When you were a kid, how did you know it was time to come to dinner? In my family, it depended on whether we were inside or outside when the dinner hour arrived. If we were outside somewhere in the yard or neighborhood, our parents would ring a bell. Most families in our neighborhood had a bell, each one with a distinctive sound. As soon we heard ours, we would hoof it home. If we were in the house, it was my dad who usually bellowed the command to come to dinner loud enough to penetrate a closed bedroom door behind which I was listening to some high volume music. A recent survey from Cricket Wireless found that nearly six in ten parents say they often text their kids to come down for dinner instead of actually talking to them. Of course, doing this is perfectly fine and quite effective. But we must be sure that when it comes to the kind of face-to-face conversations that are necessary for effective parenting , that we don’t opt to text rather than converse.