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Pet peeves – we all have them. Whether it is the male members of the family not putting the seat down, or the female ones leaving make-up all over the sink, everyone has pet peeves.

I can’t decide if I have more as I age, or if I have learned to be more tolerant, or what aggravates me now is different than what used to aggravate me.

But there is one thing that lately has risen to the top of my pet peeve radar. That is cell phones. We all have them; even my almost 90-year-old mother has a cell phone! I’m surprised they have not spontaneously and permanently attached themselves to our bodies.

I won’t bore you with all the advantages that cell phones provide. Good grief, I’d be writing for a week!

Unfortunately, cell phones are also the source of behaviors that are negatively affecting society. I wonder where it is all going . . .

I walk my dog daily for 20 – 30 minutes. We meet many other dogs and their humans during these outings. The number of people who are talking on their phones while walking their dogs is amazing! Really? You can’t take a 20 – 30 minute break from the phone? Dogs are naturally curious creatures and those noses work over time while outdoors. They often find “things” that are not good for them. An owner who is too busy talking on the phone is not going to notice if their dog finds and swallows something not meant to be swallowed.

Are you one of those people who texts while driving? When I first learned to drive, my mother told me to drive like everyone else on the road was crazy. That has proven to be some of the best advice I have ever had. It has saved me from more accidents than I can count. And the craziest people – by far – on the roads today are those driving and texting. I have avoided three accidents in just the past week because I was paying attention.

One guy in front of me was so focused on his phone that he drifted over into the next lane and ran the vehicle in that lane entirely off the road. Since I was behind him, I could tell that his head was down, not looking ahead. Then there was the mother with a child in a car seat next to me whose thumb was speed texting while driving. I must say she had the fastest thumb movement I have ever seen! Wonder what the child in the car seat thought?

My favorites, though, are the moms who are texting or talking while pushing a stroller. What is so important that one cannot give their child undivided attention? I used to talk to my kids all the time when we would be out for a walk. If you are on your phone, then the kids are not getting your attention.

One of the best ways to encourage learning is to talk to children. Ask questions. Point out nature’s elements. Play “I Spy.” Discuss what you are going to do next.

Parents who do not seem to be interested in learning are very likely going to have children not interested in learning. Children learn by watching and imitating. Adults who spend the majority of their waking hours interacting with one device or another should not be surprised if their child has challenges in school.

One of the best ways to help a child increase vocabulary is to talk to them. A trip to the grocery store can be a great educational opportunity. Which apple is larger? We need three bottles of water. Can you find your favorite cereal in the red box? Do you want two larger pumpkins or three smaller ones? The opportunities here are endless.

So parents please put down the cell phone and talk to your children. Not only for their safety, but for their education.