08/23/2013 02:28 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2013

5 Skills I'm Scared My Sons Won't Have

My sons are running full-speed into Footlocker, full of anticipation. I'm bringing up the rear, my hand pressed tightly against my purse as I mentally calculate the odds for getting out of there for less than $300. It's time for the boys' new shoes. Again.

But halfway into the shopping frenzy, I grow determined to enjoy their absolute euphoria of trying on the new Nikes. I should appreciate these moments, out shopping with my sons, giving my opinion, talking with them about the pros and cons of high-tops and color choices. But, wait. Halfway in, they're pulling out their phones, snapping pictures of their three-pair final line-up, asking their "friends" and "followers "Which ones should I get?" on Instagram.

Independent Thinking

Growing up in the '80s, I chose my own shoes. Sure, I probably went in with my heart set on the hottest styles "everyone" was wearing (remember Tretorns?). But my friends didn't weigh in with their opinions until I showed up wearing them at school the next day. Now, if my son likes the blue but five people vote for red on Instagram, what happens to his inclination? It's like independent thinking is cut off before it can even begin.


After shopping online and designing custom Nikes that appear complete in an instant, my kids grow restless in a shoe store, waiting for the salesman to return from the back with the shoes that are in stock. (Ok, I'm not that patient either, but that's a character trait I've always had, not a result of our high-tech times.)


Hundreds of their Instagram follows know they are at the mall, what they ate for lunch and who they're with. But they don't care. In fact, they never stop to think about it. #oversharing.

The Art of Conversation

"Put down that iTouch and talk to your grandmother!" I found myself saying this to my 8-year old in the car the other day. "You have to interact with us now." It's crazy to have to even say that. #sadbuttrue.

A Sense of Living in the Moment

I want to scream "Take a second to actually enjoy the shoes!" My kids are standing up but not taking a moment to feel them or even look at them, except through a lens. The moment of taking those first steps are shared, recorded on Instagram and basked in the light of how their followers are feeling about it -- not about how my sons are feeling in their shoes.

I like social networking -- really, I do. I spend what is probably way too much time on Facebook. Like the Generation X people online beside me, I post things, asking for recommendations on plumbers or who's coming in for our high school reunion. I take information in, and sometimes I share an article or photo of my sons (not too often!) But, my kids, I don't share too much. I don't feel a need to. I am an independent thinker, I value privacy, and I try very hard to live in the moment. As adults, will they? #future