“You scared me when you texted me, today. I just want you to know that.”
Those were the first words my teenager said the other day as he walked in the door from school.
It seems I’d breached unspoken (and to my knowledge nonexistent) rules in the parent-child texting code of conduct manual.
That’s right. I’d sent an unsolicited text to check in with my 16-year-old during school hours.
It wasn’t a big deal. Really, it wasn’t. I just wanted to let him know I was thinking about him and see how his day was going.
Is that so wrong?
To hear him tell it, yes. Apparently, once those size 12 shoes step onto school grounds, his cell phone becomes nothing more than added weight in his pocket, a nuisance of the modern technological age, existing only for the purposes of reaching me in the most extreme circumstances.
To hear him tell it, there he was, minding his own business, studying his little heart out when unexpected text from his mother ruined everything.
Here’s what I find interesting, though. What’s good for the goose is not so fantastic for the gander, because this is the same teenager who doesn’t hesitate to send texts to me throughout the day, throwing off my concentration with earth-shattering requests like:
“Can you put lunch money in my account?”
“Can you pick up some snacks if you go to the store?”
Or one of my favorites: “Can you pick me up early since we aren’t doing anything in this class?”
But text him about how his day is going and the whole student body gasps in shock, and someone calls the local news station, who runs with the story:
School counselors available to students after mother sends thoughtful text to son.
(Thoughtful was my word.)
The whole episode was mildly amusing until I received a middle-of-the-afternoon text a few days later from my dad, who was just checking in to see how my day was going.
“That’s random,” I thought. “He never texts at this time of day. I hope nothing’s wrong.”
With that, I wrote a note to myself to make an extra copy of parent-child texting code of conduct manual. Apparently Dad doesn’t have a copy, either.