The scene, as described by writer Andrea Smith, was one of a crowded commuter train headed into New York City during morning rush hour. The players were lots of frazzled, rushed, hand-held gadget wielding business people and one beleaguered mother of a toddler, conspicuous only in her lack of technological backup.
The train began to move. The toddler began to cry. The mom began to sing softly into the ear of her son.
“The wheels on the train go round and round…” she sang, while more and more people started to glare. The parents on the train, myself included, felt for her, having been in the same predicament many times. I’m sure they wondered the same thing I did. When will she reach into that bag and pull out a game for him?
The mother never did reach into her bag for technological assistance. Nor did she fish out a toy, or food, or her car keys. She just kept right on singing to and smiling at her child. And, guess what, the child stopped crying.
“And then, after what seemed like forever, but in reality was just a few moments, the boy looked up at his mom’s face and started singing with her. And as they sang, the rest of the us smiled. It was quite an amazing moment.”
I love this story for obvious reasons. I love it for it’s simplicity, for it’s proof that you can still be a parent without modern technology. You can just say no. Granted, this woman may have had no choice. Maybe she simply forgot her cell phone. Or didn’t own one.
I was intrigued by the questions Smith poses towards the end of her story:
“It made me wonder; are we too quick to hand a tech toy or an iPhone to our children in those situations because we’re worried about disturbing others? Is it because we don’t want to struggle with a screaming toddler? Perhaps we just don’t want to sing in front of a crowded train full of strangers.”
And I have to wonder, since gadgets as pacifiers has become the norm, are we growing less and less tolerant of noisy, fidgety children and parents who won’t pacify them with technology…
Read more: Betsy Shaw, Baby Center