To many people today, strange would be some lessons my uncle taught me – such as “don’t talk with your mouth full”. The reason he taught me this was that he expected me to talk but without spraying food all over him. Can you imagine talking at the dinner table today? Another lesson was “look at me when you’re talking to me”, something you don’t see very much of today. And the last of many lessons he taught me was “be proud to be a man and stand up straight when you’re walking”. Now why am I talking about lessons my uncle taught me so many decades ago? Well I’m now in a position of passing on lessons to my grandchildren and it’s a little difficult.
My grandchildren seldom talk at the table because they are busy texting someone on their mobile phones or playing games on their tablets that teach them it’s ok to kill. They also have a fantastic ability to greet me without missing a beat in their rhythm of texting or gaming. They are so immersed that they never notice things like my shirt that was multi-colored until I was saying good night to them when putting them to bed. If I were a young person considering my future today, I would want to be a physiotherapist to help people with their back problems from walking with shoulders hunched over the mobile phone while walking down the street.
For many of us who are called “romantics”, remember the days when your date said to you “look into my eyes and …”. Today’s version of that must be “go on Facebook and you’ll see a pic of my eyes” because I see so many people sitting in pairs yet texting someone, even each other. Yes you are right, I am just bitching, the world is a different place now. But I do miss those evening conversations at the table where the events of the day were discussed. I do miss that feeling of connection when I’m meeting someone because I was taught and I thought eye contact meant showing interest in someone or something. Oh yes! I must say thanks to the creators of the different world for the hours of laughter I get watching people walk down the street bumping into objects they could not see because they were texting.
So, have we lost it? That ability we had to connect with the person we were with, that wonderful feeling of closeness because we were able to really share an experience. My last relationship fell apart and one of the reasons was the mobile phone. At any morning hour I would wake up and she would be texting someone or checking Facebook on her mobile. I am amazed how two people can go out together to enjoy each other’s company and never actually speak to each other because one or both of them are busy texting or playing games.
Is there a solution? Yes. Play a new game called “talk to me”. At this stage of development in the “different world” only aged people understand and know the rules, but I’ll tell you. You gain points from recognizing what is being said by watching the lip movement of the person talking, more points are gained by seeing the changing expression on the face of the person you’re talking to. Major points can be gained by making appropriate comments and responses to the conversation.
Someone will feel connected to you because you will be connected to them. Oh yes! During this game, no interruptions from mobile devices are allowed.
As for the title of this article, well I could have lost my life just recently as I was nearly run down by a person who was texting while driving in an underground parking lot. The person never even stopped until it hit the barrier to get out.
Are we relying on the electronic media to do something that we have been doing face to face for millions of years? If we are, we are headed for failure. Try having a mobile or tablet free day, you will be amazed by the results. My business partner and I spend most of our time helping people regain their lives and connections, this is usually the starting point. Regain yours before you lose it.
I personally think that nothing can replace the magic of the physical and real presence of another human-being.