Look me in the eyes when you text that…The lost art of face-to-face communication

While waiting to start a family golf outing recently, I pointed out to my brother the huge contrast in communication going on in the two golf carts ahead of us.

In one cart, two of our uncles were facing each other, gabbing away and laughing; in the other, two teen-age nephews (not brothers) were looking down at their cell phones, texting away and saying nothing.

Eighteen holes of golf and five hours later, I’m guessing that the uncles’ version of “catching up” was quite different than that of the nephews. With the average teen sending over 2,000 text messages per month, what can we do as fathers to keep our kids from drowning in the text pool?


• Teach old-school manners in a texting world. Back in the day, it was considered rude if we didn’t look at the person who was talking to us or if we interrupted them. Remind your kids that many consider it rude to fiddle with cell phones in the middle of a conversation.

• Model good old fashioned face-to-face communication. When you want to talk with your kids about something important, make a point to go to a different room to “have a talk.”

• Consider setting guidelines. In addition to putting a cap on the number of texts per month, you might want to establish situations when you don’t want your kids using their cell phones. Some parents, for example, don’t allow cell phones during dinner, social functions, or family vacations.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or