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textingattable2So, the other night, The Wife and I and another couple were supping at a nearby bistro when a nice looking couple in their early 30s, and their three or four-year-old son, were seated at the table right next to us. The father dutifully set the kid up in a highchair. What an attractive family image, these young parents thoughtfully including the child in their evening, and discussion. Very cool. Wish my parents had done that with me when I was that age instead of leaving me behind with the babysitter.

The eatery in which we were dining is somewhat pricy. Any couple that could have afforded to frequent the establishment could also have afforded to hire a babysitter and leave the kid at home. Hey, the cost of the child’s hardly touched meal was as much or more than what the babysitter would have cost. And if a babysitter was good enough for me (I mean, look at how I turned out), it would have been fine for this millennial offspring as well. But kudos to these parents for thoughtfully “including” their child in an evening of great food and conversation, and parent-child bonding.

But seconds after being seated at the table, the father shattered that wonderful family image in my mind. He opened his bag, pulled out an electronic tablet, selected an animated movie to stream on the tablet, and handed it to the kid. For the next thirty minutes until we left (we weren’t slowed down by any electronic gadgets), the parents never said a single word to their son, and he never said a word to them. His head was buried somewhere between his tablet and his food. The father did pause long enough to silently cut up the kid’s food, which he pretty much ignored in favor of the animated movie.

These parents reeked of being PC. The problem is that rather than being politically correct, to them PC apparently means using a personal computer to make it possible to share a meal with their son. Imagine when they have three kids, if that would be PC. And imagine how this youngster will interact with his kids, and the rest of society, when he “grows” up.

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