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Today's Rant... Beware - Livin' the Good Life

Dec. 11th, 2013

07:31 pm - Today's Rant... Beware

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I realize I run the risk of offending a whole generation (or two) of people by continuing to complain and harp about the following subject. But, honestly, I don't care. This is extremely important, in my opinion, and I will not let up. Even if there is backlash.

The subject is people using their handheld computers/I-phones while ignoring those around them. Here's the deal. When I grew up, I was taught that you acknowledged and engaged with people around you. Heck, it used to be that if someone new entered the room, men would STAND to acknowledge them. It was common courtesy that was taught to all young boys. (And they remained standing until the newcomer was either seated or they left.) If you were being introduced to someone, you stood up and held out your hand. Again, common courtesy. We don't do that anymore. I think it's considered too formal now. But, I still hold with the idea that if someone is in the room with you, you should refrain from tuning them out by getting on your I-phone. The message it sends to me is, "You are not important to me. This computer is more interesting to me than you are." It's insulting! My request to others is, if you want to be on your computer, do it by yourself. I am on the computer at this moment, but if someone were to walk in right now, I would stop, turn away from the computer, and talk to them for as long as they want me to. That sends the clear message: You are more important to me than this computer.

When Nathen was a boy, he was an avid reader. In fact, he would have read all day long if I would have let him. But, when I saw how it was, I limited his reading to 45 minutes a day. (He says he read more than that in secret.) The reason I did that was because I wanted him to: 1. be more active and 2. be present to what was going on around him. I considered it a very important part of my job as parent to keep him present and participating with the family. That is why I limited (and eventually eliminated) TV in our home. My message was to "be available and give attention to those around you". That's what a healthy family did, in my eyes.

Fast forward 30 years or so, and we have five adult sons who want to talk to each other. They can, and do, go on and on. This is normal behavior in our family, and I LOVE it. It feels healthy to me. It feels alive. It feels right. To others it may feel like too much. I think it's because our sons don't see each other that much, so when they do, they have a lot to say. A lot to discuss. A lot to disagree about and debate about. One thing you WON'T see is them sitting around tuning each other out while they play around on their phones. I think they would consider that a waste of valuable time together.

When I am at the gym, there are all these people walking around with earphones plugged into their ears. I know they are not available to talk.... even if I have to ask them something, like "are you almost done with this machine?" as they sit there spacing out while they are resting between their sets. They seem completely unapproachable and preoccupied. It is SO weird. I want people to approach me. I want people to say what they have to say to me and me hear them. I make a point to make eye contact with people. That says, "I see you." I try to remember to smile at people. That says, "Even though I do not know you, I want to give you a little gift." (A smile.) What's the point of belonging to a "fitness club" if you're going to ignore everyone there? It's a "club", isn't it? Doesn't that imply being social? Heck, I can work out alone in my living room if I don't want to see or hear anyone.

I know this is rambling, but all my points are important to me. I have to get them out. And I'm not done talking or writing about this. I'm very worried about the future of this world and the children coming up. This subject is part of the reason why. Here is something optimistic to end this post with and to make me feel better:

News on the TV at the gym today: A restaurant in Jerusalem offers discounts to patrons who turn off their phones and talk to each other! AND groups of people going to restaurants together are doing things like all placing their phones in the middle of the table, and the first one who reaches for their phone pays the bill. Hearing those two things made my day! I smiled all the way through my workout. Could things be looking up?


Date:December 13th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
I still don't see this going on much like you do. Perhaps I need to get our more. However sometimes I will see a Mom talking on her phone while she has her toddler in the grocery cart and I always think how sad it is that she is not talking and engaging with her baby instead!

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Date:December 14th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you don't see this much, Jill!
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