There’s a poem about a nail.
Not just any nail, but a nail that came loose at the wrong time.
That wrong time was during a big battle that determined the fate of the kingdom.
So, the nail goes bad. It came out of the horse’s shoe. The horse stumbled. The rider fell. The battle line flowed through the hole.
The enemy captured the army and took control. Without an army, the king was thrown out.
All because of a single nail.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But it’s a great poem reminding us that everything is connected. Everything.
I thought about this poem while worrying about how everyone is so plugged into their phones. I can’t go to a restaurant without seeing at least one table where everyone is looking at their phones instead of each other. Sad.
It’s especially sad when that table is a young family with kids. The baby usually isn’t on a phone. But I’ve seen a “baby tablet” for sale that teaches your baby good tablet etiquette.
Kids are so impressionable. Habits they learn today will last a lifetime.
What are phones teaching them? To play video games. Chat with electronic friends. Take shocking pictures.
What are phones not teaching? Kids are not learning how to help their little brothers with their homework. Or talking with each other, in real life. Or playing outside collecting bugs, or looking at the stars and dreaming.
Our company has already seen the affects of this lifestyle choice. We try to hire young people for production and administrative work like order entry. So express interest, and we hire them.
If they show up on time, we find that most of them lack a work ethic. It’s hard enough convincing them that it’s important to come to work on time. It’s even harder to get them to work diligently. And almost impossible to stop them from playing on their phones even when they are sitting at a desk.
Lest you think that we don’t pay enough, let me say this. We are very competitive in our area at twice the minimum wage. We also have generous bonus and profit sharing plans, as well as full medical. But these things don’t seem to make a difference. And it’s not even the point of this story.
The point is that I realized the smart phones are not the true source of our problem.
No, the loss of a work ethic in youth comes from something that has been far more insidious. In fact, it’s been with us for many generations, way before smart phones.
What could it be? Stay tuned. Tomorrow.