Most celebrations only get one day on our calendars. Why do we devote four weeks in July to Cell Phone Courtesy Month? Don’t try to Google that on your phone. Please stay with me here.
That’s the point. Somewhere along the way, our cell phones hijacked our good manners. The gadgets became everyday necessities back in the 80s. They have challenged our civility ever since, but we can’t live without them.
We can put them down. Cell Phone Courtesy Month is not about breaking our unbreakable habit. It is about taking a look in the mirror instead of squinting at the little screen. It is about making eye contact during a conversation instead of checking our list of contacts.
Don’t misunderstand. This is not an indictment of cell phones. Instead, July is an opportunity to be the individuals we wish everyone else would be when they’re glued to their phones. It is our chance to quietly set an example.
Let’s celebrate the month by turning off our phones during meetings, meals and movies. Let’s take emotional calls outside so that we don’t upset those around us. Let’s keep our eyes on the road and off incoming alerts.
Let’s do all these things for an entire month. Practice often makes us perfect when we try something new, so let’s give it a shot. Imagine the serenity of taking a walk and not answering your cell phone. Picture enjoying anything beautiful without snapping a picture of it.
Our phones are faithful friends. Their batteries might run low, but they won’t run off. They won’t mind if we put them down to work on our manners and redevelop the art of face-to-face conversation. If anything, they are probably proud to know that there is such a thing as Cell Phone Courtesy Month.