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ATA Chanhassen Family Martial Arts

An open letter to parents on their phones during their kids sports and activities:

Posted: July 30, 2018

An open letter to parents on their phones during their kids sports and activities:

I know you just want a break from the seemingly long day you have had from work, being the “activity bus”, or even both. You’re right, if anyone deserves it, you do! “Just one quick email,” we say to our kids and spouses.

As a parent and small business owner myself, I totally get it, and I’ve even been guilty of it. The thing is, smart phones used to not even bother me, until I became a parent myself. That changed everything.

I know, I know, you pay your kid’s tuition every month and have a million other things going on, “so, what do you care?” You ought to be able to do anything you want, right? Yes, but [parents] if you saw what I just saw, it would break your heart too.

I just saw your child demonstrating discipline and honoring her parents by showing hard work and dedication, but then when she turned and looked back at you for your approval, you were busy, still “at work” sending emails, tweeting, liking, sharing, and so on. So, they quietly turned back around with their eyes now directed towards the floor and keep going on.

It kills me to even bring it up, but I must. The one thing our children crave more than structure, more than popularity and lots of activities and stuff, more that getting their own attention, is YOURS.

Here’s my proposal. When you bring your child to class, just “unplug”, be present for your child, that email can wait. Your son or daughter is way more important. But as I’ve learned from my own children as well as teaching yours, they’re watching our every move.

Instead of using your thumbs to tweet about your new pedicure, you hold up two thumbs when your child shows how to answer-up with a respectful attitude.

How about instead of sharing that cat video, you share a compliment to that parent next to you, whose kid is obviously struggling with self-control and mention to them, “they are really showing a difference in their focus”.

How about instead of liking the post from new smoothie shop in town or the new LuLu Lemon fall lineup, you tell the chief instructor how much you liked his lesson of the day on discipline, which if you’re paying attention, we’ve been talking about for weeks now.

I know I strike a nerve with a lot of people on this subject, but next time you look in the mirror, hold your phone in front of your face and ask yourself, “is this really how I want my kids to see me?”

Hey, thanks for your support. I know it will make a difference in their attitude on the training floor or field.


Ken Hoops

P.S. to show my sincerity and commitment to this, when I notice parents being present for their kids, I have a stack of coffee shop gift cards ready to hand out to show my appreciation of you showing up best for your family.