Plus, now Verizon gets to sell all your information to interested parties. My wife and I have a dumb old Nokia flip phone — not to rub it in! — but I’m glad I’ve stayed away from smartphones so far. I’ll probably need one for something I want eventually that you can only access through a phone. Doh!

  4. TamrahJo April 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    …On the other hand, you could say, “Time for you to get your own plan, cuz until you decide what is a priority and what you are willing to sign up for, well, you just won’t value your life choices…” signed, the hard-but mom who isn’t in position to absorb costs and if mistakes are made, we just all buckle down to get through the month – moi included ! LOL

  5. Carrie Rubin April 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    We often come close to going over our data limit too, but I text the kids (it’s always the kids who’re pushing us over) and let them know they will pay the extra fee. Data usage mysteriously tapers off after that, at least until the next month. 😄

  6. hirundine608 April 2, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Coming back into this thread. As a parent, on the one hand I missed out on all that 25 years ago when he left home in a huff over me taking a stand on an issue. Which forced him into standing on his own two feet. On the other hand when It’s your only, it makes you feel bad. Not just the one but any child. As if you failed or did something wrong? If i were to dish out the advice? Is don’t be afraid of taking a stand. It’s hard at the time and you do miss out on some stuff; but our, … his and mine, relationship is now much stronger for it now. Sometimes there are considerations that are just not about money. Hope that helps? Cheers Jamie.

  7. turnipsforbreakfast April 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Yep, they’re addictive. As for limits and all that, I never had much luck bringing those things to the attention of my kids – so well done! Except for the data problem:)

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