Monday, January 11, 2010

Strip Down

I was watching Oprah today and they were showing the life of a family in crisis. They started off with a look into the family in their "current" routine.
Mom wakes up and checks her phone; teenage son wakes up and immediately begins his texting; Dad wakes up and gets on the internet to check his email. Finally the 5 year old son wakes up and is parented by the tv.
The whole family is living in the home, together. Sadly, the are existing, apart. They are totally disconnected.
The Mother made the comment, "the people that live within these walls, are the people we should be treating the best;" It's true on so many levels and I appreciate so much that they came forward with their story.
Sadly, what I realized is that this family is not alone. They are becoming more and more of the majority. In this age of communication, we are even further distanced from each other.
Through this I was thinking back to my childhood and our routines. We weren't the perfect family by any means, we could become disconnected absolutely. What I believe the difference between a modern day disconnect and what I recall as a disconnect was when children become teenagers it's normal to have them push boundaries when they are finding their own identity. Normal sort of disconnect, don't you think?
So, my memories were of sitting at the dinner table every night; no tv, no calls, etc (there wasn't much more actually.... we had no computer, no cell phones). Sometimes, I remember just wanting to die at the thought of having to sit down for a half hour of pure uninterrupted conversation with my family. I knew there were going to be questions and conversation....
about the day
how was school? how did you do on your xx test? did you study? did you do your homework? why are you so angry/upset/crying/yelling/ignoring me?
inquiries about future days/weekend plans
when is that xx test? what are your plans this weekend? why are you hanging around xx? why are you so angry/upset/crying/yelling/ignoring me?
oh my gosh; the politics and news of the day
why are you angry/upset/crying/yelling/ignoring me?
lol.....ok, so you get the picture.
There always an emotion and not all of the conversations ended in some form of upset. There was plenty of laughter too. I remember when I was very young my Mom taught us manners at the table (funny thought, eh) and we would all wait to see if we could catch Dad eating before he put his napkin on his lap or saying grace.... those experiences always ended in laughter.
There were no calls after 6pm when I was young and later, it was 9pm. That rule was meant for everyone; parents and kids.... no exceptions. We tested this of course, we tested everything. But again, there were rules.... they were to keep our family structure sound.
I have realized that I need to be more aware of all of the "outside" noise that sometimes makes us forget that time is fleeting and sacred.
It's so fleeting that I remember so vividly when my son was just a baby, and then I blinked....
next thing I knew he was 5.....
I sneezed and all the sudden looked and he's now 9.....
I don't want to look back and wish I had spent more quality time.
I want him to laugh, and cry; to sing, and yell.... with me.....
So tonight, the tv's were off.... the phones were off.... and I read my son to sleep.....
it was joyous.


Diane said...

Oh, I think I needed to read this today. I really, really did. Thanks!

Coco said...

This is so true. You also see so many parents that are totally selfish with their time. No time for the kids. No connecting at all.

Studies have shown how even infants will disconnect from the world without touch and interaction from people. This is just creating more problematic children for our society to deal with.

Heatherlyn said...

Oh what a really wonderful post! I love the rule about no calls after a certain time at night. I was just thinking about this today as my kids listened to their own music in the car. I don't like that. Car time is good talking time. I think we might make a rule about that, too! Seriously though, people ARE very disconnected. The technology just makes the disconnect easy and comfortable! We work on together time in our family. It goes by so quickly. Plus, it is in the home that people learn how to connect with other people. It's the basis of society!

blueviolet said...

You're absolutely right! Everyone is involved with their electronic gadget these days. Even when we go out to eat, I see families together and the kids are just sitting there texting.

I had the same kind of dinner time that you had when you were a child. That's how it should be!

Michelle said...

What a wonderful reminder!

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