Maintain ContactWritten by Glynis Neves
Hanging on the wall of my kitchen is an old farmhouse phone. This phone used to hang on the wall of my grandparents home. Back in the day, this was high-tech stuff! When my great-grandfather had it put in, this was top of the line! Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?
I love this phone! It reminds me of another time. A time when you had to rely on the operator to connect you to the party with whom you wanted to speak. You had to ring the operator (usually someone you knew quite well), tell her where you wanted your call directed, and wait for her to connect you. My grandmother had a very special relationship with "her" operator. They swapped recipes, caught up on children and grandchildren, and did a little bit of church work, all while waiting to be connected with another party. In some ways, it was an easier time!
Do we foster that sense of connection with our children? Have we taught them how to speak... actually talk... to other people? This up and coming generation is so attached to their phones, do they know how to put them away and connect with an actual human being, face to face? If not, we are not doing them any favors.
In our house, we have instituted "technology free time." This happens every evening after dinner. Phones are put away, computers are put to sleep, and we connect as a family. We've rediscovered the joy of playing board games (Clue is a particular favorite, right now). We take our kids to visit grandparents, where they learn the fine art of communication. We teach them how to shake hands with people and look others in the eye. It's been a revelation, to say the least! At first, they would hide behind their father and I as we approached the door, afraid to "look stupid", but as we have continued to practice, they are feeling more comfortable.
Try it out! Get connected with your kids, and show them how much fun it can be to actually speak (not text) to the other person in the room! Make it a game... go out to dinner and pile all the cell phones in the middle of the table. The first one to cave and check their phone has to sacrifice dessert to the rest of the family.
Trust me, your kids will thank you for it, someday!
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