Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A year later, I finally turned off phone notifications from my now-graduated son's track coach

One of the advantages of being a parent in the 2020s vs. the 1980s, I imagine, is the ease of communication with your child's teachers and coaches.

When I was growing up, the authority figures in my life would usually depend on me to ferry important information about school, sports and other extracurricular activities to my mom and dad. It was almost always printed on mimeographed pieces of paper.

I was invariably the weak link in this system.

The teacher/coach would put much thought into their communications, taking the time to type it all out and making hard copies. More often than not, I would then proceed to lose the piece of paper they gave me, or else I would stick it in my backpack and forget about it.

Either way, Ma and Pa often didn't get the memo when school fees were due or important events were coming up.

Nowadays, however, schools use elaborate digital systems of communication, including phone apps through which the teachers and coaches of the 21st century can instantly send important bits of news directly to parents.

We've taken the 15-year-old boy out the equation, which (believe me) is a good thing.

Even though our youngest child has graduated, I continue to receive phone notifications related to the Wickliffe Swing Band because these are often still very relevant to me. I'm entering my 11th year as the band's announcer, so changes to performance times and other such details remain useful.

But as recently as a month ago, I was also still receiving texts from Jack's track coaches. These really aren't relevant to me at all, beyond the fact that I remain a fan of Wickliffe track and field.

All spring long I read news of practice times, bus pick-ups and other minutiae that had no connection to me or my family anymore. Yet I resisted turning them off and deleting the associated app from my phone.


The answer is perhaps obvious. Terminating those notifications and sending the app to the digital trash can is a symbolically final act. It severs the last connection we have to the high school track program after years of our family's involvement.

Continuing to receive those texts and knowing the details of practices, meets, fundraisers, etc. somewhat cushioned the blow of separation. Even if they had nothing to do with us, they were reminders of the fun times we had when our kids ran track.

But all good things really do have to come to an end. Jack graduated 13 months ago. It's time to move on.

And that's what I'm doing. I may still be processing the whole thing for a while longer, but I'm moving on.

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