Cell Phone Contracts. Do This for Your Child.


The Evil Spawn doesn’t have a phone.               Cell Phone Contracts for Your Child.

She has two parents who work, eat, and sleep technology but she doesn’t have a phone.

Why?

One, she doesn’t have a job.  So how would she pay for it?

Two, she is twelve going on thirteen going on forty, but up to this point her parents (mainly mom… and mom is always right) don’t think she is emotionally ready for a phone.

Sure, she would know the technology portion forwards and backwards, but we weren’t sure if she was ready with the emotional responsibility that comes with putting a computer in her pocket.

There are mean people everywhere, but owning a phone just gives them more access to our kid.

It’s a big world out there and we weren’t sure if she was ready to carry it around in her back pocket.

Lastly, our daughter goes from home to school.  School to home.  There are phones available everywhere she is located.

I’m not one of the parents who believe my child will always be safe and never in danger just because she has a phone.

Do phones help with safety?  Maybe. 

But mostly they are status symbols that occassionaly make the child’s and parent’s lives a little less hectic.

In 2014, cell phones (and all technology) is wonderful.  I wouldn’t want to be without it.

But I also don’t want my daughter growing up in a world in which that’s all she knows.

One day she will have a phone.  Probably a very nice phone.

And we will pay for it.  She can pay us back once that job I spend every day dreaming about comes her way.

And when she gets this phone, it will come with rules.

My money.  My rules.

I will start with these 18 from Janell Burley Hofmann.  She’s a genius.  And a good mom.

An open letter to her son Gregory on her blog:

"Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good and responsible 13 year old  boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1.  It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.  If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad".  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 pm.  It will be shut off for the night and not turned on again at 7:30 am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes in thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, baby sit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without Googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You and I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.  It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing.  Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

xoxoxoxo
Mom"

 


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Raising a Teenager Who Plays Sports Has Taught Me This.


I’m a parent.Title IX.

I have a daughter who plays sports.

This has taught me many things.

Young ladies who play sports in 2014 are experiencing things that just weren’t there 10, 20, 50 years ago.

My kid and millions of others are so lucky to have these opportunities.

While Title IX isn’t perfect, I’m glad my daughter  was born after it was put in place instead of before.

Crazed parents can now obsess over their daughter’s future college athletic career instead of just being obessed with their son’s alleged college athletic career.

I call this progress.

Also, it’s interesting to watch people coach their own children.  In most cases this shouldn’t be allowed.

Of all the things our government sticks their nose into, you would think addressing parents living out their dreams through their children would be on top of the list.

Coaching your own children should be outlawed.  And immediately.

The amount of money spent on youth sports could probably also be better spent.

Like on curing diseases.  Uprgrading bridges,  Or maybe on math tutors.  Possibly getting third world countries internet.

But who am I to judge.

Even with all of these issues, I think the greatest thing I’ve learned about kids playing sports is without a doubt…

… It’s hard watching your child fail.

Success is SO much fun, but watching them fail is heartbreaking.

Necessary.

A fact of life.

The best thing a parent can do for their child.

But harder than you can ever imagine if you haven’t experienced it.

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In Education, What’s Really Important.


As a school administrator, one of the best parts of my job is seeing students mature into young adults.  Keep in mind it’s only one part.  Getting a paycheck is also quite pleasant.Really?

I see first graders grow up and become Prom King or Queen.  I blink my eyes and the fourth graders who play soccer or basketball during recess are now playing on high school teams.  Little kids who sing their hearts out in music class suddenly become the lead performers in the high school musical.

Time goes by so quickly (a sure sign of old age).  The experiences we have with our kids when they are young are valuable.  It is the basis of how successful they will become as adults.

This is why parents are always concerned about their child’s education.  They want everything to go just right (and in my case to make sure The Evil Spawn is self-efficient enough to live in her home after she graduates).

Parents want the best for their son or daughter and that’s how it should be.

They worry about getting them in the right school.  They worry about them having an advanced curriculum.  They are concerned about getting them placed with the proper teacher.

I think all of these concerns are valid, but in my opinion they are not the biggest issue in regards to a student having a positive school experience.

The number one thing a student needs to be successful is placement in the right class with the right mix of students.

In the correct situation with the right peer group, a student can make wonderful progress.

Academics can improve.  Behavior will be appropriate.  Attitude won’t be a problem (until they become teenagers… then it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves).

Without the right peers, all of this can go the wrong direction.

A good class can bring everyone along for the ride.  Every student will maximize their potential.  A bad class can drag everyone down to the bottom.

