My mom died last week. I received tons of condolences from friends and family members. There was just one problem …
Almost all of them were sent electronically.
And not one of them gave me the comfort of the spoken word or the human touch. I sat all alone reading things that people said. Don’t get me wrong … every single one of those people meant well. They all love and care about me and reached out to let me know they were thinking about me and feeling sympathy for me in my time of loss.
What struck me so strongly is how very different the printed word is from human contact. I wanted to hear soothing words. I wanted to share my tears with others who I knew were also crying. I felt so alone with a stream full of texts on my phone and a mailbox full of Facebook messages. In my greatest time of need, one of my biggest fears had been realized …
In this day and age of electronics and instant social connection, we are losing the human connection.
Written words don’t have soothing, comforting tones. Text messages don’t offer opportunity to hear the love and concern in the voice nor does “give yourself a hug for me” allow me to feel the love of being embraced and the emotional relief of being held in someone’s arms.
It’s so easy to be personal nowadays … in a very impersonal way.
The people who did call– and there were a few — actually held my heart in their hands as they let me know that they were there for me. We cried together, laughed together and remembered my mom together. We interacted — in real time and in real voice.
And, of course, the people that came to me were a Godsend.
Nothing takes the place of human contact. And, my fear is that our kids are moving so far away from it that they won’t even know what they are missing.
“How are you?” in a text message is simply not the same as asking very lovingly and sympathetically in person or over the phone. And the long pauses while we both say nothing but know the other one is still on the other end of the phone can’t be duplicated by texts such as ttyl or brb.
So, please teach your kids that there is a time and place to text and a time and place to reach out in person or with their voice. Skype, video cams and Facetime are great updated ways to allow our young people to make human contact via the latest technology.
Be their model — call people, Skype and Facetime with them … show your kids the importance of giving and receiving human contact.
Whether it’s laughing or crying … no matter what the situation … technology simply cannot offer the dimension of pleasure or of comfort that human contact affords us.