As I grabbed a cup of coffee the other day at our coffee house here in town, I glanced over at the couple sitting at a little table next to the counter. They sat opposite of each other, eye to eye, engaged in conversation. The guy leaned in to listen. She smiled and took a long sip of coffee... That made me think about how important it is for couples, families, and friends to talk—really talk and connect. I thought back to our homeschooling days, and how I tried (not always successfully) to teach the twins that talking, writing, and expressing your thoughts and feelings (face to face) is such an important part of being human, and how it makes a big impact on relationships...
I thought about the irony of all our time "connecting" (as a society) and how we're actually more disconnected than ever! We're together, but alone in our own little worlds—texting, facebooking, and e-mailing our way to non-verbal oblivion. Although the internet, iphones, and email may have their rightful places, and can definitely be used for good—in many ways they alienate us from the people that might happen to be right in front of our faces at the time.
As I slumped over the keyboard yesterday, I looked past that bright screen into the black cavernous computer space, and thought of the value of those little yellow post-it notes next to the coffee pot with a hand written message, and the beauty of love letters between spouses—the kind that you actually hold in your hand. I reflected on the benefits of daily conversations around the kitchen table. I thought about how important it is for our kids to learn (from parents) how to hold effective conversations, and to write decently.
I reflected on the beauty of talk—the human connection of hearing the tones of someone's voice, and seeing their gestures—how nothing can replace that.
And the love letter? What else (beside fine chocolate, the violin, and a candlelit dinner for two) evokes such elegant and romantic thoughts? The love phone text simply won't do.
I thought of the cute couple in the cafe', chatting and sipping their coffee, and how people have this need to truly connect. I see the value of technology, but want to keep my own screen time under major control. I'm so encouraged to see so many people, so many homeschoolers making a concerted effort for deep and real interaction in the home and in the world...
Today, I encourage all of us to look at the positive and negative impact that technology is exerting over our lives—and how to make any necessary adjustments to keep it positive, and to give ourselves ample time for true and connected expression and talk.
So, I hope that good dialogue will flourish in your household, and that your relationships will thrive. Long live dialogue and the love letter!
God bless you!