This doesn’t mean they all have to be “A” students.  It’s more about their personalities meshing.

Student placement in the right class far outweighs the right teacher or certain school building.

I don’t discourage parents from worrying about their child’s school, teacher, or curriculum.

They just shouldn’t forget to worry about the peer group that will surround their son or daughter for the next 13 years (if all goes well, of course).

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Time Flies.


This is my first blog since May.Time Flies.

Where have I been?

Everywhere.

Michigan.  Indiana.  Ohio.  Home.  School.

Asleep.  Jogging.  Bike riding.

Softball games. 

Twitter.

Mostly, Twitter.

Way back in April, some crazed anti-education blog person (probably Eastern European… because they are always the villain) infected this blog with a dreaded virus.

By the time I got everything fixed, I wasn’t in the mood to blog (notice I didn’t say write… since nothing on these pages qualifies as "writing").

Blogging is funny.

If you do it all the time, you want to do it all the time.

If you don’t, you don’t.

Sure, I could have replaced all the hours I used to blog and done something productive like charity work, but instead I wasted them on Twitter. 

It seemed so quick and easy.

Maybe it’s my ADHD.  Or maybe I don’t have ADHD.  I can’t remember, and I’m out of medication.

Plus, I think I just saw a squirrel run by the window.

Anyway, a lot has changed since I last posted.

The Evil Spawn is now a full-fledged teenager.  Buddy the Dog is staring down middle age.

Actually, he’s asleep, but if he ever awakens, I’m sure he will be staring down middle age.

Another school year and summer break has come and gone.

I’m older and everything takes longer.  And I can barely see, but that’s another blog for another time in a size 24 font.

Maybe I will get ambitious this fall and blog about my adventures.  Or maybe I won’t.

Time will tell.

On my Blog 2.0, I am no longer linking anything. Takes too long.  And I have a squirrel to chase and an old dog to pet.

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Sundays Are No Longer a Day of Rest.


When I was a kid, Sundays could be boring.Sunday Should Be Fun Day.

You slept a littler later.

You went to Sunday school and church (tried your best not to sleep there).

You ate lunch.

Maybe watched a game on TV (of course, this was before there were a thousand games on television at all hours of the day and night…. so you had a choice of one).

Took a nap.

Sunday afternoon stretched in to Sunday evening and they both seemed to last forever.

Now, Sundays fly by.  Before I know what’s happened it’s Monday and the start of another work week.

Saturdays are no better.  They are spent getting everything done in advance of Sunday so when it arrives I can be completely busy on the last day of the weekend.

Or is it the first day of the week?  I don’t even know because they all run together.

The world has gotten busy.

Some might say too busy.

Being bored used to be a terrible feeling.

Now it might be kind of nice.

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QR Code Birthday Cake.


The Evil Spawn just turned 12.Happy Birthday Ashton.

She’s a nerd and I use this term with respect.

She’s a great nerd (she prefers geek).

For her birthday, she wanted a QR code cake and a QR coded scavenger hunt that led her and her friends all over town.

They went to all of her old haunts.  From her first babysitter to the dentist’s office where she lost her first tooth. 

The clues led them to the grocery store where they had to figure out how much money we have spent on Buddy the Dog’s food in the last four years.

They even visited their 2nd grade teacher where they had to recall the order of the planets from their very first big school project and recite them to her in order (funny what they forget).

They had a blast even though they have evidently forgotten everything they learned in 2nd grade.

It’s good to have a school technology coordinator as a mom.

Go ahead, scan the cake with your reader.  It works.

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Where Have I Been?


I can tell you this, I haven’t been blogging.Buddy the Dog.

Why?

I was hacked.  Not mad, hacked.

As in my blog was hacked (I think you probably get it by now).

Fixing something like this took me longer than I imagined.

So, since January 21, I haven’t written a thing.  Other than about a bazillion Twitter tweets.

And I launched my own website at www.michaelsmithsupt.com.

And lucky for me, school seems to keep me busy.

The break from blogging was good.  I must admit, not having to come up with the next topic has been kind of nice.

Although, I have felt a little guitly.  I never wanted to become the person who just stops blogging without an explanation.

So during my time off I’ve tried to stay productive.  I’ve updated the cartoon on the blog (actually, I have people for this). 

The Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog continue to grow up right before my eyes.

Weirdly, my wife and I never age.  Not sure how that works, but I know if you pay your cartoon guy enough everything seems to fall into place.

So I’m back.  Hopefully, with interesting stories about my school year, family, and soon the highlights of my trip to Washington D.C. (Thank you Discovery Education).

