Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let's talk! .... what?


Look at you, so proud of yourself juggling your personal and professional life on your gadgets at the same time; twittering, posting your status on Facebook, emailing a friend, texting a co-worker about the conference tomorrow, then leaving a message for a client of yours, while looking up on your blackberry or iPhone the weather in three days before you schedule an outdoors meeting. All that, while you're sitting with your spouse in a restaurant silently getting ready for your meal, and the best part is … he or she doesn't mind because they're doing the same thing.

The important questions is, while you're feeling so good about your "missions accomplished" and "done, done and done" and the time efficiency you are skilled with, can you still communicate in person and have a full length conversation with a neighbor or a stranger or even a cousin, without feeling that you could be doing something more important on one of the gadget you bought and called a "Life saver"? Let me answer that for you. Yes of course you can silly, and you know why? because once upon a time you've seen it happening and learned how to do it.

Now let's direct the question to your kids who sit in the back of your SUV watching cartoons while their mom is dropping them or picking them up from school as she plans and arranges other activities for them on her bluetooth to keep them busy so she doesn't have to spend more time with them to keep them entertained, because, you know, she has a life too. Your kids mastered playing electronic games on their breaks, they prefer watching TV in their own bedrooms, race cars on their brand new PS "Whatever version is out there now", not necessarily with friends, but with the play station itself. You wonder while taking the elevator, making small talk with a neighbor, why they're so shy and don't want to make eye contact or even say hello to the same person you're talking with, who happens to either compliment them or tell them that their kids go to the same school. You push them to change their cranky attitude when you tell them that there'll be another family with their kids joining you for dinner at the restaurant you're going to. And are you seriously shocked when you notice that they say hi with unease and sit next to you with their cellphones on, preferring to play games or text their friends over making real connections with real human beings their age who are sitting across the table from them?

Your son is genius, your daughter gets straight "A"s at school. They're gifted in solving math problems and have great memory that helps them learn French and play the Piano. But when it comes to social circles, they're so shy and prefer to withdraw to their bedrooms. And you wonder why.

The simplest kind of entertainment is an ordeal for the next generation. Being spontaneous and learning how to share a laugh over a get together kind of thing is considered a Chord. Getting to know someone new is not something they would want to do, unless of course it's over the internet. Your kids will be okay, don't worry. It's just the gap between generations that is getting bigger and bigger, and one day they're not going to call you "old fashioned" like you used to call your grandparents, they're going to call you "ancient fashioned" because even though you yourself communicate with them in texts nowadays, they see you from time to time taking walks with friends, arranging movie nights with relatives, talking in person with people, nodding or saying hi to a neighbor instead of being on your iPod listening to therapeutical music dealing with the lack of real life they're going through.

Our kids will never miss the things they'll never know