College Ready, College Done, Whadabout Life?

It’s time for Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers.  I love this weekly writing. Read more slicer posts here. I’m coming to this post later than I normally do for many reasons. One being that the classroom schedule is lifted. Now is my time to read, recharge and rethink. Some of that rethinking is here.

Checking the Twitter feed for #TCRWP is also cutting into my time. It is a bit of an obsession right now. If you can’t be there, it’s the next best thing. I can credit the fact that I wasn’t at last year’s institute for my discovery of Twitter and blogging. Sometimes disappointment can bring unexpected gifts.

But wait focus. Turn off the phone.


My slice starts at the dinner table two nights ago.

It’s my dad’s birthday, he just turned 94 and if that isn’t enough, all of our kids were home. Lots of reasons to celebrate.

When big kids  come home it is startling. They are adult sized living in spaces that used to house smaller people. The noise factor changes. When they left home, it became disturbingly quiet. But you kinda got use to it and now, they are back and the difference is well, startling. Back to dinner.

Things were lovely. Lots of good conversation and then someone asks the oldest:

What happened to your cell phone.

He looks sheepish.

I know he doesn’t have it. He threw it away. This one is very retro. Really belongs in a different era.

So he tells this story:

I was waiting for the bus. And there were these two beautiful girls focused on their phones. They were surrounded by this beautiful place, trees, blue skies. And they weren’t paying attention to anything, just their phones. Not the place or the people. And it made me sick. So I threw mine away.

Ok. Making a statement. And I feel a little pang of guilt, because I love my phone and should pay more attention. Unplug.

But, what if you need help? Or someone needs to get in touch with you.

That’s my mom.

And, what if you’re late for work. How will you let them know?

That would be the dad comment.

Son goes on to defend his choice on principle.

Others go on to loudly rebut and cite evidence proving the value of their devices, the apps, etc. We’ve clearly hit an emotional chord. I am silent.

The lovely dinner becomes not so lovely.

I pull the mom card and say,  “ENOUGH.”

It stops. Deep breath.

The discussion of job, turning over that VISA card, taking on responsibility and generally growing up is tabled, at least until my parents go home.

Move forward, one hour.

Dishwasher running. Daughter is in her room.  Sons are talking behind closed doors. Husband rolling his eyes.

Proud parent of yesterday’s magna cum laude graduate has changed his tune.

Sides are being taken.


Next day,

So Mom, I’m getting that cell phone, just no data.

I think, baby steps.

Laughing he tells me,

I’ve learned how to read. Now I have to learn how to live.

He is a reader, a writer, a thinker. A graduate with two degrees in the humanities, brilliant, great kid. Thousands of dollars invested in higher learning.  But wait. What about that other thing he has to learn now. Life.


Here’s a test of my beliefs. We strive towards making our students literate. That is my passion and very clearly a literate life is what my son has chosen. But literate career?

Writing?  Maybe teaching?  To quote my husband:

 He’d better marry someone rich.


5 thoughts on “College Ready, College Done, Whadabout Life?

  1. I would say in today’s world, without pay phones anymore, one does need a phone, at least to call work, as you stated. What a conversation of life today & what choices one needs to make. I guess the greatest thing is that he’s thought-filled, & now has to find his own way to make it work. He will, & will still be looking at the trees around him-lucky him! Thanks for sharing Julieanne.

  2. I really enjoyed the story your son told of why threw his phone away, he must have felt so free. I too am enjoying the twitter posts from the conferences as I am in Aus and wish I was there. It kind of feels like most of our family has gone away for the weekend at SOL this week doesn’t it?

  3. He will spend the rest of his days learning to live life. What an adventure is in store for him and you. I loved this small glimpse into your family dynamics. Your husband’s comment is spot on. 🙂

  4. I love the progression of this story and how you gave us a glimpse of what happened around the dinner table in such an interesting and captivating way. It’s neat that you have raised a son who is so passionate about life! 🙂

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