When I first traveled to Maui over 17 years ago with my young son and daughter, we did not have iPhones, iPads, iPods, or even EarPods. I struggle to recall if I even had a pager with me. We had each other’s attention, paperback books, Kodak disposable cameras, and plans to enjoy and explore Maui. I planned the trip with a few options in mind:
- How many changes of clothes to pack for the kids
- Where we would eat that offered chicken nuggets, pizza, and child-friendly breakfasts
- Which tourist excursion would be most memorable, least time consuming, and cost efficient
I vaguely remember any issues inside the airport or the car rental office. The only vivid memory related to transportation was our lost luggage. American Airlines lost our luggage and we spent the entire first day in Maui fully dressed on the beautiful Kaanapali Beach. I allowed the kids to get in the water up to their knees. They understood they had no dry clothes into which to change, nonetheless they completely enjoyed themselves. Although our luggage did not arrive until near midnight, I did not have to make special arrangements for my children to be happy or satisfied. They were in Maui on vacation for 7 days.
Fast forward to 2016 and I finally get to vacation in Maui again, but now I am an adult without children. This time I am traveling with new perspectives and plans on how to have a good vacation.
- How many changes of clothes should I pack for myself
- Which tourist excursion, if any, will I consider
- Will I run out of money
I had no idea so many selfie-centered offspring and option-offering parents would invade my observations. In the airport, young girls with outstretched-arms puckered and posed unashamedly at themselves before clicking, saving, cropping, filtering, and posting. Young boys with necks bent like upside-down “U’s” gripped iPads, iPhones, and training tablets as their thumbs manipulated the QWERTY keyboards faster than ten fingers ever would.
Conversations lacked eye contact. An occasional face-to-face interaction occurred when parents attempted to bribe their children to behave.
Option-Offerer #1: Honey, look at me. Do you want to see what daddy is doing in the line or do you want to sit by me and play quietly on your iPad?
Selfie-Centered Offspring #1: (age 4.5) I don’t wanna sit by you. You make me angry and so does my sister!!! Why is it taking Dad so long to get the car? I’m ready to go.
Option-Offerer #1: Oh my, you are spending more time angry than happy and we have not even begun our fun in Maui.
(Two aisles over)
Dreaded Teen: (wearing short shorts and a mismatched shirt ferociously scrolls her Facebook and whines) Oh my God, I’m sooooo mad right now. All of my friends are in San Francisco and I’m not!
Dreaded Teen’s younger sister looks befuddled and inquires how she could possibly be mad that she’s not in San Francisco if she’s spending her vacation in Maui.
Dreaded Teen: EVERYONE is at Pride and I’m not!!!! Ugggghhhhhh!
(On rental-car shuttle)
Option-Offerer #2: (looks at daughter) Sweetie, please sit down on the shuttle or you’ll fall.
Selfie-Centered Offspring #2: (gazes out the window) I won’t fall.
Meanwhile Option-Offerer #2 continues to tell her daughter she needs to sit down while the shuttle is moving. Deep inside her eyes, I see her hoping that her daughter falls down but doesn’t injure herself enough to ruin the trip, but enough to teach her a lesson.
Option-Offerer #2: (smiling at her daughter’s challenge) You’re going to fall, hold on to the pole, he’s about to turn.
Selfie-Centered Offspring #2: (remaining hands-free) I wish she would be quiet because she sees I’m not falling. I know what I’m doing. I have stood on buses before.
As the shuttle parks and we attempt to exit safely, Option-Offerer #2 tells Male Selfie-Centered Offspring not to push Selfie-Centered Offspring #2.
Male Selfie-Centered Offspring: (angry from having to stop playing his game and pushing his younger sister) I’m not pushing her!!
Option-Offerer #2: (pleading in her eyes) Please stop pushing her.
He pushes past them both to join his father after exiting the shuttle. Both offspring wanted to be by their father. My guess is that he sets the limits. He gets their respect.
Are these Option-Offering Parents feeding limitless egos of their Selfie-Centered Offspring? Every time a parent gives a child an option without setting boundaries and expectations, their children suffer. They don’t know which option is best, they only know that satisfying SELF is first. Would the 4.5-year old girl ever learn patience? Would the teen have been grateful in San Francisco instead of being on vacation in Maui? Would the rule-breaking girl eventually fall on a bus while standing and think back on what her mother said? Would her big brother push the wrong kid one day and get beat up? Do any of these options lead to lessons?
I said a few prayers before getting on the airplane coming home. I prayed that none of the Selfie-Centered Offspring or their parents would be awake, near me, or speaking loud enough to be heard. God answered my prayers.