Friday, September 19, 2008


ipod true love
iphone motivation
imust learn self control

Even Allie, of course Allie, who is the golden retriever in our family (according to John Trent and Gary Smalley's analysis of personality types in The Treasure Tree), felt bad for Reid who was close to tears watching the 3 of us--the entire rest of his family except the dog--load apps from the app store, phone numbers in the contacts, and snap photos with our new iphones last week. (Ok, last month.)

"He's so sad," she whined as we went to bed guilty and gloating over our new state-of-the-art functional toys. Reid went to bed with the gorgeous Apple packaging in which the phone had arrived. The boy version of a Tiffany's box, I suppose. With the embossed lid and superreal, actual size phone pictured on it, I thought it was a good consolation prize.

Let me explain how we become so well-endowed with Apple products. Jim's office switched over so he got his iphone as a business expense. Allie is enamored with all things cool--being 14--so saved her money to pay the for half the cost. We figured we would cover the usual and customary cell phone cost and she could earn the cool factor. I am not as cool. What I am, is clumsy. While riding bikes home from our pool, I took a spill onto concrete at dusk and my modest, little, former phone broke in half. So, you see, in order to reduce our carbon footprint and save gas money, Jim just picked up a third one for me while he was at the Apple store. (music maestro: Three is a magic number, yes it is...)

As a second disclaimer, let me defend our apparent cruelty in denying Reid one. I definitely feel like One Mean Mother as Melody at Slurping Life describes.

Reid has a little issue called impulse control. In the recent past, he has thrown more than one ipod across the room in a fit of rage shattering them on our non-porous slate floor. He has run ipods under the faucet to clean them. He has peeled them apart like deconstructivist artwork. Therefore, we are calmly and intentionally using this as a (hopefully) highly motivating life lesson that you must 1) take care of property and 2) earn the responsibility of having nice and nicer things. Isn't an iphone nicer than an ipod?

So, you can pray for Reid. It is hard work for him to control his impulses. The spirit is willing but the flesh (and brain chemistry) is weak. When Carla moved back to Canada she left her AT&T phone with us, thoughtfully suggesting that we could let Reid have it. "If you take care of Carla's phone then we'll talk..." I reasoned. "If you take care of the library CD's (and don't peel off the annoying stickers that cover the liner notes) then we can talk..." On and on it goes.

Boy, do we ride a fine line between raising the bar and asking too much. As I was explaining it to him, he was chewing the antenna off of Carla's phone. I wonder how much of the compulsive, impulsive, destructive behavior can he control? And how much will we have to accept as a reality to be managed, damage controlled, and run interference around? These are the rhetorical questions which confound our parenting beyond the norm.

This past summer before our arrival at a rental house in the Outer Banks, I inquired of the rental agent, "Could you remove all the videos and DVD's before we arrive?" No, was the short answer. I pressed a bit by explaining our family dynamic. She offered, "Why don't you just put them in a closet when you get there?" I thought, "WHY DON'T I JUST PUT THEM IN A CLOSET???!!! Are you kidding me?!!???!?! If it were that easy, lady, why would I be calling you?!? Do you honestly think I'm that stupid?!??! and he's that easily duped?!?!?!? This is a kid who MUST have videos. For cryin' outloud, he can smell electronics in the house next door. He sniffs 'em out of any garage, supermarket, lock box, or car trunk. This is not a run of the mill toddler; this is a 14 year old, intelligent, manipulative, adolescent, young man with an obsession!" "Thanks anyway," I said. We'll manage.

A fool gives full vent to his anger
, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:10-12

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10-12

To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. Matthew 25:14-16

photo credit:, forums/attachment.php?att..


  1. Oh how I completely understand this situation and empathize with you.

    And thank you for the linky love.

  2. When visiting, Reid loved my new GPS device. He treated it with upmost respect. He found features I didn't know existed. Oh yeah, he also asked for my permission to use it...progress....

  3. those cell phone antennae don't really make a difference anyway...I am cheering for Reid and his future iPhone - YOU CAN DO IT REID!!!!