After school is usually a busy time of sharing stories from the school day, snacking to fill empty tummies and studying (if we’re lucky!). Recently, Emma was engaged in completing her homework and stopped to ask Google a mathematical question. Just before Google answered, I quickly quipped in with the correct answer (mom win!!).
But this experience led to some reflection. How often are we likely to turn to Google (or Siri or Alexa) to search for information for us? How often do we turn to a device rather than searching for an answer on our own or asking a trusted friend?
The mantra of our modern, fast-paced world is bigger, better, faster. If something, or someone, can’t serve our purposes, we trade it in for the newer and flashier model. One of the defining features of our society is that, as individuals, we are looking for instant gratification. We think the world revolves around us and we expect an immediate response to our every whim and fancy.
Who else remembers grandma quoting to them, “Patience is a virtue”? If patience is a virtue, then impatience is a virus in this modern age. According to Oxford at lexico.com, a virus is defined as a harmful or corrupting influence; a piece of code which typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.
I feel that impatience has become a systemic issue in our society; it’s slowly infiltrated every aspect of our lives. We’ve become so impatient – with our time, in our relationships with others and even in our expectations of ourselves; it’s skewing our perspective of what matters most. It’s changed how we interact. We are much more prone to reach for a device and ask Google our queries, rather than reaching out to a person. In the process, we’ve lost a vital part of what makes us human: our ability to connect.
As Rachel Naomi Remen has said, “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” I’d like to take this one step further and add that the most important thing we ever give ourselves is our attention too.
Can you imagine what a difference it would make if we all just hit the pause button on life?
Stop. Breathe. Listen. Reflect. Connect.
Rather than looking to external sources for answers, guidance and direction, we need to turn our focus inward. We need to calm the chaos of our modern world, quiet the hum of our technological devices and stop to listen to our internal voice. We need to reconnect with ourselves and by so doing, we’ll be able to re-establish connection with those around us. We need to disconnect so that we can reconnect – with ourselves and with others.
What strategies do you use to maintain strong connections with others? Please share with us in the comments.