I do appreciate all of the people who continued to check in and read the blog even without anything new.

I question your taste in blogs, but I do thank you.

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The $425 Million Powerball is All Mine.


Don’t waste your money on buying a ticket.Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

I’m winning.

Actually, the woman who I’m relegated to by marriage is winning.  All of "our" money goes in "her" account.

But don’t feel badly for me.  I have total access to "our" money.

Just as long as I don’t spend any of it.  In her defense, she doesn’t spend any of it either.

This explains the bumper sticker on her car "She Who Dies With the Most Wins!".

We decided to buy a Powerball ticket last night.  By we, I mean she said "Stop here, so "we" can buy a Powerball ticket."  I think it’s cute she includes me.

After we purchased the winning ticket (we didn’t win), the woman I’m related to by marriage and chauffeur around so she can gamble "our" money away ($20 for losing tickets) asked what "we" would do with the money when we won (again… for clarification… we are giant losers… so far).

She wants 2 vacation houses.  One on a beach.  One in the woods.

I think a lake house would be the answer, but it’s not "my" money now is it (again, we lost).

The Evil Spawn wants iEverything.  And $1,000,000 in Fun Money.

Seems excessive, but then again I’ve never had $425 million (and never will… even if "we" win) so who am I to judge.

If she is going to be spoiled, might as well go big.

Me, I want nothing.  But a nap.

My concern is if (when) "we" win, how much am I going to have to spend on security?

I have zero interest in getting kidnapped by members of the Mexican Drug Cartel.  I’m not sure why I’m afraid of them, but it just seems like the logical thing to be frightened by.

Actually, "we" decided after the vacation homes and iJunk to take the rest of the money and spend the rest of our lives (length will depend on Cartel) giving it away.

Our foundation will be called "Buddy’s Gift" after Buddy the Dog – the Patriarch of Our Family.

So don’t bother buying a Powerball ticket this week because "we" are winning.

And "we" have big plans to give away the money.

Actually, go ahead and buy a ticket.

It will just make "our" winning amount that much larger.

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Kids These Days Are Weird. I Mean Wired.


I’ve noticed something about The Evil Spawn lately.Rockin It!

She is growing up (sad, I know).

With this comes the inevitable.  She will spend more time with her peers and less time with her parents (this part isn’t completely sad… but we try not to tell her as to not hurt her feelings).

She’s at the age where she wants to be around her friends all the time.  Sleepovers, parties, movies,  etc.

She even likes to arrive at her games early so she can spend more time with her teammates.

But, I’ve noticed something.

The girls she plays with like to be in the same general area, but they don’t spend much time talking to each other.

Everyone has an iPod.  Or iPad.  Or iSomething.

While they are in the same general area, they aren’t really together.

They all have their own apps.  Or music.  Or TV show to watch.

This is fine by me because they are quiet.  Which is a huge bonus if you have ever lived with an 11 year old girl.

But what will they be like in the future?

Will they continue to be around people but not directly communicate?

Will they go off to college and never speak to their roommates.

Instead of meeting new people as they get older, will they continue to text or contact their friends from home while ignoring people who are 3 feet away from them?

How will they act as adults?  Will they know their neighbors?  Will they interact with other parents?

Even more confusing to me, how will they be when they are old?

Are we raising a group of children who will become the first generation of nursing home residents who sit together but never speak to one other?

It’s possible they may be way too busy downloading apps to talk to their grandchildren.

Of course, by then, there may not be apps.

Or grandchildren.

Because they really don’t interact.

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Apple Has What You Need. Even Before You Know It.


Apple Has It Figured Out.The Evil Spawn gets my technology hand me downs.

This is good for both of us.  She gets something new and I get something brand-new.

She is generally very appreciative but she would prefer the newest and latest Apple products.

She has my old iPad.  She has a very early version of the iPod (squirrels run it).

Evidently, these are no longer cutting it.

She wants to upgrade. 

Why?

Because she says she’s the proud owner of iCrap.

iCrap?

Yes, she says old is iCrap.

She is the perfect age to be Apple’s perfect customer.

She’s grown up on Apple.  She doesn’t remember Dell, Commodore, or Mattel (classics my friends… classics).

She’s a loyal customer.

Very loyal.  She drinks the Apple Kool-Aide.

She doesn’t question them.  If they make it, she needs it.

They have the perfect business model.  Apple doesn’t make products to fill demand.

They create products to fill needs we didn’t even know we had.

Who knew we couldn’t live a productive civilized life without iPads, iPods, and Mini iThings?

They did.  And now she does.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.