Texting is a vital communication modality. It’s been linked to emotional relief especially for introverted teens. That’s great but not during family meals.
Some daily rituals must remain sacred. Discussion at family meals is high on that list. Generational dialogue is almost an endangered pastime. One pastime we cannot afford to disappear. Families converse to bridge gaps and to connect more deeply with each other.
Why then do we suffer electronic intervention that may well crush our want to unite? Surely a text, email or Facebook post can wait. The world now demands pressing communication, but let’s draw the line between pass the salt and stacking the dishwasher. There are at least thirty minutes a day, during family meals,where we can breath, unwind and share in each other’s day.
Why has texting and other electronics intruded family mealtimes? Have we become self-absorbed or lax? Is it easier to connect outside the nuclear family? Sharing with ‘internet’ based friends means you’re simply not listening, not present, not available to engage. That’s a slippery slope, and I’m not sure we as a community can accept.
Albert Einstein said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Are we there yet? Yes, maybe! I sincerely hope not.
What, as an enlightened parent can you do differently? What steps can you take to reverse this trend? Start today, not tomorrow to do things differently. Banning texting and other electronics may well be a mistake. It may backfire and cause more resentment. You have to outshine the machine. Start by bringing interesting topics to family meals. Open a dialogue with your kids. Be interested in them! Surely you’re able to impart wisdom, debate and listen while chewing.
Maybe conversation was an afterthought between commercial breaks at home. Perhaps your parents allowed conversation to dwindle. Simply depositing an Ipad in front of a five-year-old doesn’t teach them life skills. You need a better answer, and it starts with you. Be brave, resist the urge to make life easier, and spend some time each day participating in your children’s life.