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My Roaming Receptionists

You can no longer talk or text on your phone while driving in Washington State unless you use a handsfree device but if you reach for the phone, it's no longer hands free and you can be ticketed. The law went into effect on the 10th of this month and while I think it's a great law and I've always made an effort not to use my phone while I'm behind the wheel, it's been surprisingly difficult for me to strictly obey. I have obeyed it but I'm just itching to check for texts at stop lights or answer the phone when it rings. I've always followed these rules in my heart, but not in practice.

I am an adult... with a fully-developed brain. I know. Heaven help me if this is "fully" developed. I keep thinking of how hard it will be for my kids to follow these kinds of safety precautions when they start driving. My only chance for helping them take these rules seriously is to model good behavior right now so they don't question it when they're old enough to drive.

So I'm involving them now in my quest to do better. I started by telling them about the law and how important I think it is and yet how hard it is for me to obey. I want to show them that they're not the only ones who have issues with self-control. But then I explained to them that I really really want to do better and I need their help.

Now whenever we get in the car, I hand my locked phone to one of the kids, who acts as a receptionist. Laylee is able to answer the phone when it's locked but is unable to gain access to the internet or the Droid Market and its plethora of useful and sometimes questionable "adult" apps.  Personally I'm offended that "adult" is used to describe things that are sexually explicit or degrading to women. Shouldn't adults be examples of good behavior and high moral standards? I resent that label but that's another post for another day.

Laylee takes her job very seriously, staring at the phone, daring it to ring so she can answer, "Hello? Kathryn Thompson's phone. This is Laylee." She then tells the caller that I'm driving and can't answer the phone but she can relay a message.

She loves that she's helping me obey the law and be safer and I let her help me come up with a plan to be good when she's not around to protect me. Laylee has suggested that I put my phone deep in my purse where I can't reach it.

A recent handout from the Washington State Patrol said, "Talking on a cell phone -- with or without a handsfree device -- increases the chance of crashing by four times." This is a terrifying statistic and there are many more where that came from.

I'm hoping that by involving my kids in this lifestyle change, they can help me do better and I can help them feel the strong desire to join me. I'm really trying to focus on modeling good behavior in all aspects of my life right now. What ways do you modify your own behavior in order to teach your children by example?

P.S. If you're interested in modeling good behavior to help your child's body image, come over to and join me in my Summer Swimsuit Challenge.  I have a goal this summer to behave in a way that I hope will encourage Laylee to love her body regardless of its size or shape.